Nothing can be more fun than traveling with someone who is constantly losing their temper, right? Wrong! Follow Modern Manners' Guy's tips to always keep your cool when traveling for work.
...How about because A) You have to leave your house at 4am and endure 3 layovers and B) a flight that should only cross 2 states is now zig-zagging across 5. Sorry to burst your bubble, coupon clippers, but when they sold you a ticket at a drastically discounted price, the airlines knew exactly what they were doing.
A similar situation happened to a friend of mine who took a flight from Washington DC to Denver for only $125. He chose the flight to save some money for the company (don’t ask me why). A good rate yes, but the reason it was so cheap had to do with the fact he waited for 5 hours in St. Louis for his connection. Not exactly the most cost-effective way to spend your day. And he was furious about it! He spent the entire trip cursing the airline to his coworker. Although the coworker thought it was funny in the beginning, the humor wore off quickly. I'm sure his whining and moaning went over well with surrounding passengers as well.
When you cut corners on travel, remember – and accept – that there will be sacrifices, be it time, comfort, or your sanity. You knew this going in and you made the choice. Don’t make a big deal of it or shout at the moon like a madman now. If anything you should be shouting at a mirror.
Tip #2: Stay Calm...No Matter What
Ken Austin told me he started Marquis Jet because standard air travel was so unreliable and uncomfortable. Granted only a select few can afford the luxuries of a private jet, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to see coach as such a terrible experience. When you are traveling alone and are annoyed by the airline, you can be as mad as you like – to yourself. But when you are traveling with others (especially with colleagues who you see on a regular basis), you should always try your best to be the calm one in the bunch. Why? Well, did you ever hear someone say, “Man, Steve is really giving it to that flight attendant about his bag of pretzels not being salty enough…That guy has upper management written all over him”? I doubt it.
If you remain calm in the face of stress or disaster, people will notice and they will remember. So the next time you're traveling with coworkers and you feel like beating up the next person who looks in your direction – don’t. You can’t. One, fighting is for teenagers and two, it’s highly unmannerly to let your baser instincts dominate. Save your aggression for when you really need it - and not for ripping into a fellow passenger for taking "your spot" in the overhead compartment. By keeping all those emotions inside and portraying a cool, calm, collected demeanor, you show that you can go with the flow and that means you can be relied on in a crisis. That's a key quality for leadership and, believe me, it will be noticed.
Tip #3: Stay Organized
A friend of mine got married in Chicago recently and all “the guys” flew out a few days early for a “mancation.” For 6 months prior, we all worked together to plan a great two days of fun: baseball games, dinners, bars, and golf. Since we were all coming from different cities, we agreed to meet at O'Hare International Airport. That was the plan. In writing. For 6 months!
However, one friend ended up landing in Midway International Airport. Yes, it’s in Chicago, but no, it’s not where the rest of us had landed. As planned! When he called us, he was aggravated, to say the least. He ranted about the screw-up of the internet. Why didn't BWI know that he meant to go to O'Hare instead of Midway? Of course it was not his fault. Riiiiiight. Bottom line, his temper flared because he planned poorly and we were all affected.
See also: Keep Organization While Traveling
Having a firm plan is key for showing that you're a responsible person. When traveling for business, the goal should be proper time management. Know what time you need to arrive, what time you need to leave, how long the flight will be, how far away it is from your first appointment, whether or not you need a car when you arrive at your destination, and all the other logistical details that could (and will) make or break your trip. And always bring printouts of your itinerary. By doing this, you will avoid two things:
1) The embarrassment of not knowing where you're going because your smartphone battery died and took your digital files with it.
2) The frustration that will ensue when you forget something or are running late, which will always make you lose your temper.
No one was ever criticized for being too good of a planner, but they always remember the person that was a bad one. And that’s the person no one wants to travel with.
Do you have a great story about someone who lost their temper while traveling? Post all the details in the comment section below. As always, if you have another manners question, I look forward to hearing from you at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @MannersQDT, and of course, check back next week for more Modern Manners Guy tips for a more polite life.
You can find more tips like these in my new book Reply All…And Other Ways to Tank Your Career. It's chock full of insider info on how to get ahead in your career without ever losing your cool. It's available now!