I feel very fortunate in that most of the jobs I’ve had over the years have involved a certain amount of travel. Travel has opened many doors for me. I would like to pass along a few tips that have helped me enjoy travel more.
Keep your cool. There are many aspects of travel that you can’t control. Two things I learned early on were that I couldn’t control the weather or aircraft maintenance. Even when I flew my own plane, I couldn’t control those factors. There is no use in getting upset over things that you can’t control.
It doesn’t do any good to worry about whether or not you are going to arrive on time for a meeting or make a connection. Enjoy the scenery, your reading or your music. If you are flying to an important meeting or event and timely arrival is critical, try to get there early. Leave the day before or take the earliest possible flight to provide some leeway.
When traveling on business, try to build in time for the opportunity to enjoy the location, especially if this is your first visit and you are not likely to be going there again soon. Maybe you won’t learn something that is going to be of immediate help on the job, but just experiencing something new can be beneficial. Also, look for occasions to take your family on business trips. This might be a way to make up for the time you don’t have for them during the busy season.
When traveling for pleasure, if your family is agreeable to it, look for opportunities to expand your professional knowledge. They know what you do and they might enjoy seeing someone else’s operation.
Traveling abroad is also a good way to get to the events and places that will expand your knowledge and help you be even better at what you do. I highly recommend the GIE+EXPO in Louisville, Ky., October 23-25. This is an especially good show if your responsibilities include more than just sports fields. Besides the indoor exhibits and educational sessions, there is a 20-acre outdoor area that allows you to see or try various pieces of equipment in operation. This show is a combination of the Outdoor Power Equipment Show and what used to be the Green Industry EXPO. PLANET and the Professional Grounds Management Society hold their annual meetings at this time.
I have been to Louisville many times and still find new things to enjoy there. Take the family and make it a mini vacation. You can watch bats being made at the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, or you can visit Louisville Slugger Field, home of Louisville Bats Baseball (Tom Nielsen, head groundskeeper, is always a gracious host). There are also multiple museums and a good zoo, as well as Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby, and the Kentucky Derby Museum.
The author is a contributing editor for SportsField Management.