Business Trips: The Accidental Tourist, Montignac diets and restaurant guidebooks for consultants
Iam sure many of you know the famous novel “The Accidental Tourist”by Anne Tyler and the wonderful film adaptation with the same name at the hands of Lawrence Kasdanfeaturing two of his talisman actors Kathleen Turner and William Hurt (both outstanding in the film Body Heat by the same director). The main character needs to take everything with him, carrying a small house on his shoulders, so that he does not feel far from home, as he worked as a travel writer, yet did not like travelling.
I am very different. My life as a consultant has allowed me to carry out one of my favourite hobbies: travelling the world and meeting people. I always say the same thing;I seek out someone who will pay the journey I wish to make. But what is most important is not the suitcase itself, rather what I am going to discover. Today, I am going to share with you some of my habits and tips: Each time they lose my luggage, the handler, when it turned up, asked me “you again huh?”
Suitcase: the essential, the one that gets you on a Ryanair flight without having to push as if your life depended on it. Never check a bag in;you are asking for trouble. I remember was I was doing my European PhD in Lisbon, every time I returned home to Seville, they lost my luggage. The handler, when they found it (I have to admit that they always did) said to me “you again?” And I apply this rule to for transatlantic and long trips. If you have to wash, then wash your clothes. That said, the suitcase itself has to be a good one, with reversible wheels, that puts an extra spring in your step and if we add to this an ergonomically designed backpack for your papers and laptop, you can’t lose.
What’s in the bag?Soap-bag (of course, in small containers, as not to have to check in), sports clothing (running demands the minimum), changes of clothes and shirts, adaptors for different types of plugs and a book. In the backpack we have the papers, laptop and hundreds of adaptors. The suit? On me, that way it gets less creased.
- Train better than plane, you can get more done more efficiently. You already know what us engineers are like. A joke I love has as down to a T:
We have an architect, a lawyer and an engineer, and they are being asked if they had to choose between the wife or the mistress, who would they choose? The architect says “My mistress, of course, inspiration comes after those moments, well…..The lawyer shakes his head and states: Me? The letter of the law, with my wife for all my life. Finally, the engineer says resoundingly “I would stay with both of them, that way one thinks I am with the other and they would let me work in peace”.
- It is better to withdraw from the cash machine than change currency,strangely enough, it seems to work out cheaper. The only cash I use to exchange is for the first taxi and the initial expenses when you get to the hotel. I always try to put some to one side for the next trip.
- It is of the utmost importance that the hotel has wireless internet,the rest is of less importance. Even if it is in a place where you cannot go out for a run (for example, in Mexico City, you will get run over in the city centre), then I try to make sure that the hotel has a small gym.
- A good travel guide. I like the visual ones published by El Planeta, each trip is a chance to learn about geography, history and culture. I prefer these to locally produced ones, which tend to be more biased towards the country as a whole (you can tell they are selling the place rather than describing it). That said however, there is better guide to a country or a place than talking to its people that is how you really get to know a place.Public Transport in emerging nations is an experience and forms part of their culture. Furthermore, you often take less time to reach your destination, as is the cases of Metrobusesin Mexico or thevTransmilenioin Bogota
Do not miss out on the experience of public transport in emerging nations, they are so cheap, and although you are bunged in like sardines in a tin, it is often quicker, definitely for the Metrobusesin México or theTransmilenioin Bogotá. And of course, it is a colourful experience, it forms part of getting to know the culture. What is more, they are not that dangerous express kidnappings tend to happen in taxis! That said, if I take a taxi, instead of saying “Take me to such and such a hotel” I say “Take me to junction of 50 with 53, next to the supermarket called, whatever it is called”. This gives them the idea you know where you are and are not to be messed with, they can forget charging you the “tourist supplement”. Another tip is to ask the price before you get in.
To get to know a culture, there is nothing better than discovering its gastronomy. I adore trying new dishes and even more so if in the company of local people. Though eating out three times a day is not such a good idea: breakfast, lunch and dinner out every day for months means you lose sight of things. This reminds me of the book by MontignaconHow to Lose Weight on Business Trips.To be honest, I do not always achieve it as it is hard to follow. Those buffet breakfasts, those copious lunchtime onslaughts and the over-the-top dinners whenever you get a chance make it hard to stick to a balanced diet.
Some additional recommendations for longer stays:
- I try to hunt out a restaurant that offers home-style cooking, though always light on the palate.
- I buy food out and eat it in the hotel as to avoid eating out all the time(that does not mean that I do not treat myself to a well-earned glass of the local beer,).
- Except when it has no bearing on price, I always book my hotels without breakfast included. Having breakfast out is cheap and an odd way of seeing a place, besides, it is healthier. In the worst-case scenario, you can always buy something in the supermarket.
- Make a note of the restaurants you like. I have a database of restaurants from the world overranging from 2 Euros (some excellent option for daily eating) going up to 50 (any more expensive and my custom will be taken elsewhere).
If you wish to ask my advice, do not hesitate to contact me through this page or via social networks, I also eagerly await your recommendations.You could recommend places that must be visited and I will be delighted to try them or explain to the readers some useful tips.