Tag Archives: business travel

The greatest email you’ll ever send.

The Greatest Email You'll Ever Send.

The Greatest Email You’ll Ever Send. 

I was recently on a plane. This isn’t unusual for me as I’m on a plane a few times a week. I proudly use “Road Warrior” as a description of myself because I’m in travel, so you can say I practice my trade all the time.

Like most road warriors, I’m always surrounded by people, though amazingly, it’s still very easy to be lonely while traveling. Days, weeks and months pass (airline miles and hotel points rack up) and time seems to disappear before your eyes. While I consider myself pretty good about keeping in touch with people (via phone, social media, etc.) I started to think about all the things I’d want people to know in the event, well, that I wasn’t around anymore. I know, it’s a bit morbid so hear me out. In the event you weren’t here on this earth tomorrow, what would you want the important people in your life to know?

So, I started to type an email. I imagined not being able to ever speak to anyone ever again. I typed and poured my heart out and I kept typing. I’m not going to give you all the details, but the evolution of the email was pretty amazing and what I’m going to do with the email might interest you.

I started with my wife. I reminded her about all the things I love and admire about her.  I reminisced about when we met, how I felt, etc. Mostly, I thanked her and told her how much I appreciated her, because I don’t do that enough. I imagined we were having the last conversation we’d ever have, and these were my notes. I also reminded her of my washboard abs and long flowing hair, not because I actually have those, but I wanted to be sure she’d smile. You can imagine, the words kept flowing from my brain onto the screen.

Then I wrote to my children. Both under ten years of age, I needed to keep it relevant to their lives now. I wrote about how much I love them and how proud I am of them, especially how kind they are. Then I thought I should write things that would be pertinent to them as they grew up. Again, I told them how much I loved them, but now I added things like how they needed to cherish one another and yes, take care of Mommy. As I kept writing, I had to change my tone, giving advice for the things I know were likely to happen as they grew up; love, heartbreak, picking the right friends, the right job and making all sorts of decisions.

Then I wrote to my parents. I told them about how much I loved them and I thanked them for everything they’ve ever done for me. I also apologized for nearly burning down the house when I was a kid, but that’s another post.

Then I wrote to my sister and then to my extended family and then to my best friends. Then, I even wrote my last social media post entitled “If you’re reading this, it was nice knowing you.”

When I thought I was done with the email, I re-read it and made changes. Turns out, this continued for many flights.  Honestly, I’m still not done, but I have to say, writing this email has been an amazing experience. I have since taken the time to call people just to tell them I love them, to thank them and basically tell them everything I wrote, using it as a script.

So what am I going to do with this email (after a few more additions)? I’m going to send it to the people I love. Why wait? What is worth saying, is worth saying now.

Breathe. Think. Type. You’ll enjoy this as will the people you love. 

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Business Travelers: I insulted someone this week.

Business travelers! I insulted someone this week and learned a lesson; one I believe you’ll want to know about. 

I travel a great deal.  I’m in hotels 200+ nights and fly over 150,000 miles a year. Want to know something else? I think I do my share of tipping. I have believed for a long time that we in the travel industry and those who are road warriors, need to set an example for everyone else when it comes to many things “travel,” tipping included.

Let’s start with the taxi drivers. I tip 20% for rides where the taxi was clean, the driver courteous and the ride smooth.  Dirty taxi? You lose 5%. Drive like Mario Andretti and make me nauseous? I’ll ask you to slow down.  If you don’t, you lose another 5% or more. Does your car reek of body odor or too much air freshener or cologne? You lose a couple of points there as well.  If the ride is under ten bucks, I tip 25% and start with the same deductions.  If you do something extraordinary, like say “Please” and “thank you” I offer more of a tip.  Help me with my bags? That’s a couple extra points as well. By the way, the lack of service in most taxis is why I use Uber as often as possible (though I’m disappointed to hear of recent price gouging accusations).

Next is hotel maid service.  I tip $3 a day when I stay in a hotel, leaving the money on the desk in the room before checking out.  I think this service is overlooked by many.  Sure, it “comes with the room” but why do these folks get shorted by most people?  They work hard to clean our rooms and make our beds; they should be rewarded for good service.

Here is where I learned a big lesson last week; tipping hotel porters and doormen.  Yes, I tip these folks as well.  I have one hotel at which I spend a great deal of time; more than 120 nights a year. The other day I arrived at the hotel, and the hotel porter, an older gentleman in his 60s, offered to take my bags.  I said “That’s okay, but thanks for asking.” I then offered him a few dollars because I watched so many people turn his service down.  His response: “Sir, thanks for the offer, but please let me earn it.”  There it was; by offering a tip, a truly honest gesture of goodwill, I insulted the man.  This was a man simply trying to earn a living, yet I offered charity.  I felt horrible.  I immediately placed my bags down, and said “I’d love for you to help me with my bags – thank you.”  Inside the lobby near the check-in area, he asked if I’d like help getting my bags to my room.  I, of course, said yes. All I have when I travel is a small roller bag and a briefcase (both with wheels) and I really did not need any help.  I navigate obstacles, shuttle busses, moving walkways and airplane aisles with ease (though remind me to tell you about an unfortunate accident where I skewered my own privates in a horrific escalator dismount).  Yet, by asking for help with my bags, I offered an opportunity for a older gentleman to earn a tip and prove, to all who watched in the lobby, that doormen and porters are still a useful hotel service.  What did I tip?  $8, about $1 for every minute he was with me. I wanted to give him more but I worried I’d insult him again with an over-tip.

The lesson?  While wheeled luggage makes it so easy for us to get around, we in travel and those who travel need to tip more. Let’s take care of the people who help us and those who work to preserve hospitality services we all remember so fondly. Somewhere, someplace, we made a maid smile and made a hotel porter feel like a man.

What advice do you have for tipping while traveling?