0005: On being a more efficient business traveler

The holiday season always provides me with a reprieve from travel.  I typically fly >100K miles/yr, traveling between 35-40% of the time.  I haven’t experienced it all, but I’ve certainly been through my share of travel woes (and small victories I might add).  I’ve migrated from wondering why the heck anyone would pay for an Admiral’s Club membership to wondering how I lived without one.  I thought I’d never pay for first class tickets, but now can clearly identify their near-necessity under certain circumstances (try walking off a 13 hr ride on a cattle-car-style coach ticket and feeling fresh and sharp enough to close that contract you just invested 6 months of your life to tee up!).  And, for some reason today, while I was lingering in my bathroom on a lazy Sunday morning, my shaving kit caught my eye.  And I secretly longed for my travel to begin again.  Except, I hate shaving while I travel.  I hate it.

  1. Traveling and shaving is a real hassle. It’s bad enough you have to present a face to the business world that is not necessarily your weekend or hanging with friends face (generally scruffy in my case).  I recently have been on a quest for the perfect travel shave kit (If you already have this solved, please please leave a URL in the comments or send me a DM @my10list).  My idea is to create the perfect kit for wet-shaving while on the road.  I’d be client #1 for this, but haven’t come across it.  Closest I’ve found is the travel accessory kit from Art of Shaving I got for Christmas.  The trick is to have an equally portable razor that’s easy-to-use.  The razor should be lightweight, at least 2 part (actually have one of these).
  2. Make idea #1 a subscription service for business travelers
  3. Lightweight shoe spreaders to reduce load but allow your dress shoes to keep their shape, because who cares to lug around an extra 1.5 lbs of cedar!?
  4. An app to link up [business] travelers who are in new town but don’t have plans for any meal.  Pair you with another person (or several) to meet at a “recommended” location.  The service aims to give you a way to meet new folks, network with other business travlers, and not have to eat alone.  It would make Kieth Ferrazzi proud.  Could also be used to help travelers find a local they could dine with (not a dating service), or grab coffee with.  Could be a way for you to get “local” knowledge of a new place in a friendly way.
  5. A car-rental service for business travelers who hate the hassle of having to leave your car for days on end in a garage or other parking area.  Instead, I propose a car-sharing option where you could allow the parking service to match your trip length with that of an inbound traveler staying a similar length of time and rent your car to that traveler, paying you for the rental and [the service] keeping a % of the revenue.  Turn that Opex into Income!  RelayRides and a few others are trying to do something similar (very limited scale), but someone like Park-N-Fly could bolt-on this service VERY easily and have another revenue stream.
  6. A suit storage or rental service for business travelers who frequently travel to a specific city and would rather travel light. I personally hate packing a suit, and if I could leave one in Panama City that I go get every other week when I arrive, I’d pay money for that.  Especially if the service includes drycleaning. Could be located at the airport in one of the Clubs (Admirals, Copa, United, Citi…).
  7. An app for running (or other excercise) partner when you’re traveling to a new city.  I kinda love running alone, but I know alot of my friends who just don’t exercise when they travel b/c they don’t have anyone who would motivate them to do so.  Similarly, this idea, like #4, could help you meet locals, get to know a new city (and it’s outdoor activities), and even network (i’ve had some really good business discussions at 8 minutes per mile).
  8. Shoes that could double as running and dress shoes.  Perhaps there is an overlay that you can wrap around the running shoe (leather or leatherette material) to transform them into dress shoes (and thus you only need to take one pair on the trip.
  9. A subscription car service.  You can pay a fee by country, region or global, or by hourly use, and kind of like Uber, but you have a dedicated driver/company who you (or your assistant) always arranges for you to use. They know your itenerary ahead of time, and can even recommend the best time to fly into town (well, someone in the office can) based on your scheduled meetings.  The driver is never assigned to more than 2 people per day, and is paid a salary, not a per ride amount.  Alternately, it can be a competitor to Uber, focused on the business and Corporate traveler, with upscale cars (black sedans come to mind).  Could likewise use the timeshare model of Uber, only employing drivers of “acceptable” cars and credentials.
  10. 2 guys in my office currently pay ~$10/Day for a subscription meal service that brings them pre-made healthy lunches once per week, which they store in the fridge and consume through the week.  One of the worst things about travel is that you can almost be guaranteed you’ll be hard-pressed to meet any specific diet goals (at least in Latam), unless you’re traveling to the many polycultural global cities and have made the time to actually plan our (or already learned) the lay of the city.  Wouldn’t it be great if there were a similar meal service where you could order a certain number of “safe” meals and have them waiting for you in your hotel fridge when you arrive?  I know at least one of my old traveling buddies who seemed to ALWAYS get sick in Mexico City – he’d have paid Double market rate for the efficiency and free conscious of having this option.  Could also apply to anyone who ascribes to a gluten-free, vegetarian, paleo, or other hard-to-fulfill-on-the-road type of diet.  You certainly can’t save space for it in your suitcase (but you know you’ve considered it, admit it).
  11. Bonus – Monoaminergic systems, i.e., the networks of neurons that utilize monoamine neurotransmitters, are involved in the regulation of cognitive processes such as emotion, arousal, and certain types of memory.  I’d like a  monoamine cocktail I can take (powder form, pref, mix in a real cocktail) on the plane home that would help me a) sleep, b) consolidate the learning from my trip into an action plan, and c) introduce seratonin and dopamine (time-released) to give me a refreshed and positive feeling and outlook from the trip.  We’ve all had that moment on the plane home where you’re exhausted, can’t remember a damn thing from the last 48 hrs, and aren’t quite sure whether the whole trip was very worth it.  This drug would combat that feeling, and help reinforce the brain’s focus on the positive aspects of the trip.  Yes, this would be awesome, indeed.