When reached out and asked me if I wanted to write a blog about my business travel habits I jumped at the opportunity. When they took it to the next level and asked if I wanted to interview someone who I admired about their travel habits – I jumped even higher. As soon as they said the word “admired,” I knew who I wanted to call – Kate White.
If you aren’t familiar with Kate White or her work – you should be. She’s the former Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine and the author of several books including one of my favorite career books, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This. She’s experienced, well-traveled, smart, sophisticated, and incredibly candid. I’ve spoken to and met with Kate on a few different occasions and was ecstatic when she agreed to be interviewed for my piece.
I loved chatting with Kate White and hearing about her myriad of travel experiences. I asked about her favorite trips and she mentioned her yearly trip to LA where she would stay at the Four Seasons and entertain celebrities (when she was the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo.) The purpose of her trip would be to negotiate which actresses would appear on the cover of the magazine. How glamorous – right?!
As an entrepreneur, my trips aren’t that glamorous. I always joke to friends that I’m lucky if I get put up at a hotel that serves continental breakfast! Hearing about Kate’s travel luxuries definitely makes me jealous of the corporate world. But it also inspires me. I look up to Kate – she’s that person (for me) who I want to be like, dress like, and act like. Here are some of the travel tips you can follow to embrace travel just as Kate does!
1. Value the Face to Face Connections. Traveling is an opportunity to really connect with people.
2. Let the Travel Regenerate you! Kate describes her traveling as “restorative and absolutely re-generating”. Since most people (including myself) tend to complain about travel I found this statement reinvigorating as well. Once you travel for a while you start to take the opportunities for granted.
3. Use Time on The Plane to Think and Write. I loved that Kate said she would spend two hours per plane ride writing her books. As a writer, I could completely relate to how productive “quiet” and “disconnected” times on the plane can be. Kate said she gets some of her best work done on a plane – so do I! Kate says, “I use the time on the plane to think – I also wrote my books on planes!”
4. Build In Alone Time. I found it fascinating that Kate said, “I would build in time just to be alone in the hotel while traveling. I love to have dinner alone in hotel dining rooms. I enjoy this so much that sometimes I won’t stay at certain hotels because they don’t have dining rooms.” As an entrepreneur who also values being alone and independence, I found this point to be quite powerful. So many young people are afraid of doing anything on their own. Kate should be an example to them.
5. Utilize Your Travels as Inspiration. “Every year I would go to London for 5-6 days. I would meet with everyone from make-up artists to people who worked for UK Cosmo and I’d come back with a ton of ideas. Some of the best ideas for the magazine came from London travel.”
6. Reframe The Way You Think About Travel. It’s true – travel can be a drag. But Kate encourages young people to, “Reframe the thinking – see travel as an opportunity to be away and be present in that wonderful bubble where no one is calling you or emailing you.”
7. Make Travel An Adventure. Kate says that she normally flies American Airlines (she’s a platinum American Airlines flyer) and enjoys staying at the Four Seasons (Lucky!!) but recommends that wherever you are staying – you make it an adventure. Really focus on enjoying the time that you have away!
8. Have Your Trip Organized and Buttoned-Up. Kate says, “Now that I don’t have an executive secretary, I start a folder for every trip and I write everything down. I have the cellphone numbers of anyone I need to be in touch with and all of my travel details. I’m ruthless on the front end regarding everything that’s important.” Kate says she brings a binder to stay organized (the soft three hole binders) and she always prints out her boarding pass the day before.
9. Come Prepared for the Flight. Kate says that she always packs her laptop, travel binder, IPAD, cheese/nuts (you never know!).
10. Be Insanely Early – Always. Kate swears that her number one rule is to always be early. She says it has prevented several disaster-like situations. She always arrives at the airport at least 90 minutes in advance.
11. Sign-Up For Global Entry. I laughed when Kate said this as it’s definitely on top of my “to-do” list. If you do Global Entry you get TSA Pre-Check which cuts down on security time – and you don’t have to remove your shoes!
12. Travel with the Basics. Of course, I had to ask Kate about her packing habits. She says, “I use a $95 turquoise Tiffany luggage tag – because it’s easy to spot. I travel with only black shoes – black basics – and add color with basics. With speeches, you want a colorful top but if they want you at a podium – it doesn’t really matter what you wear on the bottom.”
13. Dress Polished and Professional at the Airport. I embarrassingly told Kate that I’m always wearing Toms Shoes and ripped jeans and the airport (designer). She said that she believes people make assumptions about you if you are dressed a certain way. “I might wear black jeans but I’ll wear an Hermes scarf and a grey trench coat – maybe even pearls - so I’m comfortable – but if I’m talking to someone at a counter or on the airplane but I’m coming across as someone to them who is a business woman, maybe someone who in their own mind – might matter. You don’t have to wear high heels but a scarf is a magic thing. If you look at celeb shots – they have designer handbag and a great scarf and a nice pair of boots. They wear a couple of pieces.”