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Hotel Check In – Is That Excess Baggage I See In the Lobby?
By Terry Matthews-Lombardo, Certified Meeting Professional
As a frequent traveler I spend a lot of time in hotel lobbies. Check in. Check out. Check on my room charges. Change the room key. Meet up with people. Drinks at the lobby bar. You name it and the lobby is full of action when you travel. That's why I know a lot about what goes on here, and to be honest, I see an awful lot of excess baggage coming and going along with the movement of bodies. And, in my observation, it's not all packed neatly inside a four sided case. What variety of baggage are we all traveling with?
Before you start wondering what kind of an adult beverage I'm currently sipping, let me explain. You see, from the minute a traveler embarks on their journey, the pressure is on to pack smartly. If you're attending a meeting or convention, sometimes they even give you helpful hints or instructions on what to pack. (Sometimes people even read these instructions, although as a professional meeting planner I seriously doubt that anyone ever pays attention to the disclaimer we continue to print that states, "Meeting rooms might be cold. Please pack a light sweater or jacket." Just saying.) If you're a frequent traveler, at some point in your life you might even have read an entire book on packing tips - dress in layers, roll your clothes to prevent wrinkles, use zip lock bags for liquids, coordinate your travel wardrobe colors, etc. All good advice that we occasionally even remember. . .
But there are seldom any instructions for leaving your personal excess baggage behind. You know what I'm referring to, right? Those giant worries about life's problems that have taken up residence on our slumped and fatigued shoulders, be they financial, personal, business or other. We all have them and unconsciously we all take them with us every time we leave the house.
I see it on people as they wearily line up to check in. "Here I am in another hotel. Will my room be ready? I can't wait any longer. I need to [fill in the blank] - make some phone calls - unpack - log into the internet to check messages - order room service - check the office to see what's burning back there, check in at home to see how my sick kid is doing, unfold my suit, make dinner reservations", bla, bla, bla. People are so anxious to move on to ‘the next thing' that while in line they are suddenly quite busy even as they wait. Out come the cell phones, fingers dialing and texting. Some even get out their computers and I Pads, so anxious are they to get that information they need right away. And this is only at check in! This is also (mostly) because we have all fled our previous lodging, be it home or another hotel in another city, still carrying around the same mentality that we possessed the day before. And let's face it, mental weight is heavy
I fully realize that it's not humanly possible to always leave home with a carefree mind, but I do think that it's worth attempting to travel with lighter personal baggage. If that seems impossible, how about starting to lighten the actual weight of the load you are carrying by following a couple of these tips:
Maybe if you actually carry less weight you might be able to straighten your shoulders, hold your head a little higher and see a "new view" from that angle? (That was a little mind snack, so nibble away at it and smileJ)
In fact many times the best way to find a solution to a nagging problem is to put it on the back burner and allow time and fresh air to enter your reality. Traveling, even for business, can present an opportunity for you to open yourself up to a new flow of daily life. Do you always start your day with high test coffee? Why not try a soothing hot tea for a change; or, would switching to decaf really kill you once in a while? Never have drinks with your colleagues after work? How about a brief meet up in the lobby bar to socialize? (No one says you have to drink alcohol, but hey, while we're on the subject, if you do indulge, why not try a different adult beverage?) Do you push yourself daily to run a few miles? Instead of heading right to the hotel fitness center, many of which are ordinary and claustrophobic, why not go for a brisk walk around the hotel grounds or see the city? I hear constant complaints from convention attendees that they never get a chance to leave the hotel, but as in life, you have to make those chances happen for yourself. Unless you need to rest or want to be alone, don't burrow down in the hotel room night after night when you could be experiencing a new opportunity.
We all know that travel can be stressful, and yet if you open yourself to allowing it to teach you something - anything - you might just be shedding some excess baggage along the journey. Frequently, people comment that their baggage seems heavier on departure even if they haven't shopped. Maybe the reason for this is that they've allowed a whole new set of possibilities to slip inside those suitcases; possibilities that include new views on problem solving or answers to dilemmas they brought with them, new things they've learned, or contacts they've made. I like to think that my luggage holds more than my clothing and personal items. By choice it also expands to hold onto fresh thoughts and new prospects for making life back home a little better. And, in the words of Martha ‘all-things-can-be-done-better' Stewart herself, "that's a very good thing."
About the Author
Terry Matthews-Lombardo, CMP
TML is an Orlando, FL based international meeting planner, trip director, and free-lance writer. This means she meets, and travels, and writes. Mostly about meetings and travel; and quite often from the lobby bar. It's usually a good thing. She can be reached at email@example.com.
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