I’ve been on the road a fair amount lately, and I’ve been facing the classic business traveler’s dilemma: I’ve got to be in another city for a meeting that begins at 10 a.m. Should I get up early and take the first flight of the day that will get me there just in time, or should I give up a night at home and head to the location of the meeting the night before?
My position on this unenviable choice has changed. I used to be all in favor of staying home and spending as much time with my family as possible, and then getting up before the crack of dawn, hitting the airport, and trusting in the benevolence of the Travel Gods. Then I had one instance where the Travel Gods weren’t kind, my flight was delayed and then rerouted, and I ended up missing an important meeting. The people involved were gracious about it, but I vowed that I would never let that happen again.
One other thing changed that also altered my perspective: I realized that I simply never got a good night’s sleep the night before, no matter what the circumstances. My subconscious brain was so worried about oversleeping that I was tossing and turning all night, waking up every 15 minutes to look bleary-eyed at the clock radio before finally, wearily, giving up on trying to get some shuteye and getting up even earlier than I really needed to to make the flight.
So now I always — always — go in the night before. If the Travel Gods are unkind, as they frequently are, I’ll just get in even later than planned. But I’ll still be there in time for the meeting, and in the meantime I just might get some sleep, too.