Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Long Drive Home

So I am starting to understand why people who travel don't have a lot of time.

For the past 3 weeks I have driven back and forth to Greenville, SC, a round trip of 1200 miles. That's 600 miles on Sunday and 600 miles on Thursday. My record so far is 7 hours and 45 minutes, approximately 75 MPH.

Tomorrow I will be flying and will be there in 1.5 hours. Much better.

My reasoning for driving is multi-fold:
1. I'm not in the habit of flying thus maintain a tad bit of fear at the prospect. I know it's not rational...
2. 4 trips in a month comes out to about $3,000, I can't float that kind of money now. Driving saves me about $400 a week in air travel and about $250 a week in car rental. Driving costs about $120 round trip in gas.
3. Driving pays. Current federal rate is 0.55/mile. 1200 miles = $660. Subtract that from $120 and I am ahead $540. Multiply that by 4 weeks and I'm at about $2,000.

One thing I did not take into account is the exhaustion factor. When I get home, I don't want to do a thing and just dread Sunday creeping up. Despite having a driving buddy coming home this past Thursday, I slept pretty much all day Friday. Today I was a slug too. I'm not much use to my kids in that state.

So I'm going to fly. I nice early morning flight won't bother me much as I will still be too tired to think too much about being scared. Perfect. Sucks that I have to leave so early in the morning, but what can you do?

I still can't float the money to do this every week, so I'm going to try and rotate the schedule, fly, drive and beg for a week of remote work to ease the burden.

Any tips or tricks for traveling out there? I'm using TripIt, which is nice to keep everything in one place. What else?

6 comments:

Ted Simpson said...

These are decent tips to consider:

http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2009/11/11/the-cynics-guide-to-business-travel/

I try to stick with some of them.

For #2, I don't eat well ever, but when I travel I do drink a ton of water and eat breakfast everyday. I end up feeling a little better when I get home. That helps because the kids tackle me as soon as I get in the door, and it is better if I am not wrecked.

For #4, I got a triple rewards credit card and float all of my reimbursable expenses on that. I was skeptical about the returns, until I started getting vouchers in the mail, free upgrades, and access to some airport lounges. Definitely worth it.

I have also taken my family on the road with me twice. That is cool if you travel somewhere kid friendly: they tagged along to Orlando and Anaheim (#disney, obviously). I go to Las Vegas periodically for conferences; I'll never let my kids go there. Ever.

-Ted

oraclenerd said...

Nice list of tips and tricks there...

I'm trying to get in the gym more and more on the road...twice last weekend for 30 minutes or more. I never do that at home.

I need to get a triple rewards card...I just need to get out of the hole first so I can qualify for one. :) Since Kate (I'm not blaming her...), I think I've applied for credit (besides the house and cars) 2 times...hopefully soon I'll be able to change that.

I so want to bring my family along...we did it a few times while I took Oracle Education classes in Orlando (with help from my parents)...unfortunately LC is in "real" school now and it's much harder to do. Hopefully this summer we can swing something better...I'll work while they go out and play...which is fine by me.

No Vegas for the kids huh? Yeah, I've seen The Hangover, it doesn't seem like a good idea. :)

Pete Scott said...

Well, it seems like you make money on driving... BUT it is not just gas to pay fot: the car will wear out sooner, go into the shop more often, need new brakes, tires (see I can spell in American :-) and will be worth a bit less when you trade it in. So make sure put some of that cash by to fund the bills down the road.

I used to to a 1500 mile commute last year (4 hours on a plane each way) - I know how it drains

Jeff said...

Travel tires you out no matter what. Even if you're in a plane for just a short distance. When I was doing the Monday->Thursday travel deal, I would feel like the walking dead until Saturday.

For me, drinking LOTS of water, and cutting back on the caffeine and alcohol was the best move. Also try to stay out of your hotel room until you are ready to sleep. I am not sure about you, but I have a hard time sleeping where I work.

Also do something physical. Even if it's walking to the restaurant for dinner/lunch - make sure you get out and move around.

You will still be tired when you get back home, but at least you will be less tired.

Oh and when you get home, your family will probably want "to go out", which by the end of the week is the last thing you want to do. Try to do something fun around the house so you don't have to go anywhere or eat restaurant food.

oraclenerd said...

Pete,

That would explain why you didn't blog for quite some time (or at least one of the reasons).

I spent 3 hours on Friday waiting for my car to get a tune-up and various other things...so I am putting some of that money back into it...but you are right, the mileage (alone) will make it difficult to resell.

1400 miles? Wow...I don't feel so bad now.

oraclenerd said...

Jeff,

I am taking this opportunity to exercise more...the past 3 nights (on the road) I have been on the treadmill for 30 minutes or more. That's more than I have done in the last couple of years probably. Good suggestion though.

I'll work on cutting out the alcohol...makes it easier when you work in a dry county, at least on the weekends. (though I did "sneak" a couple of beers using my unflinching charm :)

Caffeine for me is Mountain Dew...and I need to curtail that significantly. I drink too much of it...I have tried to incorporate more water, but I'm not 100% dry just yet.