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Expert Travel Tips from Twitter's Melissa Barnes

Expert Travel Tips from Twitter's Melissa Barnes

Melissa Barnes, Twitter's head of global brands, shares her business travel tips, from how she fights jet-lag to her go-to app.

Q: How often do you travel?

A: Between 50% and 60% of my time is on the road.

Q: What is your go-to travel app?

A: American Airlines app. I've checked into many a flight as I'm speeding to the airport. (Disclaimer: I'm usually in the back of a cab and not driving when I'm checking in via my phone)

Q: What are your must-pack items?

A: A charger for my Mac, an international converter, workout clothes, a pair of heels, and a good dress. And I'm always packing a few extra super chargers for my phone. As long as I've got power, I can figure the rest out.

Q: Any tips for packing for a business trip?

A: Carry-on, always. I have a bag that's always about 75% packed. I have two sets of toiletries, two pairs of running shoes, etc. so that I can have one set on standby in my suitcase. I never pack a hair dryer—every hotel has one. And as much as I love holding a real book in my hands, when I'm traveling for work, I read everything on e-book.

Q: Airport lounge amenity you can’t live without?

A: Showers can be a lifesaver. They make you feel instantly human when you've just come off a long flight and have another leg to go.

Q: How do you stay healthy on the road?

A: Wash your hands. Frequently.

Q: Any tips for fighting jet lag?

A: Seek out natural light to reset your clock. Go for a run in the morning. Keep your blinds open during the day. I love to walk a city, so that's another way to be in the sunlight and also stay awake—if you're moving, you can't fall asleep.

Q: What are your red-eye survival tactics?

A: I'm terrible at sleeping on planes, so it's really more about what happens immediately after I get off the red-eye. I always call the hotel ahead of time to let them know I'll be checking in early. And in a perfect world, there's enough time to take a shower before I go into my first meeting of the day.

Q: Favorite airport?

A: Spokane, Washington. I grew up in Idaho, and that's what I fly in and out of to see my family. When I land there it means I'm home.

Q: Favorite airline cabin?

A: Given how much I travel, I should pay attention to these things, but I don't. Just get me there.

Q: What is one amenity from a hotel or airline that really makes you feel understood as a business traveler?

A: Rush dry cleaning.

Q: Who are you loyal to?

A: American. I actually don't do loyalty programs for hotels. I think when you stay at the same chain with the same amenities and design in every city, you start to forget where you are. Give me a boutique hotel in a great neighborhood every time.

Q: What's the most valuable perk that comes with your status?

A: Problem solving. Just this morning I had a flight cancelled out of SFO. They instantly rebooked me, but the flight they initially put me on had me landing after I was due to make a big presentation. I called the American Executive Platinum desk and they immediately booked me on a flight on a different airline that got me there in time. Some of my team members who were on the same flight and didn't have status weren't so lucky.

Q: What drives you crazy every time you travel?

A: The overhead speakers in airports. Don't they know I'm on a call?

Q: Hotel breakfast standby?

A: Black coffee. Yogurt.

Q: Favorite in-room dining indulgence?

A: The Charlotte Street Hotel in London has these grapefruit candies that are addictive. I can't not eat them.


As told to Brooke Porter Katz

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