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Expert Travel Tips from NBC News' Katy Tur

Katy Tur

Katy Tur, a correspondent for NBC News, shares her business travel tips, from how to she survives red-eyes to her favorite airport terminal. 

Q: How often do you travel?

A: I'm gone at least a full four months of the year. In the news business, it's feast or famine. A slow cycle can keep you home for weeks. Then suddenly, something bubbles up and you're gone for months. In March, I packed for a week in London. It turned into a seven-week journey that took me to Italy, the Netherlands, Malaysia, and Australia.

Q: What is your go-to travel app and why?

A: I have all the airline apps. They make getting through security a breeze. Also, running apps, particularly the ones that map out your routes as you go. I hate to run, but doing it in a new city, with all new sights, makes it slightly less terrible. I did manage to actually enjoy running along the water in Vancouver's Stanley Park.

Q: What are your must-pack items?

A: The New Yorker is my guilty pleasure, and flights are some of my only time to read it cover to cover. Also, one physical, hold-it-in-my-hands, smell-the-pages, book. I'm in the middle of A Fortune Teller Told Me, about an Italian journalist's adventures travelling through Asia by train, car, and foot. Books like that are the perfect way to embrace the adventure of always being on the road.

Q: Best carry-on bag and why?

A: Anything that fits in the overhead compartment. Never check a bag, ever.

Q: Any tips for packing for a business trip?

A: Keep the "must-have" items in small bags at all times, even when you're home. I have a bunch of small canvas totes. One has all my chargers, another my toiletries, another the TV makeup. That way you can grab what you need in a hurry.

Q: What are your impressions, both good and bad, of airports you've recently traveled through?

A: Cincinnati has a great wine bar. Heathrow is full of fancy shops that I'll never be able to afford, and security there is tighter than anywhere else—no wiggle room on the toiletries. Perth, Australia, and Venice have customs officers that I imagine are male models in their off time. Swoon. LGA marine terminal is a lifesaver. You can get there five minutes before a flight and still get on. TSA agents in St. Louis are the friendliest. I left my work computer in a security tray once and the agent tracked me down at my gate to give it back. LAX is, and will forever be, a grimy smelly, mess, but it's my hometown and I love it that way.

Q: What airport lounge amenity can you not live without?

A: Charging stations and free drinks.

Q: Favorite airline cabin and why?

A: Any business/first class cabin that has the lie flat seats.

Q: WiFi on planes: yay or nay?

A: Wifi on planes is nice, but a double-edged sword. If it's terribly turbulent, I can imessage a friend to distract me. Then again, there's no escape. My producers can always find me.

Q: What are your red-eye survival tactics?

A: A couple glasses of wine, an over-the-counter sleeping pill, a dull article (anything finance related), and a window seat I can lean my head on.

Q: Any tips for fighting jet lag?

A: Water and sleep. Jet lag will get you no matter what.

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

A: Flight upgrades. Can't say it enough. Upgrades are key.

Q: What is the one pet peeve about travel?

A: Slow people in security.

Q: Hotel breakfast standby?

A: I want to say yogurt, but my conscience is forcing me to tell you eggs, bacon, and toast.

Q: Favorite in-room dining indulgence?

A: Steak, fries, and beer.

Q: How do you stay healthy on the road?

A: It is tough. I don't do a good job of eating well. Somehow French fries, chips, and bagels are much harder to turn down when you're on the road. I basically go into workout overdrive when I'm home to make up for it.

Q: How do you stay sane on the road?

A: It's a tough life being on the road all the time. You have to cancel plans at the drop of a hat. The food in your refrigerator rots. Forget owning any plants. To stay sane you have to embrace the adventure of it. There's a quote from Voltaire's Candide that has stuck with me: "If we don't find anything pleasant, at least we shall find something new." In my job, you never know when you're leaving, where you're going, or who you will meet you get there, and that is the best part.

Q: Where are you going next?

A: Who knows?!?! (But if my bosses are reading this, may I kindly suggest Venice or Perth? I may have left something in customs).


As told to Brooke Porter Katz

Photo courtesy of NBC

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