There first difference I noticed was how much airline check in has changed. On my outbound flight, I showed up one hour and 45 minutes before my flight. After I checked in, the attendant told me I had just made it. Check in was closing in 3 minutes, one hour and 30 minutes before the flight.
Luckily, security lines were short. However, I still needed to remove my shoes, take my computer out of my suitcase, and put all liquids in a one quart bag. In addition, I needed to pack my blackberry, wallet and keys in my briefcase or in a separate tray.
On the way back, I showed up at the airport two hours before my flight. After check in, the attendant told me that the gate was closing in 45 minutes and I needed to hurry. As it turns out, the airport has two security checks. The first one was only five minutes and the second one took about 30 minutes.
Before, the heightened security checks, international business travel had some perks. In addition to express check-in, I received express security checks and could use a business class lounge for about 30 minutes. Today, I would need to show up four hours in advance of my flight to enable enough time to use the business class lounge. While international travel is always a chore, it is becoming even more a chore nowadays.
International Land Travel
While the European economies are not that strong, the costs of visiting there are still high. My hotel rooms cost between $200 and $450 per night. These were the preferred rates for my company. While the service was excellent at these hotels, I did not think it was worth the extra $100 to $300 per night over a higher end US hotel. In addition, breakfast was $32 and dinner was about $85. The only break I got was that the tip is already included in the price.
For this trip, we chose to drive in the United Kingdom because one of our colleagues had done an assignment there. Driving in the United Kingdom is challenging for several reasons. First, driving on the left hand side is disorienting for me. Second, clockwise roundabouts are challenging even though I have driven counter clockwise (right side driving) roundabouts in Washington D.C. and in Rome, Italy. Third, there are two many one way streets which does not allow one to backtrack when a turn is missed. Otherwise, driving in the UK was easy :-)
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.
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