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Business traveller: The jet set

From favourite airports, hotels and cities to visit on business trips to their weirdest travel stories, five frequent flyers detail their top stops and best advice for fellow pilgrims

Interminable layovers. Last-minute cancellations. Screeching infants. Stale pretzels. There can often be plenty more pricks than petals when it comes to navigating bustling airports and crowded aisles on business trips, but there’s always a reason to look up when touching down in a far-flung locale – even if it only means you’re just one step closer to coming home again.

We asked five business travellers for their best advice, harried tales and favourite destinations when it comes to flying the frequently all-too-familiar skies.

Yuri Fulmer

Vancouver, B.C.

Yuri Fulmer

Yuri Fulmer, chairman of Fulmer Capital Partners, in Argentine Patagonia | Photo: Submitted

What was initially intended to be a short stint in Vancouver for this native of Perth, Australia, turned into a 26-year layover. He is now chairman of Fulmer Capital Partners and logged more than 120,000 miles last year as a Super Elite Air Canada commuter.

Favourite city to visit on business: Montreal. The restaurants are incredible and I love the energy in the city.

Favourite hotel: Both the Fairmont and Four Seasons are significant customers of a business we own, so I try and stay there as much as possible to say thanks.

Favourite airport: Singapore’s Changi Airport, for all the amenities. It’s like visiting a small city. And whenever I hit Sydney Airport it’s also like I’ve come home, so that always has a special place in my heart too.

Weirdest travel moment: A flight out of Bhutan – we hit a storm with hailstones the size of baseballs and were forced to land at an air force base in India. I honestly thought it was a 50-50 chance we were done for.

Best travel advice: Instead of getting on the plane and immediately working, use airplane time to relax, do some reading or watch a movie. And buy a pair of noise-cancelling headphones – they’re expensive but make an unbelievable difference to your feeling of stress when flying.

Milena Radzikowska

Calgary, Alberta

Milena Radzikowska

Milena Radzikowska, travel-ready at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport | Submitted

An associate professor of information design at Mount Royal University, Radzikowska is an avowed fan of WestJet and says she enjoys the sense of escape and discovery that travel affords her almost as much as she hates being away from her family in Calgary.

Favourite city to visit on business: I adore Hong Kong, and I am getting very familiar with Chicago because my main research project partner and co-author is located there.

Favourite hotel: I prefer small boutique hotels for their charm and variety, but I’ve started using Airbnb more frequently now. The cost is better and it’s nice to stay in an at-home atmosphere.

Favourite airport: Minneapolis-Saint Paul. It has a great variety of shopping and food while not feeling overwhelming in terms of size or complexity.

Weirdest travel moment: United screwed up my flights and sent me to a roach motel on the outskirts of Phoenix. I ended up sleeping at the airport with lights full on, no horizontal benches and TVs showing CNN at full blast. I cried.

Best travel advice: Get to your hotel, drop off your bags, get on your comfy shoes and just pick a direction to walk. That’s how I have mapped out some of my favourite cities.

Neil Impey

Vancouver, B.C.

Neil Impey

Neil Impey at the top of Mont Blanc in the Alps | Submitted

A photographer, producer and visual effects guru, this South African expat wears many hats and regularly takes wing to help shoot feature films around the world. He counts Lufthansa, British Airways, Air Canada and Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways as his airlines of choice.

Favourite city to visit on business: New York, Berlin, Prague and Mexico City. Italy is also a treat, especially when you get time off to enjoy the surrounding countryside and cuisine.

Favourite hotel: The Sheraton is always fantastic. Ultimately, all I need is a clean room so I can catch up on sleep. For me, the fun part of working abroad isn’t the hotels but the places around them.

Favourite airport: Is this a trick question? Nobody likes airports. Kidding – Amsterdam has a lovely airport, as does Frankfurt; however, I have to say that the best one is when you land back at YVR [Vancouver International Airport] after a long trip.

Weirdest travel moment: In a kuriara – a boat carved from a tree trunk – on the Amazon en route to Angel Falls in Venezuela, the captain took off his hoodie and got a sleeve snagged in the diesel engine’s steering mechanism, and we nearly capsized and lost all of our camera equipment and footage.

Best travel advice: Take half the amount of clothes and double the amount of money you think you need. Always try and learn the local language. Travel light.

Lauren Mote

Vancouver, B.C.

Laurent Mote

Globe-trotting mixologist and sommelier Lauren Mote | Photo: Diageo Reserve

An award-winning, globe-trotting mixologist, sommelier and longtime veteran of the Canadian hospitality scene, Lauren Mote is an in-demand “global cocktailian” for beverage company Diageo. She hails from Toronto but has called Vancouver home since 2007.

Favourite city to visit on business: Singapore. Asia in general has so much to offer and so many things to discover. Each city and culture is so different. Also, it’s home to some of my favourite styles of food, so I am ecstatic every time I head back there.

Favourite hotel: I like Design Hotels for the touch of personality they add to each stay. My only requests are great coffee, good fitness facilities and decent security/concierge.

Favourite airport: London’s Heathrow for their duty-free selection. Tokyo’s Narita airport for the great noodle bars in the lounges. Toronto’s Pearson, where they unveiled the first-ever Super Elite business-class lounge. It’s got a fully stocked bar with World Class/Diageo Reserve cocktails.

Weirdest travel moment: I have witnessed offensive language, bad manners and belligerent behaviour in business class and was delighted to see the captain come out and discreetly put the offending party in their place.

Best travel advice: Stick to a rigorous sleep, exercise, stretching and eating schedule – even on the plane.

Mark Bishop

Toronto, Ontario

Mark Bishop

Mark Bishop, co-CEO of Marblemedia, in Cannes | Submitted

This proud Maritimer moved to Toronto to attend university and founded TV and new media production company Marblemedia in 2001 with fellow Ryerson University grad Matt Hornburg. Bishop regularly takes to the skies to attend industry conferences in Cannes, Los Angeles, New York, London and Australia.

Favourite city to visit on business: Cannes for the out-of-this-world croissants. Banff for the breathtaking scenery.

Favourite hotel: The Banff Springs Hotel and the Standard Hotel in downtown L.A.

Favourite airport: London’s Heathrow is good for restaurants and shopping and Germany is great when it comes to toy stores for gifts to bring back to my daughter, Kira.

Weirdest travel moment: While travelling to Australia, my luggage was lost. I arrived on a Sunday night and nothing was open late other than Woolworths. I had to go buy a shirt there and found out the next morning at my meeting that it was actually a school uniform.

Best travel advice: Bring noise-cancelling headphones and always make sure to pack some essentials in your carry-on just in case your luggage is delayed.