Seven-time Olympic medalist, mom, and cancer survivor Shannon Miller is no stranger to life on the road. With a speech or event every week in cities and countries across the map, the gymnast-turned-businesswoman has a few travel tricks up her sleeve. We chatted with Miller about her travel must-haves, juggling travel and a hectic schedule, and winning tricks every jetsetter should have up her sleeve.
What was the best travel experience you’ve had?
“Wow, I really have had so many great experiences. I do so much travel that at some point they begin to blend together. But I’d have to say our honeymoon to Italy was pretty amazing. The flight was a breeze and we traveled Northern Italy spending a few days at each destination. Easy travel, wonderful hotels, incredible food, hiking, shopping, history…the list goes on and on.”
You’re a busy mom and cancer survivor. How do you find time to travel?
“I travel primarily for work. That means quite a few two or three day trips, with some international travel mixed in. But with so much travel, I find ways to maximize my time. With Wifi I can get so much work done on a 4 hour flight to the West Coast that when I get home I can focus on my kids. It also provides a balance. I get a break from laundry and dishes on the road so when I get home I’m reenergized.”
What are essentials you’d never leave at home when travelling?
“My phone, my Kindle, my Polar Loop and Chapstick.”
Can you share a few of the best travel tips you’ve learned along the way?
- Plan ahead. The more you know about where you’re going and how to get there the more you’ll enjoy the experience.
- Best seat in the house. If traveling by plane, choose your seats as early as possible. If you get on early (and particularly if you have points) you can get that aisle on the exit row.
- Bring a book. You just can’t get worked up about delays. Assume they are going to happen and make the most of it. This may be the best lesson I ever learned. Keep the stress to a minimum and control only what you can control.
- Time zone. Try to get on the time zone of where you are staying as quickly as possible. Unless you have to know what time it is at home, don’t check!
You’re a big proponent of eating healthy and staying active. How do you stick to your healthy eating habits on vacations?
- It’s difficult to eat healthy while traveling. I always try to pack healthy snacks like almonds and string cheese so that if I’m not able to get a healthy meal then I can at least snack healthy. However, I do come from an “everything in moderation” approach. So if I’m eating healthy at home and I know I have a rough travel day coming up, I don’t mind making that a splurge day. You may see me grabbing a slice as I sprint the Atlanta airport from one Terminal to the other.
- I admit I don’t take a lot of vacations. Because I travel so much for work, staying at home is nice. When we do go away I try to plan ahead. I do my research to see what activities are nearby and what types of food are available. I’m a planner by nature so I’m used to making sure I know what is available.
- I utilize the fitness gyms at hotels quite a bit. I also bring fitness DVD’s with me so I can work out in my room if necessary. It’s much easier to stay in a routine than to try and pick it back up when you return. If we’re on vacation we like to try something new or get a workout in with different types of activities we don’t take the time to do at home like hiking, biking or heading to the beach.
Photos: Gregory Brown; Renee Parenteau