Plenty to Be
Thankful For
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 18, 2021 -- So what's rarer: A good Thanksgiving song or something to be thankful for on the road?

The answer, you'll be happy to know, is a good Thanksgiving Day song.

Although many of you hold out for "Alice's Restaurant," I can only think of one genuine, Thanksgiving-specific song: "I've Got Plenty to Be Thankful For," a minor Irving Berlin ditty from 1942's Holiday Inn. It's no "White Christmas," Berlin's masterwork from the same flick, but, you know, it's Crosby and it is better than Berlin's Fourth of July tune.

But things to be thankful for on the road? You and I actually have plenty to be thankful for. I know this because you have told me so over the years. Even during this dreadful pandemic, which never seems to end, we really are thankful.

And, of course, we business travelers already live lives of extraordinary privilege. It's wise to remember that most of our problems are first-world ones. We will have food to eat next Thursday and a chance to buy toys and trinkets at a discount the next day.

Life on the road is a long, hard slog, but, sometimes, it's a little thing that makes us thankful. ... "I adore those rocking chairs at the Charlotte airport." ... "Flower arrangements in the lobby of the Four Seasons in Paris make me happy and they are strikingly beautiful." ... "It's great when room service brings me my morning coffee in a silver pot." ... "Shopping at the Takashimaya in Tokyo and watching a middle-aged shopper in a kimono examining the sale table just like your mother used to do at home." ... "The savvy hotel clerk who upgraded me to a three-bedroom suite because I wrote nice things about him on social media the last time I stayed at the hotel." ... "The view of Hong Kong Island from the Kowloon Star Ferry Terminal." ... "Sitting in a restaurant in Sausalito, drinking white wine and watching the sun set on San Francisco."

The neighborhoods around airports are rarely pretty, but one traveler is thankful for the roads near Albuquerque airport: "Highway overpasses are salmon and turquoise, colored to blend in with the natural landscape. It's a pleasant road-trip surprise."

Life on the road is not as charming as it once was, but the gear we bring along is better than ever. A lot of business travelers are thankful for ... "My Bose noise-reducing headphones." ... "My lightweight travel hotpot that boils water for tea that doesn't taste like coffee-pot water." ... "Google Maps. I haven't gotten lost in forever." ... "Delivery apps. It's great to order fabulous food and have it in your room after a long day." ... "Love it or hate it, works. I can order something on the road and have it waiting at home when I return."

We all have little routines when we travel and they make us thankful for the time we have in a faraway place. For example: "When traveling in Europe or South America I find a local grocery store and buy a practical kitchen device, such as a pizza cutter or spatula. I use those items every week and they bring back a memory of that country. Grocery shopping also forces me to see everyday life in other parts of the world."

I come from a shoe family--my dad was a retailer, his father repaired 'em--so I couldn't help but notice how many folks are thankful for the quality of the humble airport shoe shine. And, yes, they still exist. ... "I love getting my shoes shined at Houston Intercontinental. It's relaxing and they do a great job." ... "I love the shoeshine people at Denver International Airport. I actually look forward to changing planes there so I can get a shoe shine. They are pleasant, efficient and their shine is the best I've ever had." ... "The best shoe shine stands in any U.S. airport are located at Lambert International in St. Louis. For a few bucks, you get a shine totally done by hand. When they finish, you can see your reflection in them."

We've all got a favorite stable of hotels, but some properties more than others make us thankful. "I love the toys and board games in the room at Hotel Avante in Mountain View, California." ... "I've been going to the Amsterdam Marriott twice a year for years and the bell captain actually remembers me every time. He even buys me tulips!" ... "My favorite is still the Las Colinas Four Seasons. The staff is just pure perfection!" ... "The Conrad in Hong Kong has great service, a very well-trained staff and a good location. There's even a gourmet supermarket in the basement. I hope I get back there again one day." ... "The Davenport Hotel in Spokane is an old property purchased by a local couple and completely re-habbed into a luxury-class hotel. The accommodations are exceptional and now that it's part of the Autograph Collection, I get Bonvoy points."

Life on the road takes its toll on relationships, especially marriages. But one reader made an amazing discovery: "On a project before the pandemic, six of us were having dinner and we discovered that, even though we all worked on the road, none of us were ever divorced and we were all married for more than 20 years. So we decided that working on the road makes us appreciate our spouses more and them us. It also means every homecoming is like a wedding night."

Frequent flyers are experts at turning little inconveniences into little victories. You wouldn't think we'd be thankful for stuff like this, but... "I like the adventure of travel, like using a credit card or the morning paper to scrape ice and snow off of a car because the rental-car company forgot to put an ice scraper and snow brush in the car." ... "Being on the road means I'm not in my messy home office." ... "Narrow coach seats encourage me to keep the pounds off." ... "Those smaller, cheaper new hotels aren't high-quality, but they have better and bigger walk-in showers."

Happy Thanksgiving ... and, wherever you are, don't forget to give thanks. And thank you for supporting this site. We're honored.