Traveler: Joseph Hodges, president and founder of Tampa-based INETICO Inc., a medical logistics company assisting insurance carriers and large employers with medical-cost containment.
Itinerary: Between several businesses and occasional getaways, Hodges consistently travels two or three days each week. With more than $6 million in annual revenue and 50 employees, Tampa-based INETICO covers more than 500,000 employees in the U.S., Caribbean and Puerto Rico, and keeps Hodges constantly on the move. He also travels for business related to his investments in renewable energy, his development projects in the Middle East, his partnership with his sister in an olive-growing business in Georgia, and Benefirm, his health insurance brokerage firm. Some of his recent trips include Fiji, 14 states in the U.S., Canada, India and Qatar.
Loyalty Perks: Hodges says he prefers Delta and US Airways, racking up airline reward miles and perks through his American Express credit card. Sticking with the same carriers usually results in a first-class seat upgrade, he says.
For hotels, he likes the Hilton HHonors guest loyalty program. They generally have a nice clubroom too, he says. He's also a Starwood Preferred Guest member, and loves staying at the W Hotels. “The styling and design is out of this world,” he says. “It's appropriately designed for the modern traveler.”
Booking Solo: Hodges books all of his travel by himself, he says, admitting he can be a “control freak” when it comes to finding a flight that works for his schedule. He usually doesn't book until he is within 30 days of the travel date, so he can watch weather patterns across the country in an attempt to avoid getting stuck overnight in an airport.
To book his travel, he compares options with at least four price comparison websites such as Orbitz or Travelocity, and then books directly through the airlines.
Hodges prefers nonstop trips, but if he has to fly with a layover, he avoids certain airports at certain times of day and particular times of the year, he says. “I'm pretty dead on with being able to travel efficiently,” he says. “All I have is my time; my time is incredibly valuable.”
Tips for the trade: Avoid JFK in the winter, Hodges advises, “it is horribly backed up” and traffic can be a pain. He also recommends avoiding Atlanta: “It's grown beyond its capacity in terms of getting people in and out efficiently and safely.” His favorite airport is Tampa International. Though he doesn't recommend it, he says he's left his office as late as 30 minutes before a flight, and was still able to negotiate his way to the front of security.
Travel habits: When at the airport, Hodges always buys a bottle of water. “I want to be sure I'm comfortable,” Hodges says, just in case the plane is held up on the tarmac.
He always tries to run in the city he's visiting. “It's safer in some places than others,” he admits. Sometimes, he'll even cut his trip short if needed, so he won't miss a day of good cardio.
Thinking time: “On a plane is my best thinking time,” Hodges says. This is when he concentrates on his program writing and analysis review. “It's my time to be creative, be in my element and know I'm completely undisturbed.”