Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) spends his long flights prepping notes and creating checklists for staff meetings.
“I’ll look on Facebook and someone will write they were sitting next to me in the airport, but they didn’t want to bug me,” Begich says. “Or sometimes they will send me Facebook messages about what they wanted to talk about.”
Averaging around 130,000 miles annually, Begich says he is closing in on 1 million miles and has some choice words for fellow frequent fliers in the Senate.
“You have to manage your time. A lot of them might say, ‘I shouldn’t sleep, I need to look like I’m working,’ but you need to manage your health, to prepare yourself for the jet lag and time change,” he says.
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
Akaka is a veteran traveler. He has been taking the flight from D.C. to Hawaii for more than 35 years, and his routine has changed over time.
“Early on, I used to do work,” he says. “Now I try to rest and get some exercise in. I do leg exercises when I’m sitting. I will walk around the plane to get my blood flowing.”
Akaka does not recall having a bad flight or good food.
“You really only have two choices when it comes to food, and I usually don’t like either. So when I am coming back from Hawaii, I pack boxes full of food from home that my wife cooks,” he says.
When it comes to dealing with jet lag, Akaka has become a pro.
“I usually leave the evening before, and I stay awake till it’s dark. I go to bed in the time frame that I am in, and I find that it really helps me, and the jet lag doesn’t affect me as much,” Akaka says.
Serving his final term before retiring from the Senate, Akaka has some advice for his fellow lawmakers traveling west.
“Over the years, you should try to improve your plan,” he says. “Pack light, stay hydrated and drink a lot of water.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.