Rep. Joe Heck (R-Nev.) spends his long flights prepping notes and creating checklists for staff meetings.
“I will work on that Friday I land, so it’s also important that I get time to sleep. Some days I’ll be working till 4 a.m., so it’s important that I manage my workload,” he says.
When constituents recognize Begich on a flight, they will often avoid speaking with him, opting instead for a more passive — and ever so modern — form of communication.
“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. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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