June 24, 2011 at 02:00 PM EDT

In the new issue of EW, we asked the director, star, and cowriter of Larry Crowne (in theaters July 1) to explain how he gets through a world-wide promotional tour without losing his mind. Check out a preview of the column below.

By the time you read this, I should be done with an Around the World Tour promoting Larry Crowne, which opens July 1. The itinerary calls for 13 cities, 30 days, crossing all 24 time zones and the international date line. This sort of Celebrity Mule Train is familiar in every branch of showbiz: a grueling combination of political campaign, global race, exotic vacation, and vision quest marked by exhaustion, jet lag, and introductions to far more people than your brain can recall. Like most travel, there can be high points, and if you like the movie you are promoting (and I do), it doesn’t have to feel like the contractual obligation it is.

Keeping one’s sanity on the long haul requires a master plan and some due diligence. Here are a few things I’ve learned from 25 years of hitting the road to hawk a film. (Splash was in 1984, and not only was it the first time I had been out of the USA, it was also a free supersonic ride on the Concorde.)

Know your schedule, but don’t memorize the thing. You’ll be spending all day talking about the film to what will seem like a million people—hard-hitting journalists (who have done this a million times), crack publicity experts (who do this for a living), and room-service waiters who are astonished by how exhausted your face appears. Don’t cloud your pre-fogged head with all the arcane entries on the agenda, such as this one: 10 June – 8:30 p.m. Delegation escorted to VIP Holding Area. Green Room, Level 6. Am I a VIP? Who makes up my Delegation? Why are we being held? Is the Green Room on Level 6 better than the Orange Room on Level 13? Never mind.

To read Hanks’ entire guest column on surviving an international press tour, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, June 24.

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