Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Surviving the Corporate Travel

I mentioned in my first post that I travel quite frequently for work.  In a typical month, I spend about 40% of my time traveling.  I certainly am not anywhere near George Clooney's character in Up in the Air, but if you think of a month having four full work weeks, I'm usually gone Monday through Thursday two of the four weeks.  Usually, at least one week of that is in NY, and the other is spread between Chicago, Scottsdale, and other various locations as business needs arise.

Despite how much I love this aspect of my role, I will be the first to tell you it is not all rainbows and roses.  I had someone ask me recently to tell me all about the glamorous life on the road and I almost laughed out loud. I am not complaining but just shooting it straight.  Hotel rooms do not sleep like your own bed, eating out is fun and delicious but I miss homecooked meals with controlled calories and portions, and getting on a routine is damn near impossible.

Nevertheless, this schedule works perfectly for the season of life I find myself in.  Lash works insane residency hours with no routine, so I'm glad I am busy, too.  It has made us cherish the time we get to spend together, and make our marriage a top priority.  I love meeting new people, seeing different parts of the country, and being a part of something bigger than myself.  In this post newlywed - prebaby season of life, I'm having a ball devoting my energy into a career.

In the past year of traveling, I've developed a few travel tips I thought I'd share.

1 - Invest in a good carry on bag.  Don't waste your time with a briefcase, buy a small travel tote. 
My parents gave me this Briggs and Riley carry-on, and it is amazing.  It's durable for airport beatings and also has a built in expansion rod that gives you 25% more room for those times when you can't pack light.

When I first started traveling, I bought a large briefcase that I filled to the brim with unnecessary junk I thought I'd need.  The briefcase got heavy as lead and sure enough, my shoulders started to bother me carrying it.  I downgraded to this Michael Kors jet set travel tote and it is a gamechanger.  It has just enough room for my laptop, notebook, wallet, wireless house, and pen.  All you need.

2 - Keep a travel toiletry bag packed at all times.
Even when I am not traveling, this is left in the suitcase so all I have to think about when packing is my clothes. You will not believe how much easier this makes packing.  I keep this bag stocked full of duplicate toiletry items including a toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, and travel size items.  (P.S. How much have travel sized items improved in the last few years, finally!?)

3 - Coordinate your outfits and shoes.
Pick a color palette and stick with it.  Go with all black, brown, or navy and add in neutrals that you can mix and match and share shoes.  

4 - Be honest with yourself on how much workout gear to pack.
I used to pack a workout outfit per day.  While I was certainly eager in my intention, it never happened with the frequency I imagined.  Now, I try to be honest with myself and give myself a breather on days I know I probably won't have time and try to make more of a conscious effort to get it in when I can.

5 - Say hello to early mornings.  
I made the mistake once of booking a flight on a Sunday evening to be somewhere early for a Monday morning meeting.  That entire day was spent checking my watch to see how much longer before I needed to head to the airport, and I got to my destination lonely and bored.  It is so much better to have one more night at home in your own bed and get up at 4 am for that 6 am flight rather than kill your weekend.

6 - Spend 5 minutes extra and unpack in your hotel room.

I find spending a few minutes organizing the hotel room makes me feel so much more settled.  I always hang up my clothes, put the shoes in the closet, and set up my toiletries.

7 - Explore!
Even if you are strictly traveling for work, try to see some of the sites or experience some of the fun the city offers!  For example, when you are in Memphis, you can't order a salad.

8 - Never travel on Fridays.

Office days are critical to getting caught up on never - ending emails.  Plus, on Friday, you increase your likelihood for delays and compete with pleasure travelers.

9 - Embrace the chaos.
You are going to have hiccups and delays.  Hopefully not often, but it will happen.  Spend the $7 for a drink on the plane and just breathe.  Sometimes, if you are super delayed, they will give you the drinks for free!

10 - Hygiene is a priority.  Always.
Even if it means brushing your teeth in a sketchy bathroom, it is better than nothing and will make you feel like a new person.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad you're back in the blogosphere! You make traveling for work sound easy :)