For the last few years I’ve been traveling a lot for work. At first it was very fun and exciting, and I thought I would never tire of feeling the plane take off – but I’m starting to be over it.
However, I still make the most of my travel, trying to have adventures and discover fun little spots and interesting, artsy towns on every trip, schedule permitting.
For example, this week I’m in Winter Park, Florida. Actually, I’m in Altamonte Springs, but that town is boring so I drive 10 min to Winter Park for good food, awesome parks, and beautiful neighborhoods to walk in. It’s a hidden gem amongst the Disney-fied spread of the Orlando area. I’m not sure what it would be like to live here, because it’s a bit ritzy and maybe the demographic is more wealthy retired people, but the locally-owned shops, gorgeous homes, and a good restaurant make me happy.
But I digress. During all my travels I’ve come up with a few tricks to make things easier. Here they are!
Select an aisle or window seat in the last 5 rows of the plane.
After one too many California-to-DC flights where I was stuck in a middle seat between two broad-shouldered business men, I came up with this plan of attack. It hasn’t failed me since. People are not going to choose a middle seat in the back-most rows of the plane unless every other possible seat is full. Therefore, you dramatically increase the chances of having an open seat next to you.
At The Hotel:
- Check the sheets! As soon as you get to your room, peel back the comforter and blankets at the foot of the bed, and check the sheets for hair or dirt or evidence of bedbugs. It’s much easier to change rooms before you unpack!
- Keep it Quiet: Take one large bath towel, roll it into a kind of towel log, and shove it against the bottom of your door each night before you go to sleep. I don’t know why they do it, but hotels seem to always have doors that stop about an inch from the floor. My not-yet-patented Towel Log Technique does a great job of muffling sounds.
- Make Some Noise: Speaking of sounds, my next tip is to have a sound machine app installed on your phone. It’s another great way to mask unwanted noises and get a better night’s sleep. On my droid I liked the free HonkShooLite app and on my iPhone I use Sleep Machine (also free).
- Hoard Toiletries: I will be honest, I always steal the leftover toiletries because I donate them to my homeless shelter. You may be able to do this too.
How To Pack:
I love fashion, but I hate lugging a heavy suitcase around the airport. My solution is to pack light on the clothing side, because I always have to travel with my DSLR and two laptops (one for work, one for personal use) and marketing materials. That alone adds weight.
I’m going to be honest: I try and see how many outfits I can get out of very small amounts of clothes.
- Get a killer suit in a neutral color. I go with a black suit. You can technically wear the same suit with a different shirt under it each day on a business trip. But if you don’t want to do that . . .
- Pack a simple skirt that will work with your suit jacket. I often pack either a teal or lavender knee-length straight skirt.
- Add a few colorful tops that can be worn with either the suit or the skirt.
- Shoes: I only pack one pair of work shoes – usually a black wedge heel. I learned the hard way that conferences require a ton of walking and standing (usually) so now I try to straddle the line between cute and comfortable. I also pack a cute pair of flats for off-hours.
- I pack fun jewelry to mix things up (but never my treasured items, just in case). I also pack a few fun scarves, because meetings are always cold.
- I add a pair of skinny jeans and a sundress for my off hours, and I make sure the tops I pair with my suit are equally awesome with my skinny jeans. Also, the blazer from the suit can still be worn with the jeans
I think that concludes my business travel tips. If you have any suggestions, please share them in the comments. And if you have any questions, just ask! I’m happy to answer anything I left out.