I’ve been doing quite a bit of traveling for work lately and have realized one very important thing; traveling for work and traveling for pleasure are entirely different experiences.
For those of you that don’t know, I work at an advertising agency in Rochester, NY. One of my main clients is located in the financial district of New York City so we fly down frequently for meetings and face-to-face time.
This most recent trip I stayed at the Millennium Hilton Downtown which had a stunning view of the World Trade Center. I was doing a quick one night visit and was too exhausted to enjoy the view during the evening but waking up the next morning and seeing the sun reflecting off the glass buildings gave it a euphoric glow.
Since it’s been a learning curve for me when it comes to work travel, I wanted to share some of the biggest things I’ve learned while traveling for work:
1. Pack light! Whether you’re visiting a client or going to a conference, your schedule will likely be very time driven which means the flexibility of booking flights during a time you like are slim. Because of this, during our return flights of my most recent trip I needed to bring my luggage with me into our clients office. Thankfully I had packed a simple backpack with my items and a large purse so I didn’t feel awkward carrying it through their office. Plus, no need to wait for checked bags.
2. Bring your own snacks! Whether you’re traveling alone or with co-workers, you never know what there will be time for and what everyone’s preferences will be. When traveling for work, you quickly realize it’s not about you unlike that being one of the joys of traveling for pleasure. I always pack Kind bars with me since they’re filling and give me the energy I need. Both days in NY we didn’t have time for breakfast so I was thankful I had these on hand.
3. Map out key locations ahead of time! If you’re traveling for shorter periods of time then you likely won’t have much time to squeeze in activities for fun. The best thing you can be prepared with is a few ideas of places you’d like to visit should the opportunity present itself. I was solo for lunch one day during my travels and simply took advantage of walking around The Oculus. Even if it’s a restaurant that you have your eye on, it’s nice to have suggestions for the group or ideas in mind ahead of time.
4. Go with the flow! Traveling for work is an entirely different experience. I’ve noticed that I get much more anxious when traveling alone than with Phil. He brings so many skills to the table when traveling that I don’t possess, most importantly being his strong sense of direction. I get lost driving around my hometown still! But when traveling solo, I remind myself to take a deep breath, be flexible, and it will all be okay.
5. Products that simplify are your friend! What I mean by this is, bring the dry shampoo, make-up removing wipes, portable cell phone charger, air pods, hand sanitizer, sleep aid, and any medication you could need. Bring these little helpers that will save you time and bring you comfort when you need it the most. It’s different when traveling for pleasure and you can take the time to make stops should you realize you need something. Feeling a headache coming on mid-meeting though and having the Advil on hand; or popping in air pods so you don’t have to detangle pesky headphones, is one less thing to worry about when your focus will need to be elsewhere.
What are some helpful things you do when traveling for work to make it easier? I’d love to know – leave me a comment below!