Traveling for work is a fairly common reality – meetings, conferences or training can take employees all over the country or world. Traveling can be exciting and enjoyable but also stressful and busy. How can a gurl make sure their trip is as smooth as possible? Here are 5 tips to get you ready so you can relax and have an awesome work-vacation.
Practice self-care. Traveling for work can make for jam-packed schedules. Trying to get from breakfast to a meeting to a lunch to another meeting might make you feel a little frazzled. This is why it’s so important to take time for yourself when you can. Many hotels have a fitness center where you can sneak away for 30 minutes in the pool or a walk on the treadmill. Bring a yoga mat to meditate or exercise in the morning and check out the hotel spa to see about getting a manicure or a massage at night. Most spas offer 30 minute manicures that are perfect for the career gurl on the go.
Pack smart. Hotel rooms always seem to be freezing cold, so I tend to pack layers when I travel. Scarves, cardigans, leggings, sleep sweaters – you name it, I’ve got it packed. Staying warm will also help you get a good night sleep before facing a long day of meetings. If you have a special sleep aid like a blindfold to wear during flights, bring it with you. Hotels often have blackout curtains to help with light coming in, but they can also be noisy. Earplugs might be a worthy investment to avoid disruptions from external traffic or chatty guests in the halls.
Research beforehand. Google the area you’re staying in. Where are the restaurants and shops you’ll need to visit? What hours are they open? How far is the walk from your hotel? Ask a co-worker to go on an outing with you when you arrive to get acquainted with the area and do a little sightseeing if you have time. The more planning you do ahead of time, the less stressed you’ll be during your stay and the more time you’ll have to enjoy yourself outside of work.
Keep your receipts. Taking a cab from the airport to the hotel? Keep your receipt. Going out for a meal after work? Keep your receipt. When traveling for work, you’ll will need to submit an expense report to your boss for reimbursement. Your boss will need all of your receipts attached as proof of these expenses. Make sure you know what’s covered ahead of time before going out on the town and expecting your work to cover you. Remember that alcohol may or may not be covered, and that room service is expensive compared to in-restaurant dining.
Arrive at the airport prepared. Get there early with your ticket, passport and liquids stored in ziplock bags. Remember that you cannot bring more than 100ml liquids in your carry-on. If you buy a bottle of water beforehand you’ll have to toss it out and purchase a new bottle once you’re through security. Keep your prescriptions in the bottle they came in. Laptops and cellphones will have to go through the scanner, so have them out before you get in line. These are tasks that take time, so prepare to be at the airport a few hours before your flight so you don’t have to rush through feeling flustered.
How do you prepare for a work trip? Let me know in the comments below!