Traveling for business sounds like a fabulous new adventure, and it can be! Learning travel is a part of your job description can be both an exciting prospect, and a nerve-racking one.
From packing your bag to enjoying your trip, I've learned the ins-and-outs of business travel.
Booking your Trip
There are two major aspects to book when traveling for a business trip: flights and hotel. Since business trips are expensed (thank YOU), I won't focus on money-saving tips, but it's always a good idea to search for flights in a private browser so the airlines don't increase the price knowing you're looking. When booking the best flights, first find an airline you trust that flies to the areas you need for work, and open a credit card with them. Opening an airline credit card gives you instant miles, and as you become a frequent flyer with the airline those miles add up. This is a great way to let work trips fund your vacations (hello Paris in the spring!)
If you travel back and forth to the same areas, finding a hotel company with loyalty benefits to can land you some bonuses too. Being a returning customer allows you to know the hidden amenities of your hotel, or your favorite item on the menu-giving you extra things to look forward to during your down time. As travel restrictions loosen, many hotels are offering Covid-deals which allows you to book some bougie rooms while staying within your company's travel budget. During my recent business trip from San Diego, CA to Greensboro, NC and I stayed at Proximity hotel. Proximity had a deal that gave me a $300 food (and more importantly drink) credit for the three nights I stayed with them. The hotel's in-house restaurant was fabulous, and this deal made my expense report simple as the food was taken care of!
We hear it all the time, "location, location, location!" Keeping this top of mind when looking for a hotel will help make your business trip all the more enjoyable. What makes a 'good' location depends on the person, and the trip. If you know after 5pm you're ready to clock-out of work mode and find a place to grab a drink, make some friends etc. then looking for a hotel that is close to the downtown attractions will help avoid the uber fees that aren't expense-friendly. If the trip is strictly business, the hotels near your work will allow you to hit your snooze just one more time and still make it before the meeting starts.
What to Pack
While the majority of a business trip is of course business focused...there is still downtime between meetings or at the end of the day. During this free time you can explore a new city, head to the gym or grab a drink at the bar – and you do not have to do this wearing professional clothes. On my four day trip, two days were spent in travel clothes and two days in business professional dress, but I still brought two more casual outfits, a fun jacket and a change of shoes. This way I could be more casual during dinner with my co-workers and have an outfit for getting drinks downtown. Trust me, there is nothing worse than not having a change of shoes for dinner after wearing heels all day...just no.
The Work Day is Done
My mindset when arriving at a hotel: unwind, relax and get in a robe asap! Make the most of your time away from home and do the things that turn vacation mode: ON. After working hard on a business trip, you can soak in the tub and let your stress wash away. I normally don't take baths at home, but in the four days I was in North Carolina I took five baths! (Yes, I was practically wrinkly the whole trip).
Post-work day socialization can be tricky, depending on your co-worker relationship and the city you're visiting. I was traveling with two coworkers in their mid-40's, so when it came to downtown fun...they were not in the know. I asked my fellow twenty-somethings who worked at the hotel restaurant what their recommendations were and they wrote me a whole list of restaurants & bars to check out!
One great things about hotels is the easy access to amenities. Most hotels have a gym and/or a pool so you can get your workout in, and your relaxation. Taking this physical and mental time away from your laptop will keep you refreshed and sharp for your next busy day. There are moments we can remind ourselves that we are not working machines, and our minds need a break. Don't be afraid to take one!
My final note: I had never ordered room service before taking a business trip, but it was amazing. After a full day of meetings, I took a bath (hence the five baths) and called in for a chocolate cake. I climbed into bed, clicked *play* on Netflix, and ate cake. Bliss!