“Oh my lanta – you get to travel for work? How awesome!”
Yeah, sure, Karen… Traveling for work is awesome. Of course, the idea of having your company pay for you to go somewhere new may seem glamorous, but for many of us… you’re just visiting another stuffy office in a new city. Work sessions in a hotel room, eating out for every meal, and non-stop meetings.
Over my tenure working as a consultant in healthcare, I’ve been a lot of different places:
- New Jersey
…just to name a few. We visit hospitals, office buildings, and meet a lot of people. It can be fun – but recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time at one of our sister offices near Detroit. All day meetings and solo travel is exhausting and I miss Matt, my kitties, and home cooked meals.
While I’m sitting in my hotel room (watching a show about UFOs), I was reminiscing about my travels – and some of the mistakes I’ve made a long the way. Here are some tips that will help you prepare for work travel – regardless if it’s your first or 100th time:
I’m literally the worst packer, ever. But I’ve gotten better. There are obviously rules and regulations on travel depending on your model of transportation (hint: roll the clothes if flying – to fit in your carry-on).
My essential packing list:
- Make up + hair (products, straighteners)
- Underwear + 1 (you never know… sh*t happens)
- 1 pair of pants (re-wear!) + 1 pair of jeans
- Shirts to match the pants (# of shirts = # of days)
- 2 pair of shoes (flats, heals)
Understand the dress requirements of where you’re going. When in doubt – wear a nice suit. It’s better to be overdressed than under. Making good impressions starts with dress. It’s old fashioned, but true.
On one of my visits to Wisconsin, I brought the most uncomfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. They were fine for sitting, but we had to walk ALL over the hospital. It was so bad, and embarrassing… I couldn’t walk. At one point, I took my shoes off and walked barefoot.
Yes… You read that right.
Lesson learned – I always bring multiple pairs of shoes.
For some, sleep may be easy. For me… Not so much. I’ve walked in to many a place – completed disheveled and looking like I was cast as the lead in a zombie movie.
You need to be on your A-game, so I recommend bringing some sleep-aids, set multiple alarms, and try to relax.
Understand the Purpose and Get a Resolution
Wait – what? You need clearly defined goals and an agenda prior to your trip. This costs money and more importantly, your time. You need to know to know the following:
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- Who are you meeting? (where and when)
- Is there an agenda (on paper) because you need one.
If you arrive and your fellow meeting attendees don’t show up or give you the appropriate time – you need to be sending emails and documenting everything.
Remember – you’re accountable and need to make sure you’re covering your ass, exhausting all options.
We were having some major issues with one of our clients, and my colleague and I went to resolve some of the issues. We had outlined an agenda, and when we arrived – it all fell apart. No one was there and we were left to shadow and observe the process.
Our last day there, we were finally granted a meeting with the people we were originally supposed to meet with. HA! Well, we waited outside in the rain (and tornado warning weather) for 20 minutes. We called, emailed, and called again… With no response.
Unfortunately, we had to catch our flights and left. Our boss was not pleased – but we covered our own asses during the trip. Crazy.
Hopefully these tips help you have a successful trip!
Keep hustling and travel safe!