Wouldn’t it be cool if I got to travel for work!?
March 31, 2011
Posted by Chelsea (Fitch) Rohde
Whenever I went anywhere, I was so curious and a bit envious of the business travelers I saw. So when I started at Barkley, I was genuinely excited about travelling for work - going to different states, expense reports, getting to meet with clients face-to-face, and checking into different places on Foursquare (hello Far Far Away and Jet Setter badges). But I don’t think I was fully prepared for it. Being a business traveler is a lot different than traveling for pleasure, even for experienced travelers.
So here are some things I learned and what they don’t tell you in school when you’re fantasizing about your dream job that takes you places:
- Watch the movie Up in the Air. It’s pretty much spot on with air travel, so I’m not going to regurgitate that advice. Plus, it stars George Clooney.
- An 11pm email from your client with more revisions to the next day’s presentation is almost a given. So …
- Be prepared to work a lot harder and a lot longer when you’re out of the office. Last fall I was travelling almost weekly, which found me working from 6am to 1-2am every day I was gone. I’m not looking for praise or sympathy; I’m just warning those who may not “get it” yet.
- Use at least 3 alarm clocks … and a wake up call.
- Don’t try to fit training for a half or full marathon into your schedule if you’re traveling weekly. It just won’t work out.
- Ask for extra coffee when you check into your hotel. You’ll need it. Trust me.
- If you’re going to exotic places like Toledo, Ohio, like I did last fall, you might find yourself in a prop plane. You can either brave it, or tell your travel coordinator up front that you refuse to take a turbo prop. But really, it’s not that bad.
- Travel agents/coordinators are like guardian angels. Have their number in your contact list so if your flights get delayed or canceled (which they will) you can be on your merry way without much difficulty.
- Bring slippers.
- Pack work you can do or a magazine so when your super awesome laptop battery dies (because it will), you’ll have something to occupy your mind so you don’t cream the kid behind you when he won’t stop kicking your seat.
- Sign up for all the airline rewards programs you can.
- Check with your company’s policy on alcohol. If you have more than an hour layover, you’ll need that beer.
- Check your bag on your return flight. Even though you’ll have to wait a bit longer before you actually get home, you’ll save yourself the trouble of trying to stuff your bag in the overly full bin and looking ridiculous as you do so.
- Not every trip will end with you getting awesome cowgirl bling from your client. But I’ll let you check mine out.
P.S. I swear I had this idea before Austin’s post last week. Really!
Chelsea Fitch is a travel-tested veteran of the friendly skies, ready to take on any TSA screener that gets in her way. She's also an Interactive Account Manager at Barkley, serves as the Communication Chair for ad2 and was a 2010 ad2 Member of the Year Nominee.