Updated: Oct 2, 2018
Ok so I'm going to rant for a minute.. when I first started my corporate job and was told I'd be travelling 60% of the time, I was thrilled! Working remotely and getting out of the office is important because you can a) breathe b) network c) get sh*t done in person.
After +40 trips around the country this past year though, I've come to resent work trips. Why? I don't know about you all but lately work, life, balance has seemed a little idealistic. Top that off with a work trip and it's pretty much nonexistent. Moreover, I always find myself drowning in a pool of emails and an overpour of meetings afterwards.
That said, my career has taken me to some prettttttty cool destinations so I'm not going to completely complain! Today I traveled to Minneapolis, Minnesota where I'm going to be attending a conference so I figured there was no better time to post my TOP tips to power you through a work trip. Oh, and these aren't your average "pack a ziplock of baby carrots for the plane" tips.. no no hunny.
If you have any other suggestions please share them in the comments! Ok, now for the tips..
1. ALWAYS bring a portable charger(s).
I can't tell you how many times I've landed at an airport with 3% battery on my phone because the plane didn't have an outlet and email (ok, Instagram) addictions are real. And while we're on the topic, juice up all your tech the night before too.
2. Save every. single. receipt. No, seriously.
Let me begin by saying that expense reports are a b*tch.. The last thing I want to do is remind myself of my spending habits. But what's worse? Oh actually having to pay for your corporate trip because you lost your receipts. Yup, I've been there.
Pro Tip: Keep a receipt pouch on you at all times so they don't get lost! And of course, stay within your company's spending confines, duh.
3. Wifi Always
Your boss needs and answer A-S-A-P and is emailing & texting you but.. oh wait.. you didn't buy in-air wifi so are totally out of the loop. Plane lands and it hits you like a ton of bricks but by now, chances are you're late to the game. Avoid these situations at all costs! Its worth the extra $10 and if you're on a work trip, is most likely comped anyways.
4. If you're ooto, make it known
The last thing you need is someone unknowingly trying to get hold of you with urgent matters while you're ooto. Obviously these things happen but try but give everyone a head's up before you leave and update your email and calendar so your coworkers know you're out!
5. Frontload your work.. if possible
Ok so I realize this one's not easy but know what's harder? Catching up on a gazillion emails when you're back in the office. Yep. Its no fun.
6. The golden packing rule..
I don't care where you're going, if it's for work you must always pack a blazer, a work appropriate evening outfit and a pair of flats. This morning I got to the airport in my favorite black pumps and within 10 minutes, swapped them for flats to get to my gate faster. Let me just tell ya - Best. Decision. Ever. You never know if a work dinner or customer meeting could pop up so always have these three items handy. No excuses, you'll thank me, promise.
7. Bring business cards!
I'm guilty of forgetting them but in the age of technology you'd be surprised how far a business card goes.
8. Be the hero!
Hotel. Flight. Car Rental. Come correct. If you're travelling with people, be the most organized person in the group! They will thank you for it and it will stand out! Most people are running a million miles a minute and don't have their hotel address or conference center info on them. Wouldn't it be great if you did? Especially true if you're travelling with superiors. You're welcome.
9. You're no longer a poor student so stop travelling like one.
I'm exaggerating (kind of). Look, I'm not saying go out and buy a Louis carry on BUT whether it's accommodations, taxis etc. don't try and pinch pennies. It will 100% backfire and complicate your trip more, possibly even jeopardize your work reputation. One time I was travelling to Houston and took a budget airline (Spirit..) which ended up delaying and making me late to the conference. Oh, and this was my first week on the job!
Another time, I was in California and stayed at a Best Western Inm because I was new and thought it would be a money-saver for the company. Terrible idea. At the end of the day, follow your company policy but don't drive yourself crazy trying to pinch pennies. They're sending you on a trip because you're a valued employee and part of that means compromising your real life, so be comfortable and don't overthink.
10. Try and enjoy yourself
Just because it's a work trip doesn't mean you should press pause on your life. You wouldn't if you were at home, so try and maximize your time away if you can.