This January 2012 kicks off my first business trip since May 2010. Travelling for work always brings back memories of my first business trip when I thought, “I get to stay in a cool hotel and eat delicious food. This is going to be GREAT!”
To say the least, I was ill-prepared for my first business trip, but after standing on concrete for ten hours and being nice to hundreds of strangers on my first day out of the office, I felt like I’d been punched in the face. I realized that while the flight, hotel, and meals were paid for by the company, I still had to EARN that shit.
My next thought was, “Traveling for work blows.” I maintain that thought to this day; however, over the past five years I’ve built-in eight general rules to help with my survival.
1. Bring an arsenal of toiletries, extra underwear, breath mints, chapstick, and travel/hotel itineraries in your carry-on. If at all possible, don’t check a bag at all.
2. Keep caffeine to a minimum on your travel days. Being jittery on a plane is not fun and coffee will dry out your skin like mad. No alcohol either. This is not spring break 2003.
3. For the love of god, do not touch your eyes when you’re traveling or while you’re glad-handing in a conference center. You have no idea what might be on your fingertips after you just shook that sketchy guy’s hand. Next thing you know you’ll be in a San Diego ER with a dilated pupil and a bloody nose due to possible “drug residue”.
4. Related rule, wash your hands…a lot.
5. Wear comfortable slip-on shoes at the airport and never wear heels because you will have to run to a gate at some point. Also, high heels are so incredibly dumb (just ask any podiatrist).
6. Three words: TWO DRINK MAXIMUM. Just because someone gives you a fistful of free drink tickets does not mean you need to use all of them before dinner. You will get hammered and fall.
7. Take a moment to gather yourself if needed. When faced with a daunting task or an onslaught of potential customers to woo, it’s okay to step back and take a quick break to refresh.
8. Airborne. Take it.