As a little girl, I dreamed of traveling to far away places to meet new people and see new things. I made that dream come true for the first time in college, when I not only set foot on an airplane for the first time…I made my first flight an international flight to Paris for a summer study abroad class in Franco-American relations. While I was in college my father also had a job where he traveled across the country on a fairly regular basis. He always sent us souvenirs of the places he went, and I was rather envious of his travels.
Now, I travel both locally and across the country for my job on a semi-regular basis. As such I’ve gotten to be a bit of a travel pro. I’ve got another trip coming up so I thought I’d share some do’s and don’ts of traveling for work.
Do: Pack Intelligently
This is code for Don’t-Over-Fill-A-Huge-Suitcase-With-Useless-Crap-You-Won’t-Use. I started out as a major over-packer; filling up a huge suitcase so full you have to jump on it to get it closed. But after several trips (and huge knots in my shoulders!) I’ve gotten wiser and now fit everything I need in a carry-on sized bag. It’s easier to drag around, especially since I’ll also have a purse and laptop bag with me as well. Need some inspiration? Search Pintrest for Capsule Wardrobe.
Don’t: Arrive at the Airport wearing riding boots
You won’t believe how many times I’ve seen this…and been stuck behind these girls in the security line. Anyone who has ever flow before knows the drill…the shoes come off for the security check. I don’t care how cute you look in your leggings, boot socks and riding boots with all the zippers and buckles and bling. What I do care about is making my flight on time, which cannot happen if I’m waiting 10 minutes for you to get out of the damn boots before going through security.
Do: Arrive extra early for Monday & Friday morning flights
I learned this one the hard way after nearly missing my flight home from the Minneapolis/St. Paul airport not too long ago. 90 minutes before boarding time may be enough on other days, but it’s no where near enough on those days. Unless you are a TSA Pre-Board, you’ll spend nearly all of that time just trying to get through security.
Don’t: Choose open seating flights
Until recently, I didn’t realize that some carriers *cough Southwest cough* have a no-assigned seating option. This is a horrible idea; early group passengers pick the seats in front first, making it harder for those in the later boarding groups to board. And it doesn’t matter how many times flight attendants remind passengers to fill up the rows completely; people will always pick the aisle and window seats first, leaving only middle seats open.
Do: Leave yourself rest time
Not only between flights (I always choose at least 90 minute layovers to rest and prevent missing connections), but while you are away as well. Being away from home is tiring, working in unfamiliar environments is stressful and eating healthy while traveling is near impossible. You may be somewhere awesome, but don’t plan a bunch of evening activities after work is done. You’ll need rest time to de-compress and prevent stress from building up.
I love traveling, but even at its best it is stressful. These are just a few ways I’ve reduced the stress on my trips. I hope you find these tips useful!