So, today, I started the first leg of a very rare out of state business trip for a program I’m backfilling while its assigned analyst is on maternity leave. No problem. I’ve done business travel before. I mean, heck, before I became mommy and wife, I was traveling (at one point) 3 weeks out of the month. I had points for every airline, well over 40-50k worth of hotel points for most business hotel chains, and some of the chains even remembered me and my preferences–placing me in the same room with the same perks just because they remembered them. (And this was before the days of electronic preferences). But eventually, I found myself getting bored with that life.
I had a scrapbook full of hotel card keys (before they charged you if you took them) and photos of all of these great places, but I didn’t have a personal life. Shoot, my personal life was work. My friends and family no longer started phone conversations with “Hello”, but with “what state are you in today?”. They thought it was fun and glamorous. For a while, I did too, but about the same time I discovered I was pregnant with Superbug was the same time that I realized that a life on the road by myself wasn’t exactly what I was looking forward to for the rest of my life. So shortly after his arrival came a company personnel change. I found myself off my contract and taking a job that involved minimal travel. I haven’t been on a business trip beyond a day trip in eons. That never bothered me. I just figured that portion of life wouldn’t be happening anytime soon…until this week. My goodness…things have certainly changed.
First, let me be clear. I am no longer the completely laid back, easy going, vibrant and wide eyed 20-something that traveled three weeks out of the month. That little girl loved layovers and delays because they gave her time to explore. This thirty-five year old woman prefers flights that have a 90%+ departure/arrival on time rate and minimal conversation.
So imagine my joy to discover my flight to Charleston, SC was nonstop and required no shuttling to rental car locations because it was right below the main terminal. LOVE LIFE! Then, imagine my amusement to find out the entire rental car location was empty of cars except two–a minivan and an SUV. Can you guess what I chose? LOL
|HUGE vehicle, but I enjoyed driving her|
After getting the vehicle and locating our hotel, I found another thing had changed in this age of hackers and technology. With my current company, travel arrangements (hotel and airfare) are made and paid for by the company executive team. This means no corporate credit card, just authorization documentation from the company that must be faxed since credit card information is not allowed to be exchanged via email. Well, the company had sent the information, but it wasn’t received in the proper format. No harm, no foul. I was able to get the company to re-fax the information, but it was still an interesting experience from how things used to be. It got me wondering about things that I would suggest for a week long business trip (for parents).
|A beautiful hotel|
1. If you can make it with a carry-on, do so. I’m a fan of Cetaphil moisturizer. It’s become more of a necessity than a luxury. Because I couldn’t find the travel sized containers, I had to take the big jar. Hence the check on for me. It helps to move in and out of the airport with less as opposed to more.
2. Make the most of technology. I miss my Superbug and my Honeybee with all that is in me. I also miss my FatherWinter. I am very thankful for the invention of FaceTime. Tonight, I got to see my daughter sitting on her potty for the first time. I got to give her kisses and smiles through the telephone. My Superbug is having an amazing time with his paternal family. Technology allows him to share that with me. I’ve been taking some amazing pictures and enjoying the ability to share them with family and friends.
3. When there is down time available, take it. I’ve never been to Charleston. I was able to see a small part of it today and I was struck by its beauty and the irony of its past and recent events combined. I was so thankful to be able to be a part of today
4. When at the hotel, verify that you aren’t in the flight path or in earshot of the plane. It’s 10:21 p m. The jets flying over this hotel are so loud. It’s going to be an interesting night.
I plan on sharing some of my down time sights with you in a future blog post. Hopefully, you will enjoy them as much as I do.