I had one of my killer day-trips to LA yesterday. The trips last from 6 AM (an early flight) till sometime around midnight, when normally, I slip my key into my front door and stagger, saggy kneed and bleary like a drunken old man, into my bed.
Most normal business women would stay the night in LA, of course, it’s a two hour flight from here and it’s semi absurd to pack in four meetings and traffic in one day. But for me, it’s necessary. I need to get home for my son. Bonus: it saves my company hotel fees! And, it provides Grandparents with a little extra Nolan time.
It normally kills me dead, trashes my body and messes with my sleep patterns. But last night, though I arrived home from the airport at around 1:00, I slept like a baby and felt fine all day today. And I think it’s because, after nearly two dozen trips this year, I am starting to get organized on the business trip front. It’s about time, I know.
Here are my top 5 trips for a smooth, frazzle-free business trip.
I used to consult Google maps the night before I left for LA or Seattle, plotting my meetings and drive times and then dutifully printing them off and stuffing them into my laptop bag. Invariably, they’d become wrinkled, and I’d be sitting in crawling traffic on the LA freeway, searching frantically through my bag, in near tears because ohmygod, did I forget the directions to Santa Monica from Culver City? I did! Now I write the directions in my iCal (you can use Outlook or whatever calendar you choose) and synch my iCal with my Blackberry (PocketMac is awesome and free) Directions, phone numbers, everything — is now stored in one device that’s always with me.
Get that Executive Car Rental Membership
I used to wait in ridiculous, 45-minute lineups at LAX. I hopefully switched vendors: AVIS? No. Would Hertz have a shorter line than Dollar? Never. Last month, I was standing in the Dollar car rental lineup, 30 people ahead of me, sweating and wondering if I’d be late for my 10:00 — when I noticed a sharp-dressed business man head purposefully toward a shiny blank back counter. The executive counter. Investigation back at home revealed that there is no cost to executive membership: you simply sign up online and weeks later, get a card in the mail. And never have to wait in line for your car rental again.
Bring a Power Bar
I never have time to stop anywhere during my day meetings: it’s meeting to meeting. But my brain starts to work less efficiently without food, and so I’ve recently learned to pack a power bar in my lunch, bringing it all the way from home and munching it gratefully in one bite sometime between my 2:00 and 3:00 meetings. It makes all the difference. This one is particularly delicious.
Carry a pair of stretchy flats
For the airport, for running after planes, for your tired, tender, blistered high heel feet. My favorite are the kind I can scrunch up in my purse. These have saved me so many times.
Spring for the Leg Room
It was $ 49.00 for extra room on the two hour flight home last night, and I know the economy is suffering and I know it’s a luxury but I am six feet tall and you know what: I hadn’t eaten all day. I needed a little luxury after all that running, talking, and hobnobbing and the fact that my knees weren’t bumping against the seat in front of me for two hours make every penny totally worthwhile.
What’s your best business trip tip? I could always use more.