First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
pghpens
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:08 pm

First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by pghpens » Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:54 pm

Hello all,

I'm starting a new job in January that will require me travel during the week a significant amount of time. I'm very excited, but I've never traveled for a job before and I'm a little anxious about changing my lifestyle so much. It sounds like I will be flying out Sunday/Monday and staying until Friday every week.

I'm mainly concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling for work. I have a very good routine going now where I exercise and eat healthy, but I know from my expereince vacationing and visiting friends, I end up eating out every meal on the road and don't exercise much. I'm looking for tips on eating healthy breakfasts, packing lunches, and eating out with co-workers.

Also, just general advice about travelling for business, essentials to pack, and airplanes.

Thank you!

User avatar
Boglenaut
Posts: 3090
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:01 pm

Sign up for every frequent flyer program at airlines, hotels, etc. as you travel.

I never let it influence me much when deciding my flights/hotels, but the miles and points have a way of accumulating. Just don't treat them as cash in a bank -- programs often change and their value can go down >50% overnight... cash out for merchandise if you don't use them.

User avatar
Boglenaut
Posts: 3090
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:41 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Boglenaut » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:03 pm

By the way, I do not envy you. It will get old fast.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 18468
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:15 pm

Yes - frequent travel can be hazardous to health!

The good news is that, today, most hotels have reasonable (or even good) exercise facilities. Look for places that have exercise facilities with long hours (or around the clock).

Very easy to eat poorly! If it is your style/preference - perhaps take along whole grain cold cereal, healful snacks such as dried fruit and nuts, etc.

If you can sleep on planes - that is great. Unfortunately, I could almost never do that.

For two years, I worked for a company whose headquarters was on the opposite Coast (in Northern California). Several times a year, for various reasons, I had to be there for up to two weeks at a time and, for family reasons, needed/wanted to be back on Saturday - BUT could NOT leave until Friday evening. That meant the "Red eye", flying all night and getting home at dawn on Saturday. One thing that I figure out that made such al all night flight less unpleasant was that on Friday afternoon (late, when I could leave) I went to teh company gym facility, did a short exercise workout, showered, shaved, put on fresh, clean clothes - then went to the airport for the all night flight. MUCH less unpleasant.

You will probably have little choice or flexibility - but learn the "letter and spirit" of all the company rules on travel, expense reimbursement, etc. Your hotel preferences may be different (although costs may not be higher) than what others prefer - so try to do your own travel planning, reservations, etc. There are probably books and articles on how to eat healthy (or not so unhealthy) when traveling.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 18468
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:18 pm

Boglenaut wrote:By the way, I do not envy you. It will get old fast.
Today, travel (especially airline travel) is NO FUN!!!

You know you are "old" when you remember when flying was fun, no hassle, congenial and "flexible". The airline seats were spaced so that if you had the window seat, you could get out to go to the restroom without either climbing over the other passengers or have them get out of their seats.

User avatar
dm200
Posts: 18468
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 2:21 pm
Location: Washington DC area

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by dm200 » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:20 pm

dm200 wrote:
Boglenaut wrote:By the way, I do not envy you. It will get old fast.
Today, travel (especially airline travel) is NO FUN!!!

You know you are "old" when you remember when flying was fun, no hassle, congenial and "flexible". The airline seats were spaced so that if you had the window seat, you could get out to go to the restroom without either climbing over the other passengers or have them get out of their seats.
Then you have the comments from ignorant "friends" that your traveling on business is like a vacation every week. On occasion in the paast, the really rough weeks were when I would be working at one customer during the day - all day, fly to the next city/customer in the evening, get in late and have to spend an hour or two preparing for the next day, and repeat 3-4 times in a week.

livesoft
Posts: 62720
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by livesoft » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:29 pm

Most hotel rooms now have microwaves in them, so it is pretty easy to eat the 6-pack abs oatmeal breakfast even while traveling:
viewtopic.php?p=2242092#p2242092

I used tread mills regularly.

Also unlike some others, I would extend my stay either at the beginning or the end of a trip to go to a concert, play, museum, sporting event, or visit friends in the remote location.

When flying, I would not book the last flight of the day, but would book the next to last flight. That means that if I got bumped, I would get a voucher and take the last flight of the day. That is, I would volunteer to be bumped. I would not book early morning flights from airports that were typically fogged in.

Do not use cotton gym clothes/socks, but instead have things like Dri-fit that can be washed in the sink and hung to dry before morning.
Last edited by livesoft on Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

User avatar
blueblock
Posts: 864
Joined: Sun Oct 19, 2014 6:06 pm
Location: Wisconsin

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by blueblock » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:38 pm

pghpens wrote:Hello all, I'm mainly concerned about maintaining a healthy lifestyle while travelling for work. I have a very good routine going now where I exercise and eat healthy, but I know from my expereince vacationing and visiting friends, I end up eating out every meal on the road and don't exercise much.
It's actually easy, as I learned the hard way. 1.) do not succumb to unhealthy eating, and 2.) make exercise at your hotel a priority.

Example: I usually have an egg and toast, maybe a slice of bacon, for breakfast. Order that in a hotel and you'll get two eggs, three slices of bacon, toast and hash browns to boot. If you can't stop yourself from eating all that, then don't order it. Focus on sides: coffee, toast, an egg. The trick is in ordering the minimum that will satisfy you to until lunch.

Another example: if evenings are not your own, then set your alarm to get up early and hit the hotel gym. Yes, it sucks at first, but the good feeling you get from not lapsing into lethargy soon becomes the desired norm.

Traveling for work is not a holiday. It's work. Keep telling yourself that, and before long it will become your mantra.

Cwise
Posts: 18
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 11:51 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Cwise » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:41 pm

1. Bose QC25 - buy immediately.
2. Avoid airport food. Bring almonds, apples and carrot sticks.
3. If you frequent the same city then stay at the same hotel. The staff will get to know you and make sure you are taken care of. Be sure to take care of them as well - tip accordingly.
4. Pack light. Use duffle bag rather than rigid carry on suitcase. The duffle will fit easily in overhead bins. Never check your bag they will lose it at the worst time.
5. Rental car - Avis preferred.
6. TSA precheck or global entry.

I travel approximately 15 weeks a year. Tips 4-6 can save you 1.5 hours on travel days.

spectec
Posts: 1215
Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:00 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by spectec » Sat Dec 26, 2015 7:42 pm

1) Get Global Entry through TSA. That will qualify you for TSA Precheck most of the time domestically, plus it has great advantages if you ever travel out of the country. (You can qualify for TSA precheck only, but the cost for G/E is only about $15 more.)
2) Get Airline Club privileges if you're going to be spending a lot of time in airports. Hopefully your employer will pay for the membership for the airline you use the most. I was always self-employed and didn''t have to ask anyone for permission. But if I were working for a company which wouldn't spring for it, I would probably pay for it out of my own pocket anyhow.
3) Learn to check for bedbugs if you don't already know how to do that. Even very nice hotels will occasionally have a problem with this pest, so you need to be your first line of defense.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. - Will Rogers

GreenGrowTheDollars
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Dec 18, 2015 11:09 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by GreenGrowTheDollars » Sat Dec 26, 2015 8:47 pm

- Consider setting up a separate checking account for travel reimbursements, and seeding it with a starting amount. The last year I traveled heavily on business my travel expenses were very close to my annual salary. It was a huge help to keep those funds segregated, and to use a separate credit card for business travel. These days, I use YNAB, and it would handle that just fine, but unless you have a system, travel expenses and corresponding reimbursements will get out of control more quickly than you think it could.

- Make sure you understand your corporate policy for meals -- actual cost? per diem? per diem based on an amount that varies by city? Rules on tips?
I was on per diem most times, and saved a lot of that because I brought some inexpensive foods along.

-If you're staying in the same hotel several weeks running (coming home on weekends) you may be able to arrange to leave some luggage until your return.

-Make sure you know your corporate policy on rental cars -- are you supposed to elect the damage waiver? skip it? Supposed to rent certain classes of cars, or with preferred rental car companies?

-If you don't know how to use the flashlight function on your phone, figure it out. A godsend when you're trying to find some control on an unfamiliar rental car in the dark.

-Flyertalk is the go-to site to understand everything about frequent traveler programs and airline issues. The best.

Good luck --

Spirit Rider
Posts: 8718
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:39 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:01 pm

It is a good idea to fully read and understand what your company's specific travel policies are.

There really can be wide variety of polices, from the generous to the miserly, with bizarre rules sometime thrown in.

highdesert
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Nov 28, 2015 11:50 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by highdesert » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:12 pm

If your hotel breakfast options are limited, in a pinch you can make oatmeal using the hotel room coffee maker. If you have a fridge, you can do a soft-boiled egg the same way. This is much easier if you have nearby grocery options. A hotel continental breakfast will often include yogurt, and with oatmeal, eggs, and yogurt, you're off to a pretty good start.

For quality of life when you travel, good luggage and premium economy seats are worth every penny.

tibbitts
Posts: 8006
Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 6:50 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by tibbitts » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:26 pm

You may receive more useful replies if you can summarize some/most of the company travel policies that will apply to you. But generally I wouldn't be that excited about the prospect of frequent business travel - particularly airline travel.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 7497
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Dec 26, 2015 9:57 pm

Take every advantage of going to and being in new places and meeting new people.

Sorry, I meant to say take every available advantage.

Apologies again. Take every available advantage you can muster the energy for.

Also, you won't be allowed to stop doing all the things you're supposed to do when you're not on the road. You have to keep doing them, before, between, and after your meetings and sales and demonstrations and classes and negotiations. Transit time is yet another obligation. You're not an hourly employee. Travel is outside of working hours, because inside of working hours you're meant to be working on whatever it is you traveled for, plus outside of those hours working on whatever you'd do anyway wherever you are. The process of traveling doesn't replace your ordinary responsibilities. It's an addition.

If you want to go somewhere and experience it for real, schedule vacation time. If you want to experience the insides of hotel rooms (which are all almost entirely alike), the insides of taxis (which are all almost entirely alike), the insides of airplanes (which are all almost entirely alike), the insides of company cafeterias (which are all almost entirely alike), and the insides of conference rooms (which are all almost entirely alike), travel for business.

It can be rewarding, which is to say it can result in frequent flyer miles, and it can, depending on your company's reimbursement policies, be profitable, in the sense that if you have a $25 per diem but only eat $15 worth of food you might pocket the rest, and it can make a person feel powerful, or at least, arrogant (the road warriors, the appellation they often claim, regularly console themselves by looking down on those who do their work in the home office).

It's also a pain in the neck.

You have the right idea, about trying to maintain exercise and healthy eating, which you won't be able to do while awake because if you aren't honoring your customers by entertaining them, your customers will be honoring you by doing the same, and in any other awake minutes, when you're neither with your customers nor doing your normal day job that you still have to do, you and your remote-location colleagues will be busy honoring each other.

No matter how much your company is willing to reimburse you, on your fifth straight week on the road, to have somebody launder your socks, it will be inconvenient.

In this economy? Take the job. Seriously.

Best of luck to you.

PJW

User avatar
LiveSimple
Posts: 1067
Joined: Thu Jan 03, 2013 7:55 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by LiveSimple » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:32 pm

Depending, If the hotel has complimentary breakfast, and has the following go for Yogurt, fruits, salmon, eggs.
Avoid the sugary bakery items.

Eat salad for lunch.

Dinner is difficult, to eat healthy, even if you pick the healthiest options, it will add up. May be salads again ?

Skip a meal as well or eat a health snack, veggie \ fruits.

Fly the same airline, to get into their frequent flier programs, this will be helpful to get the emergency seats with with few inches extra leg room, board in early, etc.

If you pick Hertz, sign up for their Hertz Gold Plus, to reduce your checkout time, have more options, etc

User avatar
Kosmo
Posts: 1285
Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2012 11:54 am
Location: Philadelphia

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Kosmo » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:40 pm

From my experience it's difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling. Do you know your work schedule? If I'm traveling it's because I'm needed to work, so it's usually a 10-12 hr day. That doesn't lend itself to finding time to hit the gym or take time for a decent lunch. I've also had a surprising number of days where I had to arrive at work before the hotel sets out breakfast. Will you have the ability to cook in your hotel? If not, then it's eating out or microwave meals. Will there be coworkers traveling with you? If so, there's always pressure to join the crowd for a meal out.

Know the company travel and expense policies. You don't want to get in any hot water for missing something basic. Make sure you know how to fill out expense reports properly. Don't let them sit around for a while. Once I had my corporate card declined at a long term hotel because I was behind in filling out the reports and the travel management company was even more behind in paying them.

Company travel can be a financial gain, but it's far more an experiential gain. It does get old, especially if you spend a lot of time actually traveling (in a car, on a plane, waiting in the airport, etc.). But unless it's the same location over and over again, there's always a bit a newness to every trip.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14135
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Watty » Sat Dec 26, 2015 10:50 pm

A few idea more from vacation travel than business travel.

Many restaurants have their nutritional information on-line. When possible look at these before you go out to pick something relatively healthy to eat. Many restaurant salads are actually not very healthy since they have so junk added to them.

When you return from a trip look through your things to see what you took but did not need, then consider if you really need to take it the next time.

If you live in house with the mailbox on the curb then consider getting a large locking mailbox that can hold a weeks worth of mail.

If you do things like your own yard work then you may need to hire a landscaping service.

Spirit Rider
Posts: 8718
Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 2:39 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Spirit Rider » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:20 pm

Phineas J. Whoopee wrote:Also, you won't be allowed to stop doing all the things you're supposed to do when you're not on the road. You have to keep doing them, before, between, and after your meetings and sales and demonstrations and classes and negotiations. Transit time is yet another obligation. You're not an hourly employee. Travel is outside of working hours, because inside of working hours you're meant to be working on whatever it is you traveled for, plus outside of those hours working on whatever you'd do anyway wherever you are. The process of traveling doesn't replace your ordinary responsibilities. It's an addition.
This again is entirely dependent on the company you work for.

I have worked for companies that consider you a salary slave and expect exactly what you describe. One even required you to turnover all frequent flyer miles.

On the other hand, the last company I worked for treated you with dignity and respect. You were absolutely allowed to travel during business hours and if it became necessary to travel outside business hours, you would receive comp time later. When travelling significantly you were expected to focus on those responsibilities and other workloads were shared.

User avatar
Phineas J. Whoopee
Posts: 7497
Joined: Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:18 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Phineas J. Whoopee » Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:45 pm

Sure.

Maybe OP's new employer is enlightened. Maybe OP's job is defined as on-the-road-only. Maybe OP's new employer won't reveal contrary expectations during OP's presumable probationary period.

The employer I'm recalling was moderately enlightened. The position I held was managerial and results only, with no consideration of effort except that the middle manager said s/he wanted to see lots of effort. It's entirely possible that job was exploitative.

It's entirely possible I'm doing nothing more than expressing bitterness.

It's also entirely possible OP won't be in the equivalent of your recent respectful relationship and won't have been hired based on unique personal characteristics and established relationships which can't reasonably be replaced. They can be lived without, of course, but not replaced.

OP: Let's hope, or not hope, with or without Spirit Rider, because I'm not sure which it is, that you are or aren't a readily replaceable standardized part. The more you aren't the more your experience is likely to resemble mine. The more you are the less valuable your individual presence to your new employer.

I wasn't trying to prepare you for the easiest possible outcome. You can envision that sort of result for yourself.

PJW
Last edited by Phineas J. Whoopee on Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Zendelta
Posts: 77
Joined: Sun Nov 15, 2015 2:12 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Zendelta » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:28 am

Congrats on the new job.

Will your travel be pirmarily domestic or a mix of international?

Great advice given above; I'll add a few more:

1. Start getting REALLY protective of your downtime. You will get to a point where all you want to do in your free time is "not travel."
2. Global entry includes TSA precheck so is better value for international travel. Be prepared for the wait for your appt though.
3. Educate yourself on loyalty programs... Flyertalk is a great place to start. The space is changing rapidly, but generally you will end up with the carrier whose hub you fly out of most often.
4. Be allergic to checking bags. If you have to, make sure you have a full suit (or whatever you wear for work) plus essentials and all valuables with you in your carryon pieces. Going home is less of a concern but you don't want to be scrambling for clothes before an important meeting.
5. Get 4 wheeled carryon luggage that you can easily carry up/down stairs. saves a lot of stress on the joints if you can pack light. It is critical to get the size right if you do international travel outside major hubs-- the carryon size is smaller than US. If you are going to smaller airports domestically the overhead space can also be limited. Seatguru has common planes for your route and is a good resource. Briggs and Riley has the best warranty but there are plenty of good choices at every price point.
6. Vibram fivefingers for exercise shoes, hands down. They are funny-looking but very lightweight and take up minimal space. Second the PP on dri-fit exercise clothes, you can even get them at Target. Very easy to rinse/dry in hotel.
7. Bose QC25s. Keep spare earplugs in the case too.
8. Hydration is a key part of your diet and wellbeing too. Get more water than you think you'll need. Starbucks is a pretty consistent place for fresh or dried fruit, nuts, or their healthy snack boxes. Find a grocery or convenience store near your hotel when you can-- it's amazing what having water and healthy snacks can do for you.
9. Sleep - If you are traveling domestically all the time, I've found it helps to stay on the easternmost timezone consistently. Try to wake up, snack, etc. at a similar time each day regardless of the actual timezone. For international, I like to try and get on the destination timezone as soon as I board. Ie if you board at 2pm local which is 5am destination, try not to eat a super heavy dinner with lots of alcohol 2 hrs into the flight-- eat light and then try to stay up until a reasonable destination hour.
10. Alcohol and caffeine are not your friends on flights. Try to limit as much as possible. Socially esp with clients this can be awkward if the culture is drinks-heavy, but you can drink soda/tonic with lime, tell them you are on a cleanse/diet with no alcohol, or just say you don't drink (much) when you travel.
11. Prepare to get sick a lot more. Bring wipes and wipe down the tray table, armrests, seatbelt buckle, light switch, AC nozzle when you get on board. Don't drink or brush your teeth with airplane water-- bottled only.
12. Invest in clothes that travel well. Nobody wants to spend time ironing, especially not on the road. Theory is my go-to brand for workwear. Get a seasonless wool blend, no high percentage linen or cotton which tend to wrinkle. Learn to pack by rolling your clothes.
13. Key apps - flightview, seatguru, uber/lyft, tripit, the apps for the loyalty programs you use the most, weather.
14. Expense as you go - genius scan or any number of free pdf apps (or even just photos) are a huge help. Do not count on being able to keep track of all your paper receipts.
15. Hotel toiletries are terrible. I suggest getting a really nice moisturizing bar soap, solid lotion bar, stick sunscreen. Coconut oil and shea butter are also generally solid at room temp so don't have to go in your liquids bag. It makes a world of difference to your skin/hair.
16. Stay the course - you will find your own rhythm and routine that works for you. Once you have, try to stick to it as much as possible to simplify your decision-making.

Bon voyage!

Magruder
Posts: 80
Joined: Sun Mar 04, 2007 1:30 am
Location: White Mtns of NH

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Magruder » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:58 am

Never use your home address when checking in at hotels; use your office address instead!

JeffAL
Posts: 137
Joined: Sat Dec 05, 2009 7:32 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by JeffAL » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:59 am

Have a completely separate set of toiletries for travel. That way you won't forget something.

Earplugs.

I traveled pre-smartphone so would buy The Economist when I first got to the airport. So much reading material in one issue...

jlawrence01
Posts: 1407
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by jlawrence01 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:11 am

pghpens wrote:Hello all,

I'm starting a new job in January that will require me travel during the week a significant amount of time. I'm very excited, but I've never traveled for a job before and I'm a little anxious about changing my lifestyle so much. It sounds like I will be flying out Sunday/Monday and staying until Friday every week.

When I left graduate school, I had an 80-90% travel job for four years. I would say that I was averaging between 200-220 nights in hotels during that period. You have received a lot of good ideas and I agree with most of them.

First, if you have an opportunity to make your own arrangements and you travel alone, you have it pretty good. That allows you to choose which airlines, car rental agencies, and hotel chains that you prefer. The worst situation is when you travel as part of a team where your supervisor makes all of the arrangements. I had one month where the supervisor had us all eating at Olive Gardens 3x EVERY week.

Second, NEVER plan a date or a family event on a day when you are flying home. I did that TWICE in two years and BOTH times the flight was delayed to the point where I had to cancel.

Third, find a hotel chain where you get what you need to stay healthy. Personally, i would rather stay in midrange properties with microwaves and refrigerators than the "full service" properties that nickel and dime you to death.

Fourth, even if you employer is generous with travel costs, they do notice how you manage your travel expenses. Don't let your spending appear outrageous to your supervisor and his.

Fifth, some of the healthiest eating in many areas are the local supermarkets. I would often by my dinner at a Wegman's or a HyVee as well as the next day's lunch. The food was better than heading to restaurants.

Sixth, I always tried to find some pleasure while on the road. that might include seeing some of the local sights after work or attending a local sporting event. It made the travel more tolerable.

As for travel being all that great 20-25 years ago, I do NOT remember it. Sure, you got meals ... with a 3 oz overcooked chicken breast with mystery sauce and the like or some inedible manicotti.

Mudpuppy
Posts: 5889
Joined: Sat Aug 27, 2011 2:26 am
Location: Sunny California

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Mudpuppy » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:23 am

My work requires actual receipts and will only grudgingly accept pictures or scans of receipts, so I have a large envelope in my laptop bag where I place all paper receipts. It keeps them all in one location and tidy. This seems to be appreciated by our travel claims people, as compared to co-workers who turn in crumpled or torn receipts.

I also take the time to visit the hotel fitness center as much as I can, even if it's only to get 20 minutes in on the treadmill at 10pm before heading to bed. I also walk as much as is reasonable and limit the snacking while traveling, which seems to help keep my weight in check.
Zendelta wrote:6. Vibram fivefingers for exercise shoes, hands down. They are funny-looking but very lightweight and take up minimal space. Second the PP on dri-fit exercise clothes, you can even get them at Target. Very easy to rinse/dry in hotel.
I never could get into the five-finger shoe trend, but I do have the Body Glove Classic Water shoe for women. This shoe has a flat sole and minimal liner like the five-finger shoe, but is a canvas shoe with no separate toe compartments. It doesn't look like they make those anymore though, which is a shame.

stlutz
Posts: 4752
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2009 1:08 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by stlutz » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:28 am

I travel to NYC now and then for work and always try to walk places as much as possible vs. using the taxi or subway. That really helps keep me active.

Saving$
Posts: 1617
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2011 8:33 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Saving$ » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:37 am

The advice you have received is great.
One critical piece of advice is missing, so I hope it's not disallowed. Get on over to flyertalk.com and get an account. It is the Bogleheads.org of travel.
The second is to have an exit plan - start making contacts so that when you can't travel any more, you know what the next job is.

carolinaman
Posts: 3252
Joined: Wed Dec 28, 2011 9:56 am
Location: North Carolina

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by carolinaman » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:28 am

You have received some great advice by some true road warriors. Your concern about exercise and healthy eating while traveling is well placed. This is very doable if you are disciplined and follow the tips mentioned previously. I try to exercise every day which can be difficult if you spend the day flying to or from your destination. I used to walk the airport concourses while waiting for my flight or connections, often getting in 2 or 3 miles of walking. Also, I would use the hotel gym facilities or find a jogging/walking trail nearby. I do not like to exercise early in morning but this is often the best time when you are traveling because you have more control of your schedule then.

The thing I hated most was flying into a city and meeting with clients for a late dinner. There is a tendency to eat and drink too much and not get a good nights sleep. I tried to avoid these when possible but if you cannot avoid it, try to drink little or no alcohol and eat light.

When I traveled, my regular office work did not stop. So I tried to do as much of this as possible while traveling. I tried to preserve my time at home for family and personal time. It is tough being away from family while on the road, so I wanted to preserve as much time as I could for my family when I got back from my trip. On long flights, I spent most of my time doing work which made the best use of unpleasant airplane travel.

ControlContentment
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:15 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by ControlContentment » Sun Dec 27, 2015 7:39 am

Keys:

DO SOMETHING EVERY WEEK that is unique or special about your destination. DO NOT simply live in the bubble of airports, hotels, and conference rooms!!!!!!!!

- learn to pack for a week into a carry on bag + personal bag
- purchase a Water bottle with a filter
- use Yelp to find health eats
- get into a routine around using the hotel gyms
- learn to meditate (helps a ton on planes)
- join Marriot rewards and stay at courtyard Marriott... Best reward program and very solid hotels
- download the Ted Talks app and learn constantly outside of your profession
- figure out your company policy on expense reimbursements. If it's a per diem, try to eat cheap and healthy and pocket the remainder. If it's direct, eat well
- get the Uber app. Learn to love it.
- join a rental car rewards program
- join airline rewards program, learn the hubs you will be traveling through and join those. (Delta for ATL, AA for DAL, United EWR, US Air Charlotte etc)
- follow some mileage rewards blogs (get status fast)
- know when to say when to get off the road

BigSaver
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:31 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by BigSaver » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:00 am

I had a job that required extensive travel. Here are my tips:
- Eat a green salad for either lunch or dinner. Some meat on top is OK, but eat a good amount of healthy greens or vegetables for 1 of those 2 meals. Every day.
- Eat a healthy breakfast: with good amounts of protein & fiber, and a piece of fruit.
- Walk a lot. You'll probably find you do this anyway. It's tough to pack gym clothes plus all your other clothes into a carry-on, so give yourself a break and walk instead.
- Take a multivitamin - ask your doctor for recommendations. Travelling is stressful and your diet on travel days will often be poor. Centrum is well-tested and well-regarded. Put 1-2 weeks worth in a plastic ziploc bag for easy packing.
- Pack earplugs if you are a light sleeper. They help to soften noise at night and let you sleep.
- Pack an extra pair of socks to wear as slippers in your hotel room. (More sanitary than walking around barefoot.)
- Use web bill pay through your bank. Free yourself from most paper bills. Save your free-time for fun stuff and errands on the weekends.
- Notice which cities you enjoy visiting: nice people, happy people. In case some day you want to move.
- Enroll in frequent traveler programs. The points add up and are a great perk.
- Sign up for airline credit cards, as they often give you bonus points and priority boarding. Priority boarding = overhead space for your carryon!
- When flights are cancelled during very busy times, there are long lines at ticket counters & gates. Try calling the airline to rebook, or go to the gate where the flight you want is scheduled to take off. The gate agents can often accommodate you on the spot.
- On the financial side of things, be prepared to pay state income tax in every/any state you work. Your employer should help with this by letting you adjust your withholding to multiple states throughout the year. Inquire as to whether your employer will pay to have your taxes done, since they will be more complex as a result of travelling. Your home state income tax will be lower as a result, but the overall state income tax burden may be higher, depending on which states you work in. Some neighboring states have reciprocity agreements.

livesoft
Posts: 62720
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:07 am

BigSaver wrote:- When flights are cancelled during very busy times, there are long lines at ticket counters & gates. Try calling the airline to rebook, or go to the gate where the flight you want is scheduled to take off. The gate agents can often accommodate you on the spot.
I always found it faster to call my corporate travel agent when flights were messed up. She would get my flights straightened out before I could walk away from the gate. Plus no waiting in lines.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

quantAndHold
Posts: 1780
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by quantAndHold » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:28 am

Some great advice on this thread that I won't repeat.

Get a gym membership. When I was a road warrior, I had a nationwide 24 Hour Fitness membership. It was cheap, they were ubiquitous, it was better than trying to figure out how to get a good workout in some cheesy hotel fitness center, and it forced me to get out of the hotel and see at least a tiny bit of the place I was in.

jcar
Posts: 165
Joined: Fri Jul 03, 2015 9:41 pm
Location: NC

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by jcar » Sun Dec 27, 2015 11:35 am

I spend about 100 nights per year on business travel. Have done this for pushing 40 years now. Great advice given above. I think you will find much of what you seek will be dictated by your particular travel policy. Understand it well. I have been fortunate to always have a very liberal policy to work within. Take advantage of airline clubs and the hotel frequent flyer programs. Enjoy the experience.

User avatar
Watty
Posts: 14135
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by Watty » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:02 pm

One more tip on eating out. It can be high in sodium but but you can usually find relatively healthy food at Chinese(or other oriental) restaurants. You would of want to avoid the fried foods and too many noodles but they will often have some good choices with lots of vegetables and little or no meat.

pghpens
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:08 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by pghpens » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:10 pm

Wow thank you all so much for sharing your experiences and the advice! I will definitely check out flyertalk for some more suggestions.

A little background on me and the position: I will be working for a big 4 accounting firm and I'm currently 24 and single so no major responsibilities/obligations back home. Therefore, I'm excited to travel and break the routine of going into the same office every day. I have not gone through orientation yet but I'm sure the travel policies will be covered in depth there. They provided me with an American Express Corporate Green Card to pay for business expenses and I only need to provide receipts for expenses over $75. They say all meals, travel, lodging, etc. on the road are reimbursed but I don't know if there's a limit per meal.

It sounds like some posters have not had positive experiences travelling for work and I'm afraid of the hassle. The firm I'm working for seems pretty receptive to listening to my preferences as far as how much travel I would like to do so if I really hated it I could probably get placed on jobs closer to home.

tim1999
Posts: 3484
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by tim1999 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:38 pm

Some of my personal tips:

-At least a one hour layover minimum on connecting flights. Avoid connecting through snowy cities during the winter.
-Use a duffel bag instead of a hard sided suitcase. Easier to squeeze into an overhead bin. Gate check it on regional jets/props (this is where you leave it at the end of the boarding bridge, not check it at the ticket counter before security) but don't check it on mainline planes.
-Never book the last flight of the evening.
-If you have a connecting flight, on the first flight, try to sit as near the front of the plane as you can. Nothing worse than being stuck in the last rows of a 757 or stretched 737 on a tight connection, it takes forever to unload the longer planes.
-Pack clothing that is less prone to wrinkling or that easily/quickly irons. During the winter I like to wear wool sweaters over old dress shirts, the sweater doesn't really wrinkle when in the luggage, and you don't have to worry about ironing the shirt underneath it. During the summer I pack synthetic material golf shirts that tend to not get as wrinkled, compared to cotton. Pack one pair of shoes for the office that go with all of the outfits you bring. Pack your gym shoes as well.
-I personally prefer on trips like you are describing to arrive in town Sunday evening rather than wake up at 3:30am for the first flight of the day, and end up being tired the rest of the day.
-Use yelp, etc. to find upscale restaurants that suit your taste that you might not otherwise want to pay up for on your own dime. When the company is paying, I usually have a cheap breakfast, cheap lunch, and an expensive dinner. We don't have a set limit on daily meals, but I don't think anyone would say anything unless you are spending more than $100 a day on restaurants.
-Avoid eating the donuts, sticky buns, cinnamon buns, sausage patties, etc. from the hotel breakfast buffet.
-When you arrive in town, go to a grocery store and stock up on healthier foods you can use for breakfast, make sandwiches for lunch, etc. Pick a hotel that has a refrigerator in each room.
-Pick one hotel chain, sign up for the loyalty program, always stay at that chain.
-At my company it is common culture for the local employee who spends a lot of time with the out of town visitor to offer to take him/her out to dinner on the company dime. You'd be getting a paid meal anyway, but it's a good opportunity to discuss work things in a more relaxed setting outside of the office, to get the "inside" story on things that can't be discussed in the office, etc.
-Use a rental car company that lets you choose the exact car instead of sticking you with one. Try different ones for variety/fun if you like cars. Avoid higher mileage ones if you can, they often have messed up alignment, vibrations, stained seats, etc. Sign up for the loyalty program.
-Don't forget to bring chargers for your tablet, laptop, phone, etc.
-Consider Uber, etc. as an alternative to leaving your car parked at the airport all week if you live fairly close to the airport. I'm a car guy and I don't like my cars sitting out in a parking lot, the worst is during the winter when I have to spend time cleaning off snow and ice when I just want to go home.
-I try to relax on the plane and read a book instead of trying to do work. I don't want to be one of those salesman types who is always yaking on his cell phone until the plane is ready to push from the gate.

I'll probably think of more later.

tim1999
Posts: 3484
Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 7:16 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by tim1999 » Sun Dec 27, 2015 12:54 pm

I'll add one other thing. Where I work we have these auditors/"consultants" that come in from Deloitte and work on whatever it is that they work on for months at a time. Their desks are right in the middle of where ours are. Most of them are in their 20s/30s. They keep to themselves, make no attempt to meet our people, do not assimilate to the office culture, are often rude and won't even say hello to our people or hold a door for them, etc. Then they come to us and ask for information/help on things. Based on the way they conduct themselves, helping them is at the bottom of my priority list. One even asked one of our Senior VP's if she could fix the copier for him, not knowing who she was, probably thinking she was an admin assistant.

Don't be like that.

BigSaver
Posts: 139
Joined: Mon Apr 20, 2015 7:31 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by BigSaver » Sun Dec 27, 2015 1:42 pm

livesoft wrote: I always found it faster to call my corporate travel agent when flights were messed up. She would get my flights straightened out before I could walk away from the gate. Plus no waiting in lines.
It depends on the reason for the flight cancellation, and the terms of the ticket. In some situations, travel agents can't change the ticket without incurring a change fee; only the airline can. The airline will rebook you for free if you follow their instruction & get in the (sometimes) long line. Or, you can find the next best flight on that airline and head for the gate. Gate agents want to fill the flight and will give a seat to the person standing in front of them. Think: thunderstorms Friday afternoon before 4th of July weekend. Airlines are busy rebooking thousands of customers. A travel agent will get you on a later flight (maybe, if they're not all booked up), but you might be able to get on the next flight if you run to that gate and talk to that gate agent.

profnot
Posts: 86
Joined: Sat May 02, 2015 2:37 am

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by profnot » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:09 pm

As others have posted, register at www.FlyerTalk.com and use SeatGuru.com

Build up your mileage and hotel points with future vacations in mind. Learn which domestic airlines and hotels have partner deals with your future vacation choices.

Your wallet should have an RFID blocker to protect your credit card and ID info from being lifted by someone with a little machine in their backpack standing near you in line, on escalator, etc.

As others have said, always carry on your bags. If you have lots of paper that won't fit, send it ahead FedEx.

Great thread so thanks, OP!

livesoft
Posts: 62720
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2007 8:00 pm

Re: First Time Travelling for Work- Looking for Tips/Advice/Suggestions

Post by livesoft » Sun Dec 27, 2015 2:15 pm

Make sure your company provides you with a smartphone.
Wiki This signature message sponsored by sscritic: Learn to fish.

Post Reply