For my new job, I have to travel. This is entirely new to me. The extent of my travel for previous jobs: attend workshops or conferences every two years or so for professional development. Now I’ll be hitting up at least half a dozen trade shows a year, not to mention visiting some of our other corporate offices. I’m quickly learning how to become a more efficient traveler, without sacrificing style and comfort. What I’ve learned so far:
Double-bag: The TSA only lets you bring two bags on the plane with you–your carry-on and a personal item. So if you’re travelling for business and need a laptop, files, and that sort of thing, you bring your work bag. Which means if you want a purse, it needs to go inside your carry-on or that work bag. And what gal doesn’t want a purse? I am NOT lugging my whole huge work bag out to dinner, and I’m not stuffing my credit cards, lipstick, compact and rental car keys into my pockets (assuming I even have pockets). Pocket-stuffing ruins the silhouette of your outfit, and it’s downright uncomfortable. The solution: a cute little bag that easily fits inside my work bag. Think big enough for cash, cards, keys, phone, lipstick and nothing else. OK, maybe a pen and some business cards. Smaller is better.
App-etizing: I am making my phone do EVERYTHING. No need for a GPS. I have Google maps. No need to save all my receipts, I have an app that lets me take pictures and add them to a PDF for my expense report. No need to print my itinerary/confirmation and all that stuff, because it’s saved in my calendar and in the travel booking app on my phone. And my charger fits in the giant work bag, so the phone is in no danger of dying. Plus I have the locate my iPhone app, just in case I misplace the thing I’m now entirely dependent upon.
Multi-tasking: I broke down and bought an iPad so that I can actually work from the tradeshow booth in the limited amount of space there. While we have a great set-up, there’s not a whole lot of surface space. Which means nowhere to put my laptop. That drove me crazy during the trade show sessions when no one was in the exhibit hall and I had 90 minutes or so when I could have written something, built a landing page, or done other work that would have helped me stay on track during the show.
Multi-tasking isn’t just for me. I pack items that serve more than one purpose–shampoo and conditioner in one. BB cream instead of moisturizer and foundation. A scarf, which doubles as a pillow/ throw on the plane in case it’s freezing. I try to pack versatile clothes as well–pieces that layer comfortably and work for a variety of settings. On my last trip, I wore the fantastic Heartbreaker Haute Milan Dress with a blazer during the day at the trade show booth and took the blazer off for the more formal cocktail reception and dinner. (I got a ton of compliments on the dress, too. Super-comfortable, great fabric, and I felt like a knockout. If I had the money, I’d buy it in every color without hesitation.)
The thing I need to get a better handle on: shoes. I’m a shoe-loving gal. Especially heels. Heels aren’t great for trade shows. Especially the same pair multiple days in a row. I need to find some magic trade show shoes that look great and won’t kill my feet after standing for 12 hours 3 days straight. And that’s not just an excuse to go shoe-shopping.