Become a Road Warrior
This week as I left for the airport, I decided I would write about what I know best – traveling. Saying I travel a lot, might even be an understatement. On average, I try to spend at least two weeks a month actually living in my Minneapolis-based apartment – sometimes that’s easier said then done.
People often ask, “don’t you get homesick?” They often say “Oh, I could never do that.” Then I get the college senior that says to me – “I want to a career where I can travel all the time.” Well, that college senior was me about a year ago.
Now I have many “homes” when I’m away from my actual home. I manage the marketing for much of the Midwest territory for my company, mainly compromised of the Minneapolis Area, all of South Dakota, and all of Nebraska – I’ve learned that’s a large chunk of land.
I have spent time working on the marketing for a store opening in Kentucky, I have previously managed the Wisconsin and Iowa territories as well – it’s safe to say, I’ve been well-traveled throughout the Midwest throughout the past 6 months of my “first real job.”
My madness for my love of travel works well with my love for meeting new people. I enjoy learning from them.
So How do I do it?
Here are my five tips for becoming a travel savvy professional.
- Don’t just meet people to meet people, leave your mark – be personable. Throughout the time I’ve traveled, I learned people will make your experience great as long as you let them. I spend most of my time traveling to the same cities for work so I make sure that I meet people and become personable. For example, every time I travel to Lincoln, NE I have this one Caribou Coffee that I stop at every morning that I’m in town. Each morning, I am greeted by the same, friendly lady – she asks me about my job, how long I’m in town, and makes my experience in that city a little better each time. She cares because I initiated our first experience in a personable way, now each time I visit, she is excited to hear where I have been and what I have seen. Don’t just “be,” make an impression on people.
- Stay at the same hotels whenever you travel. This is easier said than done and only works if you travel to the same places on a regular basis. I am lucky because I usually go to the same cities whenever I travel but this isn’t the case for everyone. I always stay at the same hotels when I visit Nebraska and South Dakota. By now each time I arrive at a specific hotel, the staff knows me – I don’t even have to tell them my name when I check in. I stay at places I am familiar with, places that treat me well, and by seeing those familiar faces each time, it feel like home. That’s how to eliminate “homesick factor.”
- Travel light. Being a woman, I can definitely tell you this is not an easy task at all. I always want to take more than I need when I am gone for weeks at a time. After traveling on a consistent basis, I have packing for work down to a science. Realistically, you really only need to pack enough work clothes for the week and work-out clothing – you are traveling for business, not leisure, so I never pack “extra clothing” just in case. Always remember, hotels have washing machines and if you forget toiletries most hotels provide them, or you can usually find easy access to a Walgreens to purchase them.
- Work -out to stay focused. It doesn’t matter whether you walk on the treadmill for 30 minutes or take a walk around the park –you just need to do it. Working out on the road helps you stay focused, it gives you time away from work –which is hard to do when you are away from home. When I travel, I often spend the night working, whether it’s answering emails or working on marketing plans. When I’m home in Minneapolis, I often spend my nights relaxing. Working out helps to keep you focused and in that “home routine.” Everyone needs a break from work to remain a healthy lifestyle.
- Don’t spoil your healthy eating habits. Yes, when you travel, you are probably on a company expense account and eating outside of your normal healthy eating habits might be tempting – but don’t give in! Since I am gone for weeks a time, I always make sure to stock the mini fridge in my hotel room with healthy snacks and scope out area restaurants that have healthy eating options. Just because I am not home – doesn’t mean I have to act like I’m away from home!
Whether you travel on a regular basis or are gearing up for your first business trip, learn ways in which you can conquer being on the road, away from home – become a road warrior!