Stay Calm and Carry On: 5 Work Travel Tips All Women Need
If you are on the road again and want to eliminate the inevitable minor hassles of business travel (that can accumulate trip by trip by the way), we have five key suggestions that can assist business travelers from accumulating too much high anxiety.
The good news is women have reached – and exceeded– parity in numbers of business travelers.
“According to a recent report on Women in Business Travel published by FCM Travel Solutions, a division of the Flight Center Travel Group, nearly two-thirds of all travelers today are women. The report also shows that women make 80 percent of all travel decisions, which effectively means 670 million women around the world control $15 trillion in spending power, making female travelers a market twice the size of China and India’s markets combined,” reports Women’s Day.
The report shows, “While women tend to make more overnight stays than men, more men stay away for longer. One third, or 31.1 percent of women make fewer than 10 trips a year, compared to 18 percent of men.”
For women, travel may mean getting a break from home and family duties, collaborating with colleagues, new business opportunities or a chance to learn and network at conferences, but women apparently like business travel more than men do.
“Research shows that women like to travel even more than their male counterparts with 45.83 percent of women saying they enjoy their travels as opposed to 39.58 percent of men,” the study shows.
Stay packed. This may sound elemental, but have a fully loaded toiletries and makeup bag ready to go with your travel stash of favorites. Refill as needed. This way you do not have to bother finding your best foundation or lotion; it’s already there. I also highly recommend having a jewelry bag ready to go with favorite go-to work-friendly necklaces, bracelets and earrings in a separate jewelry bag. This may sound over the top, but I also keep a pair or two of my favorite neutral work shoes in a carry-on bag (change out for the seasons) so I am not stressing about footwear when I arrive. All I have to do for a trip is put in the outfits I will wear, pajamas and undergarments. No more thinking about what goes with what. And of course, do it all in one manageable carry-on so you never have to check your bag.
Try something new – however small. You may not feel like going out for a big meal by yourself in a new city when you have to be “on” first thing in the morning. But do try at least one new thing. Whether that is ordering something from room service you have never tried or taking a brisk walk near the hotel, take in a new site, taste or experience. Samantha Brown, TV Host and Producer, Places to Love, tells Travel + Lesiure, “I think travel is exceptional if we’re struggling with questions in our lives and we’re stalled. I feel people should use it more as a life boost or a career boost — these walls protect us but they also stop other solutions from coming to us. When we travel, we’re not surrounded by what’s familiar. Our mind is altered. Your brain works very differently when you are away from home.”
Safety first. Research the destination, particularly if it is abroad. Make sure you are following local customs for appropriate attire in specific sites, like mosques, churches or synagogues. According to Travel Pulse, “Despite the risks associated with traveling, women deserve to be in the travel space and have the best and safest experiences whether they’re on a solo trip, a girls weekend getaway or even traveling for business, according to travel security expert, Erika Weisbrod. “When selecting accommodation, try to avoid staying on the ground floor where burglary is a greater risk. To help ensure safety, women should try to stay on the 4th-7th floors. If you are uncomfortable with the location of your hotel room, don’t be afraid to request a different one.”
Stay at hotels you trust, where they know you if you can. Even if you appear only a few times year at the same hotel, make sure they know you are a frequent guest. It can ease your mind. This is why women report more often they are loyalty brand members. It’s a feeling that you are in the system and they are accountable to you. According to a report by Global Business Travel Association and AIG polling of 503 U.S. female business travelers earlier this year who went on four or more business trips in the last year, “In the past year, 70 percent of women booked a traditional hotel for their business trip. When booking a traditional hotel, 74 percent look to book at trusted hotel chains, while 67 percent consider the safety of the neighborhood, and 64 percent look for hotels that are close to their work site,” Skift reports
Speak up if it’s not right. Many instances have happened that by the time I get to my room, it is after many hours of travel or many hours of travel and work. The last thing I want is a conflict. But I have checked into rooms that reek of cigarette smoke, are visibly dirty or something elemental isn’t working—like the coffee pot or the TV. Call the front desk not to complain or apologize for bringing up the problem, but to ask when and wear you can move to a better room. Do it nicely, but firmly. A friend recently arrived in a room that was horrendously loud, the towels were dirty and on the floor and there was garbage in the trash can. It was obvious it was not clean after the last guest. She had called me to check on a business matter and she mentioned the state of her room; I urged her to say she needed another room. She got moved—and her room was comped. That’s a lesson for everyone who wants to be polite in spite of obvious mistakes.
Business travel can be a fun break, it can also be a burden. If you’re not flying first class with a handler and driver caring for your every wish along your journey (and most of us surely are not), then you might want to follow these simple suggestions to make your next trip out of this world.
About the Author
Michele Weldon is editorial director of Take The Lead, an award-winning author, journalist, emerita faculty in journalism at Northwestern University and a senior leader with The OpEd Project. @micheleweldon www.micheleweldon.com