First class seats. Expense accounts. Exotic locations. George Clooney. Uh, no. Try cramped coach seats, paying for a pillow and blanket, eating room service at 1am because your flight was delayed, visiting Cornelia, Georgia AGAIN (where they don’t even have room service—if your plane is delayed you get no dinner), and a guy who really doesn’t look like George Clooney (or a lady who doesn’t look like Vera Farmiga) trying to chat you up in transit. Sure, business travelers get the occasional nice dinner out, a chance to visit somewhere interesting, and sometimes meet fun people. But mostly it’s a lot of time away from your family, delayed flights, and realizing you forgot the critical thumb drive, or charger, or jacket, and running to Walgreens in the middle of the night to replace it. All of that being said…..
Secret #2: Sometimes it’s nice to get away.
Yes, I miss my husband and dogs when I’m gone. But honestly, not having to worry about the million things I should be doing around the house, or having to get up in the middle of the night to let our dogs out, plus having someone to make my bed and bring me food…. It can be nice for a little while. Usually about two nights and three days pass before I start getting homesick. Although, there was a period of time last January-March where I was literally gone every week and most weekends. That was way too much away time.
Secret #3: What’s in my contacts case? Not contacts.
Over the years I have picked up many, many packing tricks to maximize the space in my carry-on. I put my face moisturizer in spare contacts cases so that I don’t have to bring the bottle. And this is just one example of hundreds, because a business traveler will never, ever check their bag. Ever.
Secret #4: We deserve our Elite status. Trust me, we have earned it.
I know, I know. You get on a plane and there they are. The business travelers. Sitting smugly in their first class seats, or their exit row seats, or their bulkhead seats. Typing furiously on a laptop, finishing up a phone conversation, their suit jackets folded neatly over their suitcases already in the overhead bins. Yes we get to board first, yes we get the good seats, yes we sometimes get upgraded to first class. But that is because we are on these planes all the time. I have friends who are literally gone Sunday night through Friday afternoon, every week. One time I was on seven different flights in two days. We are there because we have to be there, and it is nice to get a few perks for it.
Secret #5: Almost half of business travelers are women.
In the early seventies, 1% of business travelers were women. Now? Over 40%. This explains the recent appearance of women’s clothing in airport Brooks Brothers and the “women-only” floor and improved toiletries at many hotels. So just because I’m a woman (and a young woman at that) doesn’t mean I’m not just as serious about that exit row seat as you are.
Readers, what are your “secrets” about business travel?