Pro Travel Tips

In my career as a litigator, I traveled AT LEAST every other week for business.  And, now that I’m coaching, I have found myself traveling nearly as much for client meetings, professional development, speaking engagements, and FUN!  All my friends are turning 40 this year – so I’m spending a lot of time UP IN THE AIR. 

When you travel often, you learn to enjoy air travel or else you live a pretty miserable existence. So, below you’ll find my secret tips for how to keep a smile on your face while you travel!! 

  • Treat Yo Self.

Plan clothes and shoes for what you will be doing; make sure they are travel friendly; but most importantly, make sure they make you feel CONFIDENT.  If a blow out or a manicure would make you feel even more confident, book those for the day before you leave or the morning you arrive.  Also, don't hesitate to splurge on getting your make up done at the MAC counter in the airport if it will allow you to arrive at your destination feeling like a million bucks!!  It’s important not to look and feel bedraggled, especially when you’re traveling for work.

  • Play by the rules. 

Whether you are Clear, TSA Pre-Check <which I HIGHLY recommend>, or do the standard line, arrive prepared. There's nothing worse than having your bag rummaged through or receiving an all-too-friendly pat down when you are running late for a flight.

  • Maximize your miles. 

Sign up for the points programs of your favorite travel brands – mine are Delta + Marriott.  And, then double-down by also getting the credit card and staying loyal.  My family has taken SO many trips entirely on points.  It makes business travel more palatable when it pays for you to have some fun too!   

  • Stay busy. 

Nothing ruins a flight like thinking your plane has screens/ wifi and coming to realize that an “equipment change” put you on a plane from 1985.  Now, you have nothing to do because SOMEONE already filled out the Sky Magazine crossword puzzle.  So, even if you plan to watch Free Solo on your next flight <SO GOOD>, bring along something to occupy your time – work, knitting, reading, crossword puzzles, DOWNLOADED podcasts or movies <Netflix’s Wine Country!>.  That way, even if you are delayed, you can emerge from a travel day feeling accomplished or entertained, instead of just mad.  

  • Integrate life + work.

If you are taking a work trip, use the time to reach out to old friends.  I often drop texts or call old friends while I’m in the Sky Lounge.  Also, do a quick FB search to see if any of those friends LIVE in the city you are visiting.  I had a case in Columbia, SC that was made so much more enjoyable when I connected with an old friend there.  And, if you are taking a personal trip, see if you can squeeze in some business.  This week, I’m traveling to New Orleans for my friend’s 40th birthday AND I have booked a speaking engagement!  Yes, sometimes you need a true vacation without work.  But, often, it takes just a little effort to develop business while you’re on the road. 

6.       Leave Things Settled.

Before I travel, I make sure that all the babysitters are booked, the meals are planned, and the schedule is loaded into our joint Google calendar with both one hour and ten-minute reminders.  YES, my husband is a capable adult and a wonderful father.  But, it makes me feel more confident as I stride out the door to know that everything is settled on the home front.  That way, I can be fully present on my trip.   

  • Know your why.

You have to ELIMINATE the guilt if business travel is part of the job requirement.  Remember that you are traveling because you have a kick-@ss job that provides killer opportunities for your family.  And, if you are traveling for personal reasons, get excited about exploring a new city, visiting family, or being there for loved ones. That way, you can take a curve ball - like an extra pat-down or a delayed flight - in stride.  

As I park my car and see the sunrise over the air traffic control tower at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to travel, to laugh with friends, to experience new places, and to do the work I was put on this planet to do.  "The antidote to anger is gratitude. You can't feel fear or anger while feeling gratitude at the same time." – Tony Robbins.

So, buy those tickets, book that hotel, and let me know where you’re headed. I might just see you at the airport! 

Remember, anything or anyone who doesn’t LIGHT YOU UP is too small for you.

xoxo, Sarah-Nell

Sarah-Nell Walsh

Career Coach + Strategist