By Paige Churchman (New York City)
Today women account for nearly half of business travel, and most of them wouldn’t have it any other way. A 2003 NYU study found that 80% of women business travelers view business travel as a sign of professional achievement and, given the choice, 65% would continue to travel on business, despite cramped airline seats, security lines and long waits on the tarmac. The Glass Hammer checked in with women on the move to find out some of their secrets of survival on the road.
How to Fit It All in Carry-On
Marlys Arnold has packing down to a science. She fits a full week’s needs in one carry-on. The biggest space hogs: shoes and jewelry. “No more than three pairs of shoes,” she says, “Including the pair you wear. Keep accessories simple and basic. No expensive, flashy pieces that make you a target for thieves. And dress for arrival, not departure.” Mary Jeanne Packer of Ghostwriters Communications travels with “a lot of Chico’s outfits,” which she mixes and matches all week. Others ship ahead via an overnight service.
What to Take if You Do Check Luggage
Extra luggage may be well worth it for your well-being. “I travel with all sorts of comfy things to feel at home in my hotel room,” says Patti Wood, a popular body-language consultant. Susan Fitzell, who has spent nearly half of 2008 on the road for AIMHI Educational Programs , uses her carry-on for only two purposes: essentials to tide her over if her checked bag is lost and things to make her flight more comfortable. To soothe her flight are an keeps a connect-me-now bag on hand at all times with a “laptop, Blackberry, phone charger, Internet connection cords ─ and a little aspirin so I’m covered for any late-night working need.” She also takes some disposable clothes. “I pack items that have seen better days, like old ratty T-shirts.” She sleeps or works out in them and throws them out at the end. “This gives me room in my bag to tote home the junk I accumulate on the road and also cleans out my closet.”
Make the Most of Those Boring Hours
Dr. Carol Kinsey Goman loves waiting at airports and dining alone because they’re “great opportunities to watch how people behave when they don’t know they are being observed.” Deanna Brown, president of SN Networks (of Food Network and HGTV fame), travels with a journal because “big thoughts come at the strangest moments.” And if there are no big thoughts? She does what usually can’t be crammed into her day: calls friends and reads for pleasure. If airports stress you out despite your best efforts at equanimity, make yourself a VIP at the airline clubs or the independent Priority Pass where you can enjoy the nicer restrooms and healthier snacks
Love Your Layover
Many airports now offer massages, haircuts, gyms and even doctors and dentists. Susan Fitzell looks for layovers in these airports and schedules ample time between connections for some rejuvenation. Or she’ll opt to land in one airport over another so she can spend a few hours on a nearby beach. “I’ll put up with being sandy on the drive for that bit of heaven in my week,” says she.
Manage Your Jet Lag
Once, in an exhausted stupor, Maureen Vipperman walked into a men’s restroom in the airport. “I could not for the life of me figure out why there were men in the ladies room,” says Vipperman of The Urban Spa Group. She recommends showering with anything rosemary-scented to wash away jet lag before a meeting. Cyndee Todgham Cherniak, an attorney with Lang Michener, uses a drop of lavender oil on her airplane pillow to help her sleep on a long flight. Others recommend arriving a day early if the trip is long, getting out in the sun, physical activity and at least seven hours sleep. Or try this easy two-minute ayurvedic self massage when you get to your room ─ rub warm sesame oil on your scalp and the soles of your feet. It will help ground you.
Say No to Airport Pizza and Häagen Dazs
“The best way to watch weight gain is to eat meat and salad,” says Dr. Sarah Layton of the Corporate Strategy Institute . “I was the only person I knew who could lose weight on the road. Now I’m vegetarian and I gained ten pounds.” So she started carrying high-protein low-carb food bars, raw nuts and fruit. Most businesswomen we spoke with keep up their workouts at hotel or local gyms or by running in the city parks (Ask the concierge to find out the best and safest place.) 1st Impression Consulting’s Stacey Hanke takes her workout band on trips so she can do her upper-body workout anywhere.
Leave a Few Dollars on Your Pillow Each Morning
Jeanne Datz Rice of McNeil Wilson Communications suggests leaving a few dollars on your pillow each morning for the hard-working housekeeper. Don’t leave it to the last day because you may have a different housekeeper. “It goes a long way, and you will see a difference in your room,” she says. If you’re likely to return, exchange business cards with the front desk or general manager. When you leave, jot a thank-you note on the hotel stationery. Next visit, make your reservation directly through your new contact and “you will be pleasantly surprised by either the room you receive or perhaps a little something you find waiting in your room.”
I’m Still the Mommy
Laura Hoffman travels for Microscan at least a week out of each month. One pre-dawn morning eight years ago as she raced out the door to a flight, she found a lump atop her pre-packed suitcase. It was her four-year-old’s stuffed rabbit. “Bunny always slept in Hunter’s bed with him,” she says. She stuffed Bunny in her bag, and they were a travel pair for the next five years. She took pictures of Bunny at the Great Wall, on the Chunnel train or at a cathedral in Germany, etc. “Both my son and husband enjoyed seeing the places Bunny visited, and it made my business travel actually look like fun.”
Hide funny notes in your kids’ backpacks, and bring back team shirts and weird candies from other parts of the world. Other ways to keep that connection: a daily phone call at a set time, Skype (for video chatting) and Jott (to turn your phone voice into an email, text message, calendar listing, etc.). Or score big by eating yucky. When Jacquie Burchard of Davidson Companies puts down in Seattle, “I order seafood that my kids would consider yucky, such as squid, so I can tell them about it. They really enjoy those tales.”