Everyone thought my job was so glamorous. Traveling the country. Seeing different states. Experiencing different cities. At the peak of my warrior days, an Event Coordinator fresh out of college, I was traveling to three events per week, departing on Monday morning, returning home on Friday afternoon, and doing it all over again after the weekend had flown by. I spent more time in hotels than I did in my own home, drank coffee out of a ceramic mug only on rare occasions, rode in my fair share of smelly taxis, and ate more Caesar salads from in-room dining menus than any normal person should. It was hard work, long hours, but most importantly a crucially insightful period of my life. I learned a few key things that helped me survive and come out on the other side a better event planner. I’d relay the following tips to any new Road Warrior:
- Sign up for every rewards program possible. Be as loyal as you can to one airline and one hotel chain. You’ll reap the benefits much quicker by doing so.
- Invest in quality luggage. I have had the same black carry on with a cherry red luggage tag for two years. It’s classic, but still easily identifiable in the chaos that can ensue after a commuter flight’s crew unloads passengers’ gate checked bags.
- Don’t hunt for internet. Bring it with you. If you were to add up the cost of the WiFi connections purchased in the airport, in-flight, and in your hotel from just one trip, you’ll realize that a MiFi hotspot device pays for itself pretty quickly. My life was seriously changed for the better after this gadget became a traveling staple of mine.
- Pick a travel uniform and stick with it. Choose an outfit that’s comfortable, yet presentable. If possible, skip the belt. Wear a pair of shoes that requires socks and slip on and off easily.
- Buy a Camelback or other reusable water bottle. Once you get through security, there are a number of places in an airport that will fill up it for free. Starbucks is one of them. Once you get to your hotel, you can get free filtered water in the fitness center. It’s green and keeps your expenses down. Your manager will love you for that.
- Try to keep a regular sleep schedule. I almost laugh as I write that knowing how difficult it is to do when you’re traveling across time zones to manage a morning event on one coast and an evening event on another. We all know what sleep deficit can do to mood and productivity, though. So for this one, I’ll just put the emphasis on the “try.”
- Roll with the punches and go with the flow. This relates to travel and the job. There will always be flight delays. Always be traffic. Having a sense of humor can make all the difference in the word. Of course, you wanted to land on time to meet your friends or family for dinner after a long week away. Of course it’s no joke that some of your attendees are without name badges or that your giveaways are stuck in customs. But keeping a positive attitude can mean the difference between a first-class seat upgrade and client backflips instead of backlash.