You’ve just landed your first job that requires a lot of travel. Congratulations! Doing a traveling job can be an exciting and invigorating way to see new locations, meet interesting people, and satiate your desire to not be stuck in a desk 5 days-a-week. It’s a great way to really feel alive, especially if you are doing it for a job or company that you love.
It’s also a great way to feel run down, especially if you are doing it for a job or company that you love.
Doing this for weeks, months, or years can really wear on an individual’s ability to work productively, live an organized life, and feel content with the pace of things. Even if you like a fast-paced environment with lots of new challenges and changing work, flying from city-to-city with 4 AM wake-ups, regular TSA-harrassments, and the rush of getting your bag in an overhead, getting to your gates in time, and making your pickup wear on your ability to enjoy the job. Decision fatigue really is exactly that — fatigue.
There are a few things that can make your trips easier and your job more enjoyable.
A briefcase might sound like an obvious investment, but the number of young sales professionals who go into meetings with a backpack and pull a laptop out of it. While a backpack might be an acceptable way to carry technology or documents in certain business circles (i.e., heavily casual ones like Silicon Valley), it doesn’t pass in traditional business circles. The backpack is highly utilitarian, doubling both as an overnight bag and a laptop bag, but it loses points when it has to be used in meetings. If you have to bolt from the airport to a meeting before going to your hotel room because your flight was late, you might not want to bring that backpack stuffed with gym clothes and sales decks with you.
Meanwhile, a briefcase is incredibly versatile and can work in both a traditional business meeting in Atlanta and in a casual meeting in Palo Alto. Go with a leather laptop bag that easily fits your computer, a few decks, a notebook, and still fits under the seat in front of you on flights.
2) Overnight/Weekend Bag
You have a quick trip up the east coast to a few sales prospects in Boston, only spending about 48 hours on the road. Do you want to bring your briefcase and a giant roller bag with you? Of course not. An overnight or weekend bag can make those short trips much more organized, less stressful, and easier to load on and off planes, trains, and automobiles. And it doesn’t have to be expensive, either. For $60 you can save time, energy, and stress to always have a bag prepared for a quick trip, without having to pack a roller bag designed for 5+ day trips.
Walking through airports and looking at your phone can be a dangerous undertaking, but is something you likely do often while waiting to board a flight. A wristwatch will keep time available at ease without having to run down the battery of your phone and risk being run down yourself by one of those skycap carts that ferry wheelchairs to and from flights. Wristwatches also allow you to keep an eye on the time during meetings without having to make the rude gesture of pulling out your phone every 15 minutes. It sends the signal that you both are on top of your time and on top of your meetings. If you’re skeptical about what it would feel like to wear a watch in a day when most people check the time on their phones, just buy a nice, low-cost watch (e.g., Fossil) and try it for a few weeks.
Ride-sharing apps like Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar provide easy access to low-cost rides at the push of a button. Often priced at less than 75%-50% of a taxi ride, these services are a great way to both have access to rides and save your travel budget. Downloading all three is a handy way to avoid surge pricing (i.e., when rides are in high-demand and the services charges more to incentivize more drivers to get on the road) and to have access to more rides more easily.
Uber and Lyft also offer carpooling options in select cities that help you save even more money by sharing the ride with other users.
Renting cars is a hassle. It’s an even bigger hassle if you are younger than 25 years old. Getaround and RelayRides are two car-sharing services that allow you to rent cars by the hour (for Getaround) and by the day (for RelayRides) at rates comparable-to-considerably lower than rental car companies. Rather than rent a car that is dedicated to the rental car company, you rent cars not being used by residents of the city in which you’re traveling. Getaround car owners have hardware in their car that allows the renter to unlock the car with their phone, while RelayRides requires you to meet with an individual to hand off the key. Both services can be a great way to save time and money if you’re looking for short term rentals.
Landing to several voicemails, text messages, emails, missed calls, and a few GChat messages is an easy way to spike anxiety after a long flight. Voxer makes communication easier and removes much of the timing element to phone calls. Relying on data, rather than a cellular network, messages can be received in-flight if connected to wifi, and can be played multiple times with ease. With a simple threading option, Voxer makes team communication over text and voice simple and easy.
7) TSA PreCheck
If you only fly a few times a year, dropping $85 to avoid being poked and prodded, taking off your shoes and belt, unloading your bag, and going through a mildly-humiliating screening process can seem like a lot of money. If you fly a few times a month, it can be a lifesaver. TSA PreCheck allows you to use PreCheck lines at airports to expedite the screening process. The lines are almost always shorter than the traditional line, don’t involve stripping down and going through body scanners, and allow you to keep your possessions in your bags. It makes security screenings almost seem human again. For the time-saving element alone, it is well worth the $85 investment.