Friday, June 17, 2011

NEST: Finding home on a business trip.

About a week ago, my husband learned that he was expected to be in Florida for work. He knew it was coming, but didn't expect to be given only 3 days notice prior to stepping foot into the office. I knew that if Griffin and I wanted to accompany Jose, I would have to do all of the preparation on our end, while Jose prepared for the work he would do. I rushed around our house--cleaning, packing, watering plants, doing laundry. I made lists of things that make life more convenient and planned to pack them or think of alternatives we could find at our condo. I know, for example, that Griff does better with his special milk cup and water bottle to drink and his stuffed cow to sleep. I know that I need lightweight, comfortable long pants for evenings and our jogging stroller for my sanity.

Some people truly adore business travel. Since Jose was dreading it, I took it as a challenge to prove that it could be a fun and relaxing change of pace. I knew it would be a matter of making our condo feel like home. A few of the things I considered were what we would eat, how we would sleep and what we would do to make this business trip feel like vacation.

1. Food: If you can stay in a studio or one bedroom place with a kitchen, you have a huge advantage. You can end up making money off your food stipend if you don't eat out all the time.

Plan a menu for the week ahead of time. You may be more exhausted than normal with the pace of work or a time change and having a meal on the schedule keeps you from being tempted to give in to fast food joints. If you arrive the evening before you're expected to work, find the grocery and get your necessities.

If you always feel great when you eat eggs, toast, and a banana for breakfast, but your hotel offers a continental breakfast of Eggo waffles and doughnuts and bagels, make your own protein-rich meal. There may be a tiny twinge of guilt that you're not taking advantage of the "free food," but you'll feel better for it.

2. Sleep: Get enough of it. Bring your favorite pillow if you need it. Keep your normal bedtime and routine. Although you may be tempted to skimp on toiletries, so you don't need to check a bag, packing your regular face soap, night cream and toothpaste may help your brain prepare for sleep.

If you always sleep with a fan or noise maker, try to pack it or find a substitute. You could call ahead and ask if you could borrow a fan from maintenance. Making yourself comfortable at night will make each day a little brighter.

3. Vacation: You're traveling, so you should get to pamper yourself just a bit. Plan a meal or two out during the week at restaurants that locals recommend. If you're near the beach, take a walk or run on the sand each night after work. Buy yourself a cup or two of fancy coffee on your way into the office. Or, (what I'm longing for) schedule a pedicure at a nearby spa.
Griffin and Jose on our family business trip.

Try to Keep Your Green Going: Buy only what you need at the grocery store--just because it's on sale does not mean you need a family-size bottle of ketchup. Travel with your own toiletries, instead of buying the travel-size shampoo. Pack a water bottle that you can refill, so you won't feel the need to buy bottled water. Borrow a map of the area and plot out any errands that you need to run to prevent wasting gas driving all over town. Ask about recycling at your hotel or condo so you can be responsible with the trash that you will inevitably create.

Just remember: If it's really important to you, take it with you!

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