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How to Break the Ice With Coworkers — Even While Traveling

travel-conversationHow do you break the ice with coworkers and make conversation, particularly while traveling together? Travel with coworkers can be awkward for exactly this reason — and hopefully our tips can help. We’ve talked about party-appropriate conversation topics, as well as how to steer a conversation away from sports or the like, but not in a while. Here’s the question from Reader B:

I read your post on travelling with co-workers, great notes. I am new to corporate travel and have a hard time keeping and making conversation. Some of my travels are one on one and others are with a small group. Do you have any tips, topics, etc., to discuss while on business trips with co-workers, especially when they are one on one?

Hmmmn — what should you talk about with coworkers? Readers were recently discussing this recently (I’m maybe remembering this conversation about adjusting to non-BigLaw, non-NYC life) and I agree — talk about anything! The best things (IMHO) are to find shared hobbies, ask about plans for the weekend, or even ask if they’re reading/watching anything good these days. I am not personally into sports (I even have a shirt that says “Hooray sports, do the thing, win the points!”) but if YOU feel like talking about sports, you can always float the conversation and see if your coworker wants to talk about sports as well. (Either way, check out Sports Ketchup, which bills itself as “The weekly newsletter of what you need to know to win a sports conversation in under 3 minutes per week.)

There are, of course, a few caveats:

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4 Types of Vacation Packages for Busy Women

Specialty Vacation PackagesTravel planning can be a lot of fun, but it’s also time-consuming — and stressing out about a vacation kind of defeats the purpose. Vacation packages can take almost all the planning out of the equation — and they don’t have to be the run-of-the-mill, giant-tour-bus trips that might spring to mind, either.

We’ve rounded up five types of vacation packages that seem just right for busy professional women who don’t have a lot of time to spend researching hotels, restaurants, activities, sightseeing spots, and so on. These companies are booking through 2017, but if you’re looking for something last-minute, you’re in luck: Now is a good time to find deals, as late summer is a less popular vacation time than early/mid-summer. (Check Last Minute Travel, CheapCaribbeanTravelzoo, or Groupon. You can also read our guest poster’s tips for traveling solo, as well as check out our last discussion about using all your vacation time.)   [Read more…]

Weekend Wednesday: Stylish Travel Dresses

This is the first in a new occasional Wednesday feature where we explore weekend-wear more in depth.

travel dresses for summerI wouldn’t wear any of these to work, but if you’re on the hunt for a packing-friendly, easycare dress for any upcoming summer travel (or, hey, just brunch or other weekend activities), I thought we’d round up a few. I like that all of these are able to be dressed up and down — wear them with flip flops and a beach tote one day, with a nice necklace, clutch, wrap and fancier heels the next. The plus-size option from Travel Smith is even four dresses in one — two necklines and a reversible fabric! Ladies, do you have any favorite travel dresses, or favorite adventure clothing companies? What is your must-pack item for every vacation you go on? 

Pictured: Woolrich / Eddie Bauer / Lily Pulitzer.

(The full roundup is after the jump!)

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You’ve Just Won the Lottery. Like, a LOT. Now What? (Fantasy Open Thread)

just won the lottery, fantasy threadI was looking around the designer dresses and clothes at Nordstrom recently and found myself thinking, man, if I ever win the lottery I am immediately going to the closest Max Mara store. (Then I started debating myself — Akris Punto? Armani? Hmmn.) So I thought this might be a fun fantasy open thread today — what would YOU do if you won the lottery? I’m assuming many of you would pay off student loans or credit card debt — maybe even family members’ student loans. (I seriously know someone this happened to!) After that, where would you turn? Just for kicks let’s say you’ve won $50 million dollars.

For some reason here’s what comes to my mind (after mortgage, college for the kids, and checking with close family and friends to see about helping with debts, and doing some serious thinking about charitable donations/setting up our own foundation):

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Vacation Horror Stories

vacation horror storiesWith holidays coming up, here’s a fun topic for today: let’s all share our vacation horror stories!  What comically went wrong on your vacation? What was a rookie mistake and what was just one of those things? What would you do differently to plan your next vacation?

My $.02: Last week, we went on a beach vacation with my in-laws.  It was supposed to be an amazing, lovely time away for all of us, and the boys’ first real trip to the beach.  We even had bought tickets to Disney World (an hour away from where we were staying) to go visit for a day.

On day 3, I fell into the pool at the house (I swear drinking was not involved), and somehow injured my knee enough that it no longer can bear weight.  Yay! Day 3 was spent at the emergency room (where docs said nothing was broken and instructed me to RICE it), and days 4-6 were spent lounging on the couch. There’s no pain, no swelling, no bruising — it just won’t hold weight.  We’re back from vacation now and I’m seeing the ortho this afternoon.  On the plus side: I got more reading done than I have in a long time (hooray for library books on the Kindle) — and the Disney trip has been postponed for a later vacation.  I wasn’t the only casualty on the trip, though — my father in law wound up at the ER and had to stay a night for observation.  (He’s fine now.) My husband walked into the ocean to play — with his wallet and iPhone in his pocket.  Later, as the rest of his wallet dried, he lost his driver’s license the day before we were due to fly home. (Amazingly, someone found his license and we were able to retrieve it before boarding the plane, and he’s all set up with a new phone now.) It was a comically bad vacation — and yet I’m thankful that it wasn’t worse, and I didn’t hit my head near the pool, and it was me instead of the boys. My husband found this shot glass at a gift shop and had to get it.

Ladies, what are your favorite vacation horror stories? (On the flip side: is your vacation horror story that you haven’t had time to use your vacation time?)   

Psst: how to leave on vacation without losing your mind, how to plan a vacation, and vacation etiquette at the office.

Dressing Professionally But Comfortably: What to Wear for a Long Flight

Vince Camuto Ponte Knit Ankle PantsWhat should you wear on a long flight with colleagues if you want to be comfortable but still look professional? Reader N wonders…

Could you do a post on comfortable, but professional attire for international or long flights? I have an upcoming business trip where my boss and two colleagues will be on a long flight with me. I want to look presentable but still be comfortable for the long flight. Thanks!

I’m curious to hear what people say here; this reminds me a bit about our discussion about what to wear when you’re out of town and working late all the time. (Here’s a fun question, readers — do the answers change if you’re sitting with your boss/colleagues on the long flight? Every time I’ve traveled with colleagues we were sitting apart, and I was so thankful to freely relax/sleep/read brain candy on the flight.) Some thoughts, in no particular order:

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