The Best Winter Vacation Strategies

After most of us just enjoyed a four-day weekend (or turned it into an even longer break — lucky you), it’s time to go back to work and … talk about winter vacation strategies! In the wintertime, do you prefer to escape the cold and snow by going somewhere warm with beautiful beaches, or are you into winter sports and like to travel somewhere with wintry weather for skiing, etc.? Maybe you live somewhere that doesn’t even get a real winter and so you seek that out — snow crunching under your feet, a crackling fireplace, a cup of hot chocolate, and so on? (To that, I say … no thank you! OK, except for the hot chocolate.) Another aspect of winter vacation strategies: savings! According to a recent NYT article, the cheapest days to depart are 12/26 or 12/29 — and I have at least one friend who uses those savings to go on major, multi-week vacations around now. (Here’s another article on strategies for saving money on winter vacations from Forbes.)
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What Businesswomen Should Wear In the Middle East

What Businesswomen Should Wear In the Middle East: Advice from the Corporette ReadersI recently got a great question from an old friend, T, that I thought was very interesting and worth a discussion here — she’s wondering what businesswomen should wear in the Middle East (specifically Qatar, pictured with a stock photo here).

Just curious if you have done any posts on Corporette on appropriate wear for women who have business trips in the Middle East? I just found out that I have to present at [a conference] in Qatar in [a few weeks’] time (the audience will be 99% Qatari men) and give a private briefing to [a VIP who can’t attend the conference]. Internet searching has revealed that I can wear Western attire (no need to don a headscarf, etc.) but on the very conservative end — elbows, knees, and cleavage covered. But I’m still trying to get a handle on how to translate that into actual outfits that will look professional and appropriate to this audience. Perhaps this would merit a discussion to see if any other readers have had business on the Arabian peninsula and their experiences as to what sort of attire they found appropriate? Thanks in advance!

Wow — first, huge congrats to my old friend T; sounds like you’re rocking it — and second, it is a very interesting question. (I’m feeling a bit like the luggage salesman in Joe vs the Volcano who, upon hearing of the great adventure Joe is about to embark on, says, “That’s very exciting … as a luggage problem.”) From my Internet research, the answer seems to vary widely according to the country — Qatar (particularly Doha) looks like it’s very Western, whereas Saudi Arabia is much more conservative, obviously, requiring a long dress. Also from Googling, I’ve seen a lot of images of people at conferences in Qatar where the women wear pantsuits (interestingly, with a lot of peep-toe shoes, which I would have thought would be a no-no — I would stick with closed-toe shoes myself).

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City Series: The Corporette® Guide to Los Angeles

guide to Los Angeles for womenThis mini-city guide to Los Angeles for women lawyers and other professionals comes from reader Auntie M, a longtime Los Angeles resident and born-and-raised Southern California girl (and former LA lawyer, and one of Kat’s oldest and best friends). She wants you to know that this guide is not meant to be all-inclusive, and even as she writes this, she knows she’s left off too much. Los Angeles is vast and confusing and a tough nut to crack, but it’s also glamorous and offbeat and artistic and delicious, a tough place to both love and leave. She also has Bruins in her blood, and knows that her second-favorite team is always the one that’s playing USC. Welcome back to Corporette®, M! Readers, you can check out other posts in our City Guide series here. Want to offer advice to the readers for YOUR city? Please fill out this form — we’d be so thankful for any advice you have! – Kat.

Where to Stay in Los Angeles

If you’re planning a trip to LA, then you probably already know how spread out it is. If you’re visiting for a specific reason or event, like a work or family event, you’ll probably want to stay close to wherever that is, for convenience – what they say about LA traffic is true, and although Angelenos love to brag about their super-secret side-street and back-road routes, if you don’t know the lay of the land, you will probably find yourself stuck in traffic and very frustrated.

If you’re just headed to LA for a vacation, where you decide to stay will depend on what you want. Sand and surf? Celeb-spotting? High-end shopping? If you’re looking for ideas, the Los Angeles Conservancy has some interesting suggestions for self-guided tours. Wherever you are, you will probably need to rent a car to see it all (more on that later), but here’s a quick look at what some of the areas have to offer:

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City Series: The Corporette® Guide to New York City

working girl's guide to NYCA reader suggested we start a series this summer for what to do in different cities — I DO often notice that there are a lot of comments about different cities, so this seems like a great idea. Let’s start with NYC! What’s your best advice on where to shop for workwear in NYC? (What about other fun shopping?) What are your favorite restaurants and bars? What hotels have you found to be decent; which attractions are a must for you? Here’s a template to use for your response if it’s helpful:

Where to stay:
Where to shop:
Where to eat:
Favorite attractions:
Etiquette tips if any:
Safety tips if any:
Other notes:

Readers, you can check out other posts in our City Guide series here. Want to offer advice for YOUR city? Please fill out this form — we’d be so thankful for any advice you have! 

For my $.02, here are my answers:

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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 Packages2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on vacation packages for busy women— links have also been updated below.

Travel 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…]

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