Guest Post: Tips for Traveling Solo

How to Travel Solo | CorporetteSolo travel – have you ever done it? We’ve talked about how to plan a vacation and how to take vacation time without making yourself crazy, but we haven’t really discussed traveling alone as a woman. Particularly considering some folks may be in the midst of planning bar trips right now, I thought we’d discuss. Today’s solo-travel tips come  from one of my best friends since college, who we’ve called Auntie M when she’s guest posted in the past (taking a week of TPS reports in 2011 and another earlier this year, as well as sharing her experiences with freezing her eggs). Welcome back, Auntie M! – Kat

Hi there. I’m writing this from Madagascar, where I’m working on a documentary on a traveling French brass band.  Since I’ve started traveling, it’s really been a trip – I’ve lost my luggage for five days, found weird (huge!) bugs in my clothing, and gotten super sick from eating who knows what. My point is, when you travel, things will happen that will surprise you, even when you’ve passed the point where you think you can still be surprised. And your ability to cope with these things will also surprise you. And travel — yes, even solo travel — can be fun. Like, a lot of fun. With some good preparation, a friendly attitude, a commitment to let go of some of your neuroses (seriously, leave that sleep-sheet behind, princess) and to never, ever panic, you can be ready to take on the world. Below are some tips and tricks. Safe travels, everyone!

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Guest Post: Packing for a One-Day Business Trip

Packing for a One-Day Business Trip | CorporetteHow do you pack for a day trip in another city?  Today I’m excited to welcome back guest poster and blogger extraordinaire Road Warriorette, who’s been nice enough to give us helpful tips on traveling with coworkers and professional but small suitcases.  We actually just met IRL not too long ago for a lovely dinner.  :) Today, she answers Reader A’s question about packing for one-day business trips. Welcome back, Road Warriorette!

Reader A wonders:

Do you or your readers have suggestions for how to pack for a day trip in another city? I am going to start a new job that will require frequent day trips where I will fly to another city in the morning and fly back at night. I prefer not to take too much stuff, but I do want to be prepared in the event that I get stuck overnight. I need my laptop for the trip and am on the hunt for an appropriate bag for day trips and for client visits in my own city.

People who never travel for work are always surprised at the number of day trips I take. On the one hand, it makes sense — if you are only doing one day’s worth of business, why pay for a hotel room? On the other hand, they are often exhausting, 18-20 hour marathons. It seems I am always on the last flight out, and a few times have gotten stuck spending the night somewhere unexpectedly.

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I Can’t Wear a Suit — But Want to Show Authority

I Can't Wear a Suit But Want to Show Authority -- How? | CorporetteWhat do you wear when you want to show authority without wearing a suit?  We’ve talked about what to wear when a suit doesn’t feel right, but Reader R is looking for authoritative clothes that aren’t intimidating and travel well…

I recently started a new job as in-house counsel. As part of my responsibilities, I will be traveling internationally to conduct audits and give training sessions. The job is great, but I’m not sure what to wear! My de facto would be to wear a suit, but my boss suggested that I should avoid wearing suits, since the appearance of a “suit” tends to make people nervous. Some relevant factors: (1) I’m often the only woman in the room; and (2) I’m also often the youngest person in the room.

Basically, I need pieces that say, “Position of authority, but non-scary” and travel well. Help!

Congrats on the new job, R!  One of my older friends was a lawyer for a TV network in the 80s, and I remember her telling me that she would leave her suit jacket in her office when she had to go talk to the comedy writers or producers — it was less intimidating, less “this is coming from The Man.” So you’re not alone in wanting to thinking about what your clothes say to people.  For my $.02: Put some thought into exactly what response you want from people.  For example: Do you want them to respect that your word is the final word, and they should do what you tell them? (Play up the authority.)  Do you want them to come to you with problems that might not be communicated to the home office otherwise?  (Play up the approachability, but keep some authority.) Do you seek to really understand their problems and make friends in the office? (Turn the authority way down.)  (As for the “looking younger” part of your question, you may want to look at our older post on the difference between acting young and looking young at the office.)

For my $.02, I would go with what you feel most comfortable in, and modify that (taking into account, obviously, the office culture for where you’re going). If you’re comfortable in: [Read more...]

Guestpost: Professional, Small Suitcases For an Overnight Business Trip

The Best Suitcases for a Short Business Trip | CorporetteWhich is the best suitcase for an overnight trip?  We’ve talked about Kat’s top packing tips, as well as rounded up some great weekender bags, but this is totally up business travel blogger Road Warriorette’s alley, so I thought I’d pass it on to her — thank you for guest posting, RW! – Kat.

Reader C is on the hunt for a professional, small suitcase for overnight business trips, to help her cut down her baggage:

I travel occasionally for work, and have the standard wheeled suitcase that everyone has, which is perfect for up to week-long trips.
But lately, I have been doing more overnighters, and my usual suitcase plus a computer bag plus a purse is overkill.

I am searching for a wheeled bag that’s big enough for an outfit and my toiletries, and a separate compartment for my laptop. Ideally it’s professional looking enough that I could wheel it into the corner of a business meeting, and not be embarrassed because it looks like a backpack or a duffel bag. Any suggestions from the hive?

I totally understand—it feels weirdly wasteful to travel with a suitcase that is half empty. There are so many professional-looking standard sized rollerboards, but it seems like smaller bags that look appropriate for work are few and far between. Here are a few options. [Read more...]

Planning Company Travel Six Months Away — While Secretly Pregnant

When to Tell Your Boss You're Pregnant | CorporetteWhen should you tell your boss that you’re pregnant? Are there any circumstances where you should tell your boss earlier rather than later?

My husband and I are expecting our first child. I haven’t told anyone at work yet, since we’re still in the first trimester (due in June). I’m two years into my current job, and love my company and my work.

A few big opportunities and changes just came up that may affect my plans to “break the news” about my pregnancy earlier than intended:

(1) My boss, who supports my advancement within the company, just got a new position. With a change of management, I may not have a boss who is as supportive of me, especially given that I intend to be out of the office for three months.
(2) My team is planning now for travel that must occur in the spring. Travel involves going to developing countries, which I won’t be able to do on the cusp of my third trimester.
(3) I just found out I am scheduled to present two of my biggest projects to our Board of Directors in June, which is a major career opportunity for me. This cannot be rescheduled for many reasons.

Any advice?

Congratulations, A! We’ve talked about when is the best time in your career to get pregnant, how to announce you’re pregnant, and how to negotiate maternity leave before, but your circumstances may be sufficiently different so I’m curious to hear what readers say. For my own $.02:

The standard wisdom is to wait until the end of your first trimester because the risk for miscarriage decreases then, and I really don’t think you should vary that here.  (At the very least, wait until you hear the baby’s heartbeat!)  (Readers often recommend the work/life balance book, Balance is a Crock, Sleep is For the Weak — as the authors there say about announcing early to your boss: “shut your piehole.”) To put it another way: What are you hoping will change based on your sharing your news? [Read more...]

How to Plan a Vacation

How to Plan a Vacation | CorporetteIt seems counter intuitive, but I’ve read that at the end of August is one of the best times to plan a vacation because you can get the best deals.  We’ve talked about how to deal with vacation stress (including how to be a good employee while on vacation, and a vacation time poll to gauge how much you’ve actually taken) and we’ve talked about office etiquette around the holidays — but we haven’t talked about planning a vacation in a long time, so I thought we could discuss.  How do you budget for a vacation, both in terms of money and time?  (Does anyone do the “extra savings account just for vacations” thing?) Do you like to vacation in the summer or some other time of the year?  Have you taken the same vacation multiple times (for example, I’ve been on FOUR Paris vacations — I love the city and love seeing new sides to it every time I go)?  Or are vacations all about family for you, spending time with your parents (either in your childhood home or at a family beach house or the like)?  [Read more...]