This is part of a new series here at WhyGo Business Travel featuring brief interviews with people who travel for work, asking them about what they do and some of their favorite travel tips. This way, if you’re looking for a career that will require travel, you’ll get to read about people doing some of the jobs you might consider – and you’ll also learn a few great travel tips from the travel pros!
This week, we’re talking with Rachael King. Rachael describes herself as a 20-something living in (and loving) Washington, DC. She blogs as The Southified Masshole (livitluvit.com) because she grew up a “Masshole” in Worcester, MA, before moving to Chapel Hill for college at UNC, where she says she was appropriately “south-i-fied” – “all the sass of a Northerner, now with the grace of a Southern belle, as I like to say.”
What do you do?
I’m a social media consultant and strategist at iostudio (iostudio.com), a marketing agency with locations in DC and Nashville (though clients are nationwide). My main responsibility is acting as a consultant to the 54 states and territories of the National Guard, teaching them how to use social media as a marketing and recruitment tool. Since most of them are launching their social media sites for the first time, this involves a lot of hands-on training (read: travel)!
What kind of travel do you get to do for work? Do you get to choose where you go?
I travel to the states and territories who ask (or need) me to come, to train the National Guard on social media (see above). So no, I go wherever I’m needed, and it’s rarely glamorous. Fortunately, thanks to Twitter buddies, I usually have a couple e-friends in the area I can get dinner with, no matter where I’m sent!
Do you add any extra “fun” days on to work trips? Why or why not?
It depends on how far I’m traveling. If it’s a quick flight, I’ll generally just stay overnight, because I need to get back to work! But I’ve recently instituted a rule (well, my boss kind of insisted) that I’ll take an extra day if it’s somewhere across the country. I did an 18 hour stint in Salt Lake City in March, and it almost killed me. Yes, I want to get back home, but that kind of turn around just isn’t healthy.
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How often do you get to travel for work?
Probably twice a month.
Did you choose your job at least in part because you love to travel? Would you make the same job choice again, knowing what you know now?
I mostly took the job because it was in the industry that I’m most interested in (social media marketing), but the 30% travel certainly wasn’t a deterrent. I’ve gotten to catch up with a lot of friends around the country since I started in January, thanks to these trips. So yes, I’d definitely do it again!
What are some of your favorite travel tips that you’ve picked up?
I wouldn’t call it a “tip” so much as an “item”: my iPad. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without it. Along with that (since mine is wifi, not 3G) comes a monthly subscription to Boingo. It’s around $7 a month, and I can connect to the internet in almost any airport that way. (Purchasing one day of Boingo internet costs $5, so if you know you’re going to be traveling more than one day a month, it makes sense to just get the monthly subscription.)
And while the iPad is great for using in flight, make sure you have a magazine or “real” book for those potentially long take offs and landings, when they make you turn it off!
What one travel tip would you, as a business traveler, pass along to someone who doesn’t travel as often?
Do not overextend yourself. Jet lag is very real (at least for me), and I have a tendency to make a zillion plans for the one night I’m in town somewhere, and then want to kill myself a little bit for making all of them when I finally get there and can barely keep my eyes open. Leave yourself wiggle room to relax, if at all possible.
What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in doing what you do?
Traveling can come with any job (especially one where you’re training a franchise on a service, product, or skill), but to get into the social media marketing world, you need to build a serious online portfolio. At first this may mean taking on clients pro bono to show what you can do, so make sure you’re tracking your (hopefully awesome) results to report them on your resume. Build your own online sites too (LinkedIn, Twitter, a well-written and thoughtful blog preferably pertaining to your industry) – use these to build your online network and connect with influencers in the fields you’re interested in. Connect with people genuinely, wherever and whenever you can, and go out of your way to help them – they’ll remember this down the line when you have the experience to apply for the jobs you want, and they’ll be glad to repay the favor.
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