Business Traveler Interview: Sarah H.

by Jessica on April 20, 2011

by Jessica | April 20th, 2011  

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 Sarah, who’s the blogger behind Road Warriorette and is based in Texas when she’s not traveling.

What do you do?
I am a corporate trainer for a large company.

What kind of travel do you get to do for work? Do you get to choose where you go?
I travel around the country, and sometimes internationally, training people how to use our products. Some places, like Nashville and San Jose, I go to repeatedly, but I will often go to new places as well. In the past year I have been to Manila, Pensacola, Boston, New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Arkansas, Dallas, Atlanta, and others, in addition to Nashville and San Jose multiple times.

I am often in a city just long enough to see clients, with little time to see the sights, but I always try to do at least one interesting thing whenever I visit someplace new. Eating at local restaurants is one of my favorite parts of travel.

Unfortunately, I do not get to choose where I go. Any place can be fun though! I have seen parts of the country I would never have imagined five years ago. Tiny towns in the midwest aren’t exactly tourist destinations but can have amazing food and gorgeous scenery. Of course, I also went to Vegas five times in one year, so the type of place varies widely.

How often do you get to travel for work?
At least twice a month for a few days, with a few one-day trips in between. There have been periods of time where I was gone all week, every week, for several months running. That is exhausting! I much prefer the way it is now.

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 actually chose my job despite the travel. When I first started this position, I was a newlywed and not very interested in being away from home all the time, even though I have always loved seeing new places. That first year was very hard!

But now? I would absolutely choose this again. I love my job, I love the traveling, and I love the experiences I have gained from it. My husband and I have developed ways to make the distance easier, and I have made friends in the locations I travel to often.

What are some of your favorite travel tips that you’ve picked up?
I have so many! I would highly recommend never checking a bag if you can avoid it. You don’t need separate outfits for every day! Pack one pair of pants or skirt for every two working days, and a top for each day that will coordinate with all of your bottoms. Three pairs of shoes maximum, including the one on your feet. Put small amounts of liquids in extra contact lens cases, such as facewash, moisturizer, and eye cream–it’s incredible how much space this saves.

Try to do one cool thing in each city you visit, whether it’s dinner, a museum, seeing Wrigley Field, or something else. You may never be back! If you are going somewhere really fun, try to build in a day or two to enjoy it. Last year my husband met me in San Jose after my meetings and we went to Napa for the weekend. It was amazing!

My favorite travel tip–take a picture with your phone of your airport parking space number. That way you won’t spend hours wandering around the airport garage searching for your car (been there–it is not awesome). This also works with hotel room numbers.

What advice do you have for someone who’s interested in doing what you do?
Business travel can be full of new experiences, fun people, and learning opportunities. But it can also be exhausting, lonely, time-consuming, and extremely difficult. Before your first trip, spend some time researching ways to make travel easier. There are a ton of resources online these days, and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Make it easy on yourself and learn from the mistakes and experiences of others.

One big thing that I have learned is that when I travel, I am not in control. This has made me much better at going with the flow. Who wants to be the obnoxious, demanding passenger? Anytime you travel you are bound to encounter every kind of person, some having good days, some bad. On any trip things can go wrong and not work out as planned. Start with accepting this. Getting angry or anxious ultimately only hurts you. Roll with things, and enjoy the trip you’re on!

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