I’ve continued to get requests for details and tips about my work travel, so I’ve been sharing some details about these trips when I can. I have also been asked for details about how to travel as a working Mom. I will work to incorporate more of these types of details, and I generally hope to post more in the future about my business trips . If you don’t see answers to questions you might have, please feel free to comment and ask.
A trip to Chicago, IL, was on the agenda this week. The trip was a two night stay and called for me to attend a VIP conference and conduct a flurry of side meetings. This was not my first overnight trip since Hurricane Harvey, but it was my first out of state and overnight trip.
Sunday – Prepare/Plan/Travel
As George has gotten older, pre-trip preparation has become much easier and streamlined. But the Harvey situation has creeped in and made things a tad more complicated. Oh, well. Easy come, easy go, right?
I made breakfast (biscuits, eggs, and sausage) and dinner (pasta fagiloi soup) on Sunday morning for the guys to have while I was away. George and I also swung by Whole Foods to pick up fresh fruit and a back-up dinner meal, just in case it was needed.
I also made sure to do laundry over the weekend, to pack George’s school bag with all of the required necessities, to tidy up the house, and to lay out (by hanging them in a certain place) George’s clothes for the rest of the week.
I also packed some snacks for my trip, including a mix of almonds and cashews and fresh fruit. For those wondering, these are my typical go-to snacks for work travel.
But let’s back up to the play-by-play (since some folks have asked about these details).
5:00 AM – I couldn’t sleep, so I did some work before heading to the gym for a long walk. I really like working out on travel days because it helps calm my nerves. It also gives me a chance to watch the news while doing something for my self – win/win. I also swung by our house (not rental) to check things out. Once I got home, I packed my travel snacks and began prepping for the day and trip.
7:00 AM – I woke G up for the day and he immediately asked for breakfast. Specifically, sausage, eggs, biscuits, and some fruit. While he ate his breakfast, I had some fruit and tidied up the kitchen and emptied the dishwasher. I also spent some quality time catching up with George. I also prepared a soup for the guys to have for dinner that night.
8:45 AM – Once the kitchen was clean and bellies were fed, I took a shower, got dressed, and finalized my packing.
10:30 AM – John, George, and I left the house bound for our church where we attended the 11:00 mass.
12:30 PM – We drove to Rice Village and had a great lunch at Coppa. George has been a hungry boy lately and he completely devoured a kid’s cheese pizza. I had my favorite Tuscan Kale salad and shared a side of roasted chickpeas with John and George. Thanks to generous food portions, we left with a great deal of delicious leftovers for the guys to have at home.
1:45 PM – Once we got home, George and John prepared for nap time and I changed and finalized my packing (again).
2:00 PM – I had a few personal phone calls while I made the drive to IAH. I also stopped to get gas once I got close to the airport.
3:00 PM – I pulled into the Terminal C parking lot and immediately found a spot on the Sure Park level. I walked into Terminal C security and breezed through TSA Pre-Check. I made a few more personal calls and took advantage of a few moments of peace and quiet.
3:45 PM – I stopped at Cibo (my favorite snack store at IAH) in Terminal C to pick up some snacks – a supersize bottle of my favorite water (Evamore) and a package of GF pretzels.
4:15 PM – We boarded on time and I settled into my upgraded seat (in first class).
4:45PM – We took off without issue and meal service began immediately. I was happy to get sparkling water and some warm nuts because at this point, I was getting hungry.
For my entree, I had the grilled chicken salad, which was good. I skipped out on the dessert and bread and instead focused on drinking a lot of sparkling water.
I spent the remainder of the flight working – primarily catching up on emails and administrative tasks.
7:30 PM – Once we landed in Chicago, I took the train downtown (Blue and Red lines). It was a 50 minute ride to my final destination and cost me $6.00. Score!
8:45 PM – I arrived at the Four Seasons Chicago (site of the conference) and received an upgrade to a larger room. I unpacked and got organized while watching the end of the Emmys and getting caught up on the news.
10:30 PM – I crawled into bed and passed out.
Monday – Meetings
For the first time since our vacation to Hawaii (and Hurricane Harvey), I slept for more than 4 hours at a time. It was glorious.
6:00AM – I spent the first part of the morning working on emails and watching the news.
7:30 AM – I went downstairs to the hotel gym to get in a long walk on the treadmill and to watch even more news coverage.
8:45 AM – Post workout, I jumped on a conference call and quickly ate the breakfast I had pre-ordered before I went to workout.
9:00 AM – I got ready for the day while handling another conference call.
10:00 AM – While walking down Michigan Avenue, I held weekly calls with two colleagues. I also popped into Room and Board to talk to someone about ordering replacement furniture for our home. I also picked up some fabric swatches and a lot of great design ideas.
11:00 AM – I held another call while waking back to the hotel. Once I got there, I had two meetings.
12:00 PM – My colleague and I walked over to Cafe Spiaggia for a lunch meeting. If you don’t know, this is one of my favorite Chicago restaurants and I was delighted to be there. Naturally, I ordered my favorite dish – the handmade bucatini. It was fabulous, friends. Truly. My colleague and I also shared a delicious watermelon, mint, and pistachio salad.
1:45 PM – My colleague and I walked back to the hotel for a series of productive afternoon meetings.
5:30 PM – We walked over to the Hancock Building for a reception at the Signature Room on the 95th floor. The views were incredible.
After about an hour, we took advantage of the beautiful weather and walked about a mile to our dinner commitment.
7:00 PM – We met friends and colleagues for a nice dinner at Prime and Provisions. We had a pretty spectacular steak dinner with a variety of classic sides (creamed spinach, mashed potatoes, macaroni, etc.). We also shared a few desserts, including an amazing chocolate and peanut butter pie. Fortunately, the conversations and fellowship were fulfilling too.
9:45 PM – My colleague and I walked back to the hotel and purposely took the long way to enjoy the night air. After an indulgent meal, it was also nice to walk off some of the “full” feeling.
10:30 PM – We briefly hit the hotel bar (there was another reception happening) before returning to our rooms. I did a a bit of work before crawling into bed at 11:15.
Tuesday – Meetings/Travel
5:30 AM – I was wide awake at 5:30, so I went down to the gym for a long run + walk while watching the news. Thank goodness for 24-hour gyms and 24-hour cable news networks. After returning to my room, I got ready for the day.
7:50 AM – I met my colleague and a business associate for a breakfast session at our conference. Afterwards, my colleague and I had two meetings before I headed upstairs to join a conference call, change, and to finalize my packing.
10:30 AM – I checked out of the hotel and made my way back to O’Hare via the “L.” It took me about 50 minutes to make the journey to the airport. The ride was easy and uneventful. And it was also $3.00. Score!
11:30 AM – The TSA Check Point had a small wait, but I passed through quickly. Once I cleared security, I waited in line to pick up some Garrett Popcorn for George.
12:15 PM – We boarded and took off on time (12:50). I spent the flight working on emails and documents. We were also served a light snack – a fruit and cheese plate. I devoured mine because I didn’t get a proper lunch that day and totally forgot to pick something up at the airport.
3:13 PM – We landed ahead of schedule and I was able to pick George up from school.
The trip to Chicago was eventful and productive and, as always, I am grateful for these professional travel opportunities.