A couple of folks have asked about my work travels, so I’ve begun sharing some details about these trips when I can. Since none of my trips are the same, I guess it might be interesting to see how a working-mom handles traveling consistently for work.
A two-night trip to Las Vegas was on the agenda this week so that I could represent my organization at a conference. This was my fourth work trip to Las Vegas this year – lucky me!?
Monday/Tuesday – Prepare/Plan
When I travel, I try very hard to limit the impact that my travels may have on my family. As such, I also make sure that John and George have several good meals at the ready and that any logistics that I can handle are done in advance (packing school bags, organizing and cleaning the house, making sure laundry is done, and prepping things for easy school drop-offs and pick-ups). I devoted about two hours on Monday and Tuesday to getting all of these items squared away. With John’s very busy schedule and demanding work life, anything I can do to make solo-parenting easier is always greatly appreciated.
Wednesday – Travel Day/Meetings
Wednesday morning was anything but business as usual at the house. George and I both uncharacteristically slept late, leaving us no time for our morning walk. So, instead of our normal routine, I immediately made George breakfast, changed and dressed him for school, and sent him off on his way with John. I didn’t have much time for anything once George and John left the house, but I did manage to tackle to two last-minute work assignments that needed to be completed ASAP.
Afterwards, I showered and got ready for the trip. Since I had an engagement as soon as I landed, I needed to be completely presentable for my travels. I don’t typically like traveling in professional clothing for air travel (I prefer looking more business casual than straight “business”), but sometimes it simply can’t be avoided.
I headed to IAH at 10:45AM and arrived around 11:15 AM. Parking and security were a breeze (I have Pre-Check), leaving me ample time to pick up my bottled water and emergency snacks.
Our incoming flight arrived just a few minutes late, so boarding for our flight was just a few minutes late too. Due to a catering issue, we sat at the gate for an extra 20 minutes while the issue was resolved. We ended up taking off at 12:20PM.
I was upgraded on my flight – a nice benefit for the 3.5 hour experience. Who doesn’t love more leg room, free entertainment, in seat power and a low passenger to flight attendant ratio? Lunch was served and I had the Southwest chicken, corn and rice for my entree. I usually order the salad option, but it wasn’t offered due to the previously mentioned catering snafu. The meal was very so-so, and I was glad that I had an apple packed in my purse.
We also had chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Per my in-flight routine, I also guzzled lots of water (both sparkling and still) in order to stay hydrated for the journey. I spent the majority of the flight working, even though the wifi was pretty hit or miss throughout our time in the sky.
Once we landed at LAS (at 1:15PM- later then anticipated due to two delays in Houston) I took a taxi to the Encore – the conference hotel for this trip. The journey took less than 15 minutes and was $30.00.
I arrived at the hotel at 1:45PM and immediately went to my first engagement. Afterwards, I checked in at the conference registration table then headed to my room for a few conference calls and to answer emails.
I met some of my colleagues a few hours later and we attended a conference reception together. Afterwards, we had a late dinner at Sinatra at our hotel. Sinatra serves Italian food and we all savored the homemade bread, pastas, and sauces. It was oh so good. We sat outside by one of the outdoor fireplaces and it was a perfect night for alfresco dining. Afterwards, my colleagues hit up another late-night reception and I returned to my room to tackle a bit more work. Hey – you do what you have to do on work trips, despite the fun and exciting locale you might find yourself in.
While I was traveling, I got lots of updates from John about George. I was happy to hear that they were doing well. I missed them so much!
Thursday – Meetings/Leisure Time
Thanks to the time change, I was up and at ’em at 3:30 AM. Blerg. The fitness center didn’t open until 6:00 AM, so I spent some time walking around the Encore and the Wynn. There was so much to see that the time flew by. I also picked up a few things for George and John. Once they gym opened, I did a quick run.
My work day started at 7:45AM with a breakfast meeting, and then I spent the next six hours in back to back meetings. Later, I spent some time in my room responding to emails and on conference calls. I was able to sneak in a 1 hour nap late in the afternoon and it was glorious. I also spent some time moving up my flight home so that I could participate in a few video calls Friday afternoon.
I walked over to Caesar’s Palace and did a bit of shopping for John and George before meeting my colleague for dinner at Mesa Grill. We had a great dinner and really nice outdoor walk back to our hotel. I spent a few hours working from my room before packing and heading to bed for the evening. With everything happening in the world, I have been spending late nights watching the news. Maybe that’s why I haven’t been sleeping well?
Friday – Travel Day
Thanks to the hotel’s noisy clubs, I was up at 2:30AM. There’s nothing like being wakened by the sounds of hip hop and screaming. Oh, well. I took a shower, got ready, and made my way to check out. Since the clubs were closing as I was leaving, there was a massive line for taxis. The valet let me cut the line and I was pretty sure the drunk club goers were ready to assault me. Oh well, being a hotel guest has its privileges, no?
My taxi driver was incredibly pleasant and she got me to the airport in about 12 minutes. The airport was manageable for very early in the morning, but I was so glad that I have Pre-Check. Since the United Club wasn’t open yet, I immediately purchased my emergency bottle of water and a piece of fresh fruit for the flight. The gate was super empty, so I took some time to respond to emails and to get a few trip documents organized.
When I booked my flight, I used a status upgrade to upgrade myself to First Class. Since it was a 3.5 hour flight, I figured this was a good use of an upgrade! We boarded our flight at 5:15AM and took off at 6:05AM.
They served breakfast on the flight and I chose the quiche with potatoes and fruit. My breakfast also came with a cinnamon roll. Everything was pretty tasty, except the potatoes – they tasted like flavorless rocks.
I spent the majority of the flight catching up on bad TV. Everyone else in business class had their overhead lights out and was snoozing, so I figured it would have been rude to turn on my light and work away. We landed at 10:30 AM without incident and I was home at 11:30 AM (I made a quick stop at Whole Foods on the way to Cliffwood).
I had very successful meetings in Vegas, ate great food, spent quality time with colleagues, and got a lot accomplished on this trip. The minimal trip delays and issues helped to make this trip a really great experience.