Work Travel: Los Angeles

First Work Trip of the Year: Los Angeles 

I’ve continued to get requests for details and tips about work travel, so I’ve begun sharing some details about these trips when I can. 

A trip to Los Angeles was on the agenda this week. Thankfully, it was a quick one-nighter, so I wasn’t away from home for that long. Since I haven’t flown for work since November, this was a great way to ease back into work travel for 2016.

Wednesday – Prepare/Plan

When I travel, I try very hard to limit the impact that my travels may have on my family. However, because we are still living in a hotel, my prep list was limited to packing school bags, doing a load of laundry at our new house, organizing and cleaning the hotel room and buying fruit and milk for meals.

Thursday – Travel Day/Meetings 

Once George was up, I fed him breakfast,  changed him for school and took him to school so that John could run to the new house. George had a meltdown when I dropped him off (because I never drop him off in the morning), but he recovered when he saw his friends and teachers in the classroom. Even still, I was rattled.

Post drop-off, I ran, showered and got ready for the trip. Since I had to attend a casual event as soon as I landed, I took some liberties when dressing for my travel and left the high heels and suits at home. Thank goodness for wedge boots and skinny jeans! I headed to IAH at 12:45 PM and arrived at Terminal C parking around 1:20 PM. I took the inter-terminal train to Terminal B so that I could complete my registration for CLEAR. This process took less than 5 minutes and I was awestruck with how fast I speed through security and how well the program pairs with Pre-Check. If the CLEAR coverage works for your travels, I highly recommend making the investment in the program.

After making it back to Terminal C, I picked up some bottled water and a few contingency snacks for the flight. We boarded without issue and had an on-time departure. I was upgraded to first-class when I booked my ticket, and I was grateful for the extra room and a reclining seat for the long flight.

Once we took off, I settled into an episode of Serial, sparkling water and some warm nuts.

to iah

For my lunch entree, I chose the grilled chicken salad entree. It came with a side of fruit. The salad was very tasty, especially with the jalapeño ranch dressing.

lunch

My meal was accompanied by multiple glasses of sparkling water in my quest to stay ultra hydrated. I also enjoyed the warm cookie that was served later in the flight.

cookie

We landed on time and I rented a car. Thanks to the infamous LA traffic, it took me a while to make the trek to my hotel. Blerg.

LA from sky

Once there, I spent a few minutes catching up on emails before heading out to dinner with a colleague/friend. We had a great time dining at the restaurant at the Standard Hotel. The food was great and the ambiance was quiet and low-key. I spent the rest of the evening checking emails and prepping for the next day’s meetings.

Friday – Meetings/Travel Day

I woke up at 5:30 AM after a very restful night of sleep. Amen. I hit the gym for my last workout of the week – a nice 4 mile run. Afterwards, I quickly got ready before taking a few calls and walking to Whole Foods to pick up a freshly made juice. I walked to our downtown LA office for my meetings and was there from 8:00 until 12:30PM. We had very productive meetings in the morning and I made it back to my hotel just in time to grab my bags and car before I had to jump on a conference call. My call lasted the entire journey to the airport, and thanks to traffic, I had time for another call while riding the shuttle from the car rental center to the airport. After quickly passing through security, I picked up some bottled water and fruit before setting up in the United Club for – you guessed it – a few more calls. While I talked, I was able to sneak in some snacks as a quasi-lunch.

uc

My flight boarded and departed on-time. I was upgraded on this leg of my journey too — loyalty does have its privileges. After some sparkling water and warm nuts, I had the chicken jambalaya entree for dinner. Honestly, this entree was delicious even though it looks pretty sketchy – I was happily surprised.

dinner

I passed on the chocolate cookie and instead guzzled more water in order to stay hydrated. I passed the rest of the time on the flight by watching episodes of the Real Housewives  of Beverly Hills.

We landed without incident, despite the bad weather in Houston. Although G was asleep when I got in to the hotel, I was glad to be in the same space as him and John.

What’s in My Bags?

Interestingly, I also get lots of questions about packing, suitcases, carry-ons and how to pack. I think there’s no other way to answer these than to let you peek into my bags.

Carry-On: Thanks to John, I have a brand new carry-on bag, complete with a zipper close. After almost six years of work travel, I now prefer a bag that zips on top and that has pockets on the side. I know this sounds very particular, but this combination just works for me. This bag is smaller than my other travel carry-on bags, but since I’m generally trying to travel lighter these days, I think this will work out for me.

co bag

My carry-on bag (a personal item by airline standards) holds my electronic chargers, phones, make-up bag, headphones, wipes (always a must-you can use them for everything), magazine, iPad and small clutch.

co contents

Roll-aboard: My roll-aboard suitcase has been in use for the past four years and will be in need of replacement soon (thanks to lots and lots of wear and tear). But for now, it works and I’m still using it. Everything inside has its own pouch for a particular purpose- toiletries, running shoes, clothing, more electronics (charging cords, Mophie charger), etc. I prefer having my personal items in pouches because it helps to keep my items clean and it protects my items from prying eyes should I need to open my suitcase in a public space. Since I was only traveling for one night and because all of my meetings called for casual dress, it was much easier to pack for this trip than most.

RA

A few extra notes:

  • I roll my clothes when I pack them into pouches – it helps keep them wrinkle free and also saves me packing space.
  • I travel with a mini lint-roll brush when I travel with suits or a jacket/blazer.
  • I keep cash and an extra form of ID (acceptable ID) hidden in my suit case for emergencies.
  •  All of my toiletries are for travel only. It was a costly endeavor to purchase another set of everything, but it really does create peace of mind and ease for travel.
  • I rarely ever check and a bag when I am traveling for work – it’s not worth the time and hassle of going to baggage claim and not worth the risk of not having it “lost” by the airline.
  • All clothing packed in my suitcase gets washed or dry-cleaned, even if I don’t use it. I hate germs and am extra cautious about what I could potentially be bringing home.
  • I always pack exercise clothes. Always. 99% of the time they get used!

Please let me know if you have more questions. I hope this information was a bit helpful!

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