Work Trip: Phoenix, AZ & Washington, DC

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 Phoenix, AZ, and Washington, DC, was on the agenda this week. The trip was a two-city, two-night stay and to be honest, I knew this was going to be a doozy going into it.

Sunday – Prepare/Plan/Travel

When I travel for work, I always try very hard to limit the impact that my travels may have on my family. Because our kitchen and house are fully-functioning now, I was able to cook two meals in advance for John and George (Goulash and cornbread and tuna noodle casserole) – solidifying great options for them to have for dinner while I was away (they also had other leftover options in the fridge). I also did some loads of laundry, organized and cleaned the house, and made a run to Whole Foods for additional dinner options and other groceries.

I purposefully scheduled a late flight that day so that I could maximize my time with my family on Sunday. Fortunately, this gave us time to do our normal Sunday activities – exercise, pool time, family lunch (we met the Rosenbergs at Pico’s!), naps and playtime. Here’s what my evening looked like after dinner…

7:30 PM – Left Casa Contour for IAH and a gas station pit-stop for fuel.

8:05 PM – Arrived at Terminal E.

8:15 PM – Through security in a snap thanks to Premier Access. The Pre-Check line had a 30 minute wait.

8:20 PM – Picked up snacks – 2 bottles of water, a small container of gummy bears and some wasabi peas – to supplement the fresh grapes and apple I brought from home. I always buy/bring snacks and eat them when I need them – sometimes it’s a snack, breakfast, lunch, etc. The point is that I am always prepared with healthy options if/when I need them. In my world, planes are delayed, meetings run long and…shit happens, so planning ahead is essential. On another note, I love the Cibo Express Gourmet Markets at IAH (and other airports). They always have lots of healthy options and new items each time I visit. They also carry sparkling waters – an item that is sometimes hard to find in airports.

8:25 PM – Retreated to the United Club to chug some water and to catch part of the Copa America Final. The Club was packed with lots of people doing the same thing.

9:10 PM – Boarded flight with ease. The plane wasn’t full so the process moved quickly.

9:52 PM – Plane took off after a brief delay.  Service was great on the flight. Since most people were sleeping with their overhead lights out, I didn’t work (I would have needed my overhead light) and instead watched a few episodes of the Americans.

10:20 PM – (Two hour time change in AZ). I was outside within a few minutes of landing and my Uber was there within 5 minutes. Paul, my driver, was a nice man and a safe driver.

10:35 PM – We arrived at the Sheraton Grand and check-in was quick. I was in my room unpacking and getting ready for bed in no time.

11:00 PM – In bed. Lights out.

Monday – Meetings/Travel

The West Coast time change (2 hours earlier than my Central time) kills me. Truly. I slept well, but not long enough.

4:55AM – Up before my alarm. I checked my emails, and on John and George, before getting out of bed.

5:20AM – I hit the hotel fitness center for my morning workout. I ended up doing a 70-minute cardio blast (4 mile run and long walk).  Afterwards, I returned to my room to shower and get ready. My breakfast was the apple I packed and brought from home.

8:00 AM – Checked out of the hotel and took an Uber to my meeting.

AZ dress

8:30 AM – Meetings. Meetings. Meetings.

10:45 AM – Took an Uber to the Sky Harbor Airport. My driver missed our exit, adding unnecessary time to the journey.

11:00 AM – Miraculously, there was no wait at TSA Pre-Check in Terminal 4. I flew American Airlines (I have no status with the airline) and I was worried that the general security lines would be long. I upgraded myself for the flight (for a cool $49!) before the flight to get “Priority” status, but even the Priority line was 30 minutes long. Oh well, it ended up working out just fine.

As soon as I got through security, I changed into my travel clothes for my 4.5 hour flight to Washington, DC. Planes are so cold these days, that my dress and heels wouldn’t have kept me warm for very long. I also picked up some water and almonds before heading to the Admiral’s Club for some water and a quick snack.

Az club

12:10PM – We boarded on-time and we had the nicest flight attendant in first class. He helped store the bags of all passengers and was friendly and accessible.

12:45PM – We departed on-time and I almost fell asleep during take-off. Lunch service began as soon as we hit 10,000 feet. I started with fresh nuts and sparkling water.

az flight

Then, I was served my lentil and polenta entree with a salad and appetizer.

Az meal

This was probably one of the best airplane meals I have ever had. It certainly wasn’t gourmet food, but it was flavorful and filling. I also ate a few bites of the dessert (carrot cake) that was served. I spent the rest of the flight working and reviewing documents.

7:45 PM – (East Coast Time) Landed at DCA and headed to the Metro.

DC metro

I took the Metro a few stops before we were evacuated due to a smoke emergency. Sigh. I ended up taking an Uber to my hotel. Once I checked-in, I met some colleagues in the hotel lobby, before meeting two other friends for a night walk around the National monuments. We had a wonderful time exploring, talking, and taking in the sights. I also had a brief chance to visit with John and George.

G and J.jpg

I made it back to my room around 10:30 PM and was in bed by 11:15 PM.

Tuesday – Meetings/Travel

I was wide awake at 5:00 AM, so I did a quick 4 mile run down at the National Mall.

linc

No matter how many times I run this route, it never gets old.

mon

After returning to my hotel, I got ready for the day, packed my bags, and did some work.

dress dc

7:45 AM – I met a colleague for a quick breakfast meeting in our DC office. Then moved on to a larger meeting in the office.

Noon – Once my meetings were over, I met a few other colleagues for a quick lunch.

12:45 PM – My lunch group and I walked over to our next meeting where we met all afternoon.

5:15 PM – Once my meeting concluded, I took an Uber to DCA. It took 30 minutes to get there thanks to traffic (my journey was only 3.6 miles!), and I fell asleep on the way. Ha! I was exhausted. Once I got to the airport, I breezed through security, picked up my water and snacks, and made my way to the United Club.

club

To my dismay, my flight was delayed. It ended up being delayed for over 3.5 hours. Blerg.

delay.jpg

I passed the time by making work calls, answering work emails, and walking the terminal for exercise. I also changed into a casual travel outfit so that I could be more comfortable.

on plane

11:00 PM – We finally boarded our plane. Blerg.

11:33 PM – We finally took off. “Dinner” was served and I picked at it. I spent the remainder of the flight watching episodes of “The Americans.”

Meal

1:26 AM – (Back on Central Time) We landed and I had to walk from Terminal B to Terminal E (used a train for part of the journey). This isn’t a long trek, but it’s an annoying one when you are tired and ready to be at home.

2:05 AM – Pulled into my driveway. Major zzz.

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