Work Trip: Des Moines, Iowa

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 Des Moines, IA, was on the agenda about a week ago. The trip was a three night stay and to be honest, I knew this was going to be a tough one given the length of time I would be away from my family. At the same time, I was very excited about this trip because it was my first trip to Iowa.

Thursday – 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 (Fideo and beans and a tortellini casserole) guaranteeing great options for them to have for dinner while I was away (they also had other leftover options in the fridge and a few frozen options). I also organized and cleaned the house, made a run to Whole Foods for additional dinner options and other groceries, and got G’s backpack prepared for his Saturday activities (soccer, lunch with friends and Little Gym).

I scheduled an afternoon flight because United offers an easy, direct route at that time of day. Other, less direct options added hours to my day and I wasn’t dealing with any of that.

1:30 PM – Left Casa Contour for IAH and a gas station pit-stop for fuel. Conducted a call throughout the drive.

2:20 PM – Arrived at Terminal C, took the inter-terminal train to Terminal B to take advantage of CLEAR.

2:25 PM – Through security in a snap (less than 2 minutes) thanks to CLEAR. The Pre-Check line had a 15 minute wait – no thanks.

2:30 PM – Picked up snacks – 2 bottles of water and a package of almonds to supplement the apple I brought from home. I always buy/bring snacks and eat them when I need them – sometimes it’s to serve as a snack, breakfast, lunch, etc.

2:35 PM – Took a work call near the boarding gate.

3:20 PM – Boarded flight with ease. The plane wasn’t full so the process moved quickly.

3:50 PM – Plane took off as scheduled. We had an easy flight without wifi. I ended up watching two episodes of Homeland. Note to self: I probably shouldn’t watch anything that intense while flying. 

6:00 PM – Landed early and had to wait for a gate. Once we deplaned, I secured a rental car and made my way to the Marriott Downtown. Check in was easy and super quick.

6:45 PM – I unpacked, organized myself, then headed out to an evening work event.

Friday events

The event was held at the State Capitol and it was fabulous. The event ended with Blue Bunny root bear floats and fireworks.

rotunda

10:30 PM – Exhausted. Crawled into bed.

Friday  – Meetings

I love traveling for work, but conferences are usually withering. Well, at least the types of conferences I attend. To make my life better, I usually kick off a day on the road with a workout.

5:00 AM – Awake before my alarm. Naturally. Watched news and caught up on emails.

6:00 AM – One hour workout in the hotel gym (run + walk).

7:15 AM – Room service breakfast while working and watching the news. Afterwards, get ready for the day.

Friday morning

9:00 AM – Attend conference and conduct meetings.

12:30 PM – Conference luncheon. I’ve never had a fresher salad at a corporate event. So good.

Fri lunch

1:30 PM – Spend the test of the afternoon in meetings.

6:15 PM – Return to hotel. Freshen up before heading to evening event.

9:00 PM – Return to hotel after evening dinner and event. Check email from bed and inadvertently fall asleep. Ha!

Saturday – Meetings

I was wide awake at 5:00 AM, so I spent the morning working and watching the news.

7:00 AM – Walked to the nearby (and infamous Farmers Market. There were over 400 vendors and it was amazing. I purchased handmade jams, mustard, baby items and other food items. I also had a fresh beet lemonade and a breakfast bowl.

FM Col 2

8:00 AM – After returning to my hotel, I got ready for the day and did some work before heading to the conference. I spent the next 5 1/2 hours in meetings.

Sat morning

1:45 PM – I returned to the hotel, changed into more casual clothes, and walked to Fedex to send my Farmers Market goodies and conference swag home. I spent the next hour exploring downtown Iowa. I did some shopping at local boutiques and was able to pick up some goodies for George and my family.

3:30 PM – I spent the next hour or so working and watching the news.

5:00 PM – Had a brief meeting before heading out to the Iowa State Fairgrounds for an evening conference event.

Sat night

6:00 PM – The event at the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds was fabulous. We got to explore the grounds, ride the sky glider, watch hot air balloons, and sample Fair food (corn dog, fresh lemonade, cheese curds, homemade pie and part of a funnel cake). We were also entertained by Three Dog Night. It was a great night.

fair coll

9:30 PM – Made it back to the hotel room, organized, and checked email. I also watched the news.

10:15 PM – Lights out.

Sunday – Travel 

3:30 AM – Scheduled wake up call. Brutal, but necessary. I got dressed, packed, and was checked out by 4:15 AM. I usually travel casually (to be prepared for anything), but I (unwisely) opted for a more dressy look, complete with 3-inch wedge heels.

sunday morning

4:35 AM – I was through security within minutes thanks to Pre-Check. I picked up some bottled water and gifts for George and my twin niece and nephew before making my way to the gate. There were a lot of fellow conference goers there, so there was a lot of chit-chatting prior to boarding.

5:00 AM – We boarded on time, but take off was delayed due to a storm. Blerg.

5:40 AM – We took off 30 minutes late and landed right at 7:00 AM. For some unknown reason, we taxied around the entire airport for another 28 minutes. And once we got the gate, there wasn’t a gate agent.

7:37 AM – I got off the airplane at B21 and had to RUN to my gate at B6. RUN – in my 3-inch wedges – because my gate closed at 7:40 AM.

7:44 AM – I made it to my gate and was the last person on board. Whew! See, this is why I travel dressed casually and why I avoid connections. Blerg. I had such anxiety about that connection.

8:00 AM – We departed on-time and breakfast service began as soon as we cleared 10,000 feet. I had the quiche and fruit entree and it was pretty tasty.

10:35 AM – We landed on time and I made my way home. I repacked, and John, George and I drove to Austin to meet our newest family member – Emma Alexandra (More on this nugget in a future post).

baby emma

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