First week on the road – travel tips and reflections

Last week was my first business trip in Boston for the new job. I figured some of you might be interested in the brief details and at the end I have a travel tip. Let’s dig in!

Sunday

Sunday was my travel day. After church, my family dropped me off at my local airport, a smaller regional airport, and I quickly made my way through TSA security checks, got a coffee (the only coffee options at GSP are Dunkin’ and mediocre coffee at the Thomas Creek Grill) and hung out for 90 minutes waiting for my flight. Next time I’ll only arrive 60 minutes beforehand and reevaluate. GSP isn’t a super-busy airport. I caught my connection into CLT and had to power walk from one side of the airport to the other. I got there, sweaty from booking it from Terminal F to Terminal A in less than 15 minutes, and then waited for a half an hour to board. CLT seems much dumpier than ATL.

Both flights were smooth (I got to move to the exit row on the second flight, so I didn’t have a view but I had all the legroom. When I arrived at BOS, it took over 30m for my checked bag to arrive–from now on, I’m going carry-on only. After a Lyft to my hotel and check-in, I got a mediocre Steak and Mushroom pie at the faux-British pub connected to my hotel and watched the most boring Super Bowl ever.

All the legroom but no view.
This looks much better than it actually tasted. Honestly, for $18 or so, it was okay, but I really missed the kidneys.

Monday

I got up at 4:00 AM and spent time puttering around the hotel room until 6:30. I made my way to George Howell Coffee (one of the coffee shops on my list of places to try, and had a very nice pour-over and a weird egg-arugula-bruschetta breakfast sandwich that ended up being fairly tasty.

The view from my left at George Howell Coffee.
The view forward – GH is an excellent place for both coffee and people watching.

I arrived at my new job at 9:30 AM and was greeted with a lovely display that included a Welcome card signed by 20 or so employees, a decent notebook and pen, a bag full of merch (a hoodie, two t-shirts, beanie, and sunglasses), and my new MacBook. This was super-nice and set the tone for a day of orientations, IT setup procedures, and whatnot. I spent time with my new boss (the head of project management) and I really think I’ll enjoy working for her.

This is how you welcome a new employe. Potential hackers note that I’ve already changed all of the login info from the sticker.

Tuesday through Thursday

There’s no need to give you a play-by-play of my work days. I usually woke up at 5:30, found an interesting spot for breakfast, got into the office by 7:30 AM, worked until 6:00 PM, went back to the hotel to put away my stuff and change shirts, and then ventured out to find something to eat while I read my Kindle. I’d get back in the room around 9:30 PM and fall asleep around 10:30 PM. I’m pretty boring.

Luke’s Trio: mini lobster roll, shrimp roll, and crab roll along with some Clam Chowder. It’s kind of touristy, but it was pretty awesome all the same.
The view from the corner of Summer and Chauncy, a few hundred feet from my new company.

Friday

Friday was a mixed bag. I had a great dim sum lunch with my other boss (my former boss who brought me into the company, but I don’t report to him) and as I was leaving to catch my Lyft to the airport my iPhone sailed out of my hand and hit the Boston sidewalk, shattering the screen. I was able to use it to travel home, but I barely touched it in fear of cutting myself. Flights were okay–I had dinner at the very-touristy Legal Seafood in the airport which was honestly really good.

The flight to CLT was fine but I was delayed for over an hour at CLT because they had to bump 24 people for the flight to GSP. Why? The fuel gauge wasn’t working, so they had to fill the flight with a maximum fuel level–this meant it was carrying much more weight than it normally did for the short 100-mile trip and they had to bump enough people to get the weight balance down again. They first offered $300 in vouchers if you volunteered and they would put you up in a hotel for the night, give you meal vouchers, and fly you out the next morning (no one volunteered), and then they offered $500 and they would charter a bus that night to Greenville. Several people volunteered for this, but 30 minutes later a guy in a suit notified them they wouldn’t be able to get a bus. They finally got enough volunteers by offering $860 vouchers. At that dollar level, I normally would have volunteered, but my brother was in the hospital that day with a scheduled back surgery and my Mom was there with him waiting for me to pick her up and take her to my house.

I finally arrived at GSP, took a Lyft to the hospital, and took my Mom to my house in my brother’s car, and finally got in my bed at 2:00 AM. I slept in until 8:30 AM. All in all, a pretty great trip other than the broken iPhone and the delay. I’m looking forward to repeating it in March.

Bonus travel tip!

If you use fabrics that are quick-drying (synthetics or wool), it’s really easy to wash your socks/undies/t-shirts in your hotel room and let them drip dry on your shower curtain rod while you’re gone during the day. This saves you packing space, as you can by with much less clothing if you’re willing to spend five minutes each day washing. I brought five individual changes of socks/undies/t-shirts, but I honestly would have been fine with three. At the end of my shower, I brought in those clothes and hand washed them with hotel soap and dropped them on the shower floor. After I was dry, I’d wring them out and place them on the curtain rod to dry. They were always dry by the next morning.

I’m never not doing this again. So little effort, less to pack, and I don’t have to bring back stinky underclothes.

What’s your best travel tip? Let me know in the comments below!

4 thoughts on “First week on the road – travel tips and reflections

  1. I’ve traveled so much for work that I seem to just do it on auto-pilot (no pun intended). I guess one thing I’ve learned is to keep your key card in the sleeve the hotel gives you, because they usually write the room number on it… yes, I’ve on occasion forgotten my room number (and floor number) and had to go down to the desk and let them remind me. Also, ALWAYS check the open seats available on your flights the day of…you can often get yourself a better situation on the day of then you had when you booked. (And sign up for the miles plans…I’ve honestly never used them for personal travel, but I’ve flown family to see us several times for free)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good tips! What I normally do with hotel rooms is text my wife with the room number when I arrive in the room. This has a dual purpose of letting her know that I’m settled in my room and it has a place for me to find my room number if I forget it! The hotel I stayed at during this trip (and just booked for my next one) has a digital key in the app which includes the room number. Handy!

      I’m signed up for the miles plans for AA and Delta. I’m trying to figure out if I prefer to fly Delta out of ATL or AA out of CLT. So far, Delta is winning. Also, my next trip has me on United for the flight up, so I’m giving them a shot as well. After this next trip, I’m going to pick one and do all of my flying with them.

      Like

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