Traveling for work: what not to do

I’m blogging this from a cool Vancouver coffeeshop. Work has sent me on my second trip to YVR this year and I’m so grateful to be in a lovely sunny city instead of my blizzard-ridden hometown. I stayed two nights at the Four Seasons again, and then for the rest of my trip I’m staying with a friend. Last time I was only here for a weekend, this time I’m here for five days because a) Vancouver is awesome, b) work really wants me to use up some vacation time.

Even though I’m on a longer trip and plenty of time to prepare for it, I wasn’t organized at all. This is the busiest time of year at work for me, and I am on no uncertain terms totally burning out. Only a week before I left for Vancouver, I was ambling around Calgary, again on a multi-day work trip. Travel is absolutely one of my passions and with 2013 probably going to be full of even more trips than this year (Toronto, please? And somewhere hot & tropical maybe?), I need to get my act together.

The following is some advice for myself, and other work/pleasure travellers alike…

Do not: haphazardly pack your bag mere hours before your flight, shoving everything you think you “might need” into your suitcase and hoping it’s enough only to arrive at your destination wondering why you packed 6 pairs of shoes and only two shirts.

Do: keep stored packing lists for 3-day, 5-day, and week+ long trips readily accessible so you consult them as needed. I actually do do this… I just apparently don’t ever look at them.

Do not: book your accommodations and travel arrangements days before you leave, hoping that frequent tweeting at the hotel and/or airline will win you the discount you could have had, if only you’d planned better.

Do: check multiple sites for the best rates months/weeks in advance. To date, I’ve booked almost every trip I’ve ever taken, both for work and for personal travel, with Expedia. I’ve always gotten super affordable domestic and international flights.

Do not: assume that because it’s a “work trip” that everything will be paid for by work. Those $185 shoes sure won’t be.

Do: try to stick to your normal eating, sleeping and going-out routine. Your money is not unlimited and your appetite isn’t either. You will find that you really didn’t need a poutine after duck canelloni after all.

Happy travels!


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  1. I can’t wait until I can start traveling. lol. I’ll keep that all in mind.

    • yeahhh I was a mess this trip! Traveling for work is 50-50. I think this time was hard because it came so fast after another work trip, I didn’t have time to recover!

  2. At my former job I had a daily stipend for food and accommodation. Other colleagues chose to use it all and stay in nice hotels to rack up rewards for their holidays. I stayed in cheap hotels and saved the rest. Being able to stay for a few days off after work is great too, as your flight is paid for already so you get a cheap holiday.

    • I get a per diem for my food during the day but I still prefer to eat well. I always use it up or even go over, while other people eat cheaper and keep the extra cash. Not worth for me.

  3. These are all great tips! I used to travel a lot for work, but not quite as much anymore.

  4. Sometimes I wish I had a job that would let me travel for work and then I remember that I don’t want to be at home for weeks at a time… Glad you like it though!

    • I do like it now, not sure if it will always be the case. I’d like to travel to more exotic destinations, Vancouver is getting pretty routine =p (I realize how spoiled that sounds!!)

  5. I hope to someday have a job that pays me to go somewhere (anywhere!). I love that GIFs are making an appearance in almost every post now! Your GIF library must be huge!

  6. We usually get to go on one work trip per year and last year our seminar was in Las Vegas! It was awesome.

    Have a great week!

  7. I can’t wait to travel for work either!!! My company does the travel arrangements for us: we have a preferred airline, rental car company, and hotel.

    • I generally stick to what we’ve used in the past, but I am allowed to book outside the recommendations. So far I haven’t strayed from the usual though.

  8. I travel for work and I’ve done it enough times that my suitcase packs itself at this point, but it’s still an art getting everything into that small bag. As far as eating out goes, my best advice would be to try and eat healthy when you have the opportunity. Eating on the road doesn’t always offer the best options, so taking advantage of healthy food when it’s available is important.

    Thanks for the tips!

  9. Good tips! I have to remember the sticking to schedule thing when I travel. I even pack my workout clothes but I have a hard time motivating when I travel-which I guess isn’t much these days so it’s kind of a non-issue. Have fun in Vancouver. I love that city as well. Used to go all the time when I lived in Seattle.

  10. I used to use Expedia and other sites a lot more, but recently I have found that most hotels give you the same price using their websites or you can submit a “best rate guaranteed” claim and get a lower rate. On top of that you can usually stack promotions with the hotels and gain status and points which lead to upgrades and free stays! Of course I only really started doing this when I started traveling more, if you only do a few weekends away a year it really isn’t worth it.

  11. I used to forget a lot of things on work trips, even my phone charger on a trip to New York. I now have a template checklist in my phone for all my work trips. It works great!

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