AFTER BECOMING A JET SETTER, THESE ARE MY TOP FIVE LESSONS LEARNED.
After taking on a role where I spend pretty much 50% of the time travelling, there are a few things I wish I knew from the beginning.
As a Millennial already on her third "real" job at 26, celebrating my one year anniversary at Amazon in a few weeks is kind of a big deal. But, let me tell you, this has been the fastest year of my life! And, I am pretty confident I can attribute this to the amount of time I have spent on the road traveling over the last 12 months.
Everyone says traveling for work is not as glamorous as it seems, but I say, enjoy it while you can! Here are my top five learnings from beginning a jet setter (if I can call myself a jet setter, I am not sure what dictates that term?!).
1. Change you life and apply for Nexus!
You would think the volume of traffic in the drop off area would provide a fairly accurate prediction about the length of the upcoming customs and security line. Do not be fooled! Many a times I have been caught in a 2 hour + line up and telling myself it is a good strength training exercise to be shuffling my feet as my two carry on bags act as shoulder weights. It only makes matters worse when you see the Nexus Elite stroll in and breeze through the lines. Border security should seriously considering offering a Nexus appointment center beside this security line and start rolling in the dough.
Anyways, I finally applied for Nexus, scheduled an appointment (Fort Erie was like a 3-week wait versus Pearson at like 10 weeks +) and received my card in the mail. $50 for five years is a ridiculously low rate and next time you go through security and customs, you too will be a member of the Elite.
2. Pick a souvenir theme and stick with it
You gotta start your souvenir collection on trip #1 to make it legit. Pick something relatively small, cheap and useful. While I debated about shot glasses, I much prefer drinking tea to vodka, so I am now the proud owner of a number of state/city collection Starbucks mugs - Phoenix, Seattle, Ohio, Chicago, Washington, Nashville to name a few.
3. Diversify your money
Mothers are the best and mine woke up at 11:30pm to authorize the use of her credit card for my hotel room purchase in Seattle after I left my wallet in the rental car in Phoenix... Luckily Amazon fed me well during my training session (like free bananas and ice cream!), the hotel provided decent free tea, Uber covered my transportation needs, room service was delicious and the trip had me home in two days.
I have learned my lesson to diversify my money! When traveling, especially in another country (with different banks), keep a second credit card in another bag, ensure Apple Pay is activated on your phone, hide some cold hard cash in your laptop bag and memorize your mother's number :)
4. Get your carry on game on point
Those who travel often, never check bags - they always take two carry-ons. It took me about four trip before I dramatically minimized my shoe wardrobe and clothing options to make this happen. This allows you to check in online and not have to visit the airline counter and once you are off the airplane, you are good to get on your way -no waiting at the carousel. My essentials include:
5. Make the most of your travels and explore
While sometimes I travel to our head office in Seattle, stay downtown and live the life, most of the time I travel to areas outside of major cities - like Joliet, IL outside of Chicago or Carteret, NJ outside of New York. While many days when I travel I work 12-14 hours, I am getting better at pulling back at least one day and trying to do something different. Most people would be significantly more adventurous than I am, but I am not a big fan of driving in unfamiliar places, but I make of the most it in my own way.
Once in Phoenix, I stayed over the weekend to make the 8 hour round trip trek to the Grand Canyon, and in Seattle when a conference ended early, I went up the Space Needle and took a few selfies. Meanwhile, in Carteret recently, I was more than happy to devour dinner at Olive Garden and then head to the local mall.
But, make sure to have support at home
There is no way having a job where you travel significantly is possible without amazing support back home. My fiance also travels for work, albeit, not quite as often, but he has been an absolute rock this year. Whether it is picking me up at the airport, doing a rush load of laundry when I have a short turn around between trips or face timing me at odd hours in different time zones - having him backing me up makes all the difference.
I think you can tell I am enjoying the work travel at this time in my life but, there are a lot of downsides at times - including missing family and friend events, jet lag on Saturday mornings and less time with Collins (because ya'll know I love my cat!). This lifestyle will likely not be a great fit forever, but for now, I am going to enjoy it while it lasts!
Until next time.