Be careful what you wish for friends.
For more than two years we begged the industry to get “back to normal” so we could resume our in-person networking. As we sat holed up in our home offices, we longed for the days where we gathered in person to laugh, share, and learn together.
Now we’re officially back to in-person and back on the road. For some of us, we’re running and flying at a pace that would make our pre-COVID travel calendars seem like child’s play.
Granted, I’m not complaining. I’m grateful that in-person meetings have returned, and I enjoy travelling, but all the fantastic commitments are making my calendar look more like an exploding pinata of colours and cities. Just as I’m unpacking from one trip, I’m getting ready for the next!
And somewhere along the way, I have completely forgotten how to travel. I have to relearn all those skills I formerly took for granted. So this season, I’m “back to basics” and adding a few new travel habits given what I’ve learned over the past few years.
ICYNT (in case you need this…) here are some (new) packing tips:
- Reduce, re-use, recycle – Your outfits that is. Ensure each piece you’re packing serves a few different purposes or occasions. Can your travel day outfits double as casual evening pieces? Or can your modest heels be worn over a few days?
- Plan for disaster – You only need to look to the local news to find story after story of about piles of lost luggage taking over the airport arrivals area. Avoid the anxiety and secure some piece of mind by packing an extra outfit or two in a carry-on piece (and ladies, put your makeup in there too – that stuff is expensive if you have to replace at your destination!)
- Pack a few extra snacks – A few trip delays and extended tarmac time has clued me into this new habit. Plus, many hotel restaurants are closing shop early and may not be available for room service when you arrive. And that local Starbucks? They closed hours ago! Until our industry’s staffing shortages level out, finding a place to eat when you get to the hotel at 10 PM could be limited. Pack some energy bars, nuts, and crackers to get you through to the morning.
- Pack enough juice – Limited service carriers like Swoop don’t have plug-ins at your seats, so travel with fully recharged phones and laptops. Invest in a portable battery pack to keep you from racing to an electrical outlet once you land.
Over the past few years, I’ve developed some new “mindful” habits; activities that helped keep me sane during the rough-and-tumble months. I’m planning on keeping these new habits, and I’m taking them on the road with me!
- Find time and space to exercise – When the gym’s closed, I looked to online workouts. These are easy to do in your hotel room. Better yet, enjoy the fresh air and go outside of the hotel before hitting up your first meeting.
- Choose your diet wisely – It’s terribly tempting to go “all out” at receptions to make up for all the lost experiences from the past few years (and venues are excited to roll out their new creations), but the indulgent action stations are going to make it tough for me to drop those pandemic pounds. Choose your options, and portions, wisely when eating on the road.
- Breathe – I discovered meditation recently, as a way of calming my pandemic uncertainty and anxiety attacks. Practice your meditation and breathing exercises wherever you find yourself, from your plane, to your Uber, and into the hotel lobbies and lounges.
If you find yourself on planes, trains, and automobiles this season, jumping from event to event, try your best to remember why we love what we do. There is immense value in in-person meetings, its what we’re all about, and I for one am so thankful that we’re back!
To seeing you soon,
Leanne Calderwood, CMP, is a branding and LinkedIn trainer for the meetings, events, and hospitality industry. She believes our industry is built on experiences, and that experience should start with our professionals.
She serves hospitality professionals and teams through her online courses and consulting services to help guide #eventprofs out of the shadows and into the spotlight using their branding strengths and stories.
When she’s not talking shop, you can find Leanne drinking tea, making jam, and gardening at her home in Kelowna, B.C. with her husband, two teenage sons, and her dog, Farls Barkley.
You can learn more about Leanne over on her blog at www.leannecalderwood.com.
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