Guest blogged by OLSET user and frequent traveler Atiyaa Reed, Manufacturing Engineer for L Brands.
So, I handle product development for the Bath and Body Works candle line and as the Manufacturing Engineer of a billion dollar retail corporation it’s needless to say that I have to travel a lot for work. I happen to also be black, a female and in my 20s, which are 3 things that are unfortunately still quite rare in the general corporate environment, especially at my level. Now, when I say I travel a lot, I’m not talking the occasional trip to see a vendor in my home state (OH-IO baby!), but rather back to back international day trips to do pilots on new candles or run a lab test on new labels before I go to a conference the next day that’s 1000 miles away and then jet back home. I’m a true road warrior. This month, I believe I have successfully spent more time in an airplane than in a car, and while I love that aspect of my life, it’s taken me a few years to get into the grove so I’d like to share what I’ve learned so far with anyone who’s interested.
Firstly, I am a very happy OLSET user. L Brands, our parent company, uses a really huge company to manage our business travel yet we still have to book our own hotels for each trip. This tends to take a ton of time every week so I use OLSET to cut my booking time down heavily when making quick, educated hotel decisions. Since I’ve saved my profile they can recommend me hotels that work within our corporate policy and that for sure have my preferences covered too. Now if you must know I require a few things from hotels I stay in. Some could say my hotel preferences a bit similar to Beyonce’s Rider, but I like to say that I know what I like, and what I don’t and there’s nothing wrong with that!
For instance I hate when a hotel has a weak WIFI signal! This hatred gets amplified exponentially every other time it happens. Come on now, it’s 2014, I find it hard to believe that your WIFI is stuck in 2002 when you charge an arm and a leg to be there. Every hotel and their mother says their WIFI signal is amazing but OLSET uses actual reviews to show me which hotels have positive marks on the WIFI side. This has never failed me over my past 10 or so reservations with OLSET and it’s something that will keep me from every using another hotel booking website.
So after my hotel is booked there is packing for the trip! Now any man reading this knows that a lady takes forever to pack….but not this one! I basically live out of suitcases so I’ve learned one major rule…always over-pack. Just do it. I just throw a ton of stuff in the suitcase, way more than I need and I save time that way. The amount of times an extra pair of shoes or underwear has come in handy for me cannot be counted on the fingers and toes of all the upset Brazilian soccer fans. Now many may argue that under-packing is better on the shoulders or back (like I ever carry my own stuff) but the stress of not having something essential is way worse trust me. Over-pack.
Packing like a pro is vital but so is airport etiquette. No, seriously. This is so widely overlooked by frequent travelers but it can make a world of difference in your day and I’ll explain why. I always try to be as jovial and friendly to everyone at airports, staff and travelers alike, for one main reason….no one wants to be there…even the people going on their honeymoon or best spring break trip ever wish they could blink their eyes and just show up at their destinations. Nobody likes carrying luggage, schlepping from terminal to terminal and being put in harms way with airborne viruses. Because of this, a few years ago I set out on a mission to make the traveling part, the most fun part of my travels….literally.
So when I smile, ask interested questions and talk nicely to a check in agent, I am so pleasantly engaged because they’re not used to this treatment. Most people are boring, aloof, or even upset about something. I have a running % of being upgraded that I will not share but it’s double digits! So take my advice give out good vibes when you travel and you’ll get more in return than you expect!
Ok I’ve blabbed and vented enough. I love travel and I love any tools (like OLSET) that make it easier and more efficient. I hope you travel not just personally but for work as well and if you do, try to always make space to enjoy some me-time! Nothing better.