When I tell people I travel a lot for work, images of some jet setting, first class, champagne sipping executive come to mind. I WISH! It’s more like me trying to figure out what to do with my arms when I’m in the middle seat in coach! When I made diamond with Hilton Honors my mom seemed impressed and asked what that meant. I told her, an extra bottle of water at check in…
There are perks to traveling; more than just the free water. My family has been able to take mini trips without the added expense of a hotel room, because I’m able to use points I’ve accumulated. Travel also allow for a little bit of “me” time, that a busy mom may not otherwise get. So when I am on the road I try to maximize it.
5 Ways to Make Traveling for Work Feel Luxurious:
1) Hotel Freebies
I’m not talking about mini shampoo bottles. Most hotel chains have rewards programs, many of which offer perks at all levels. As I mentioned, being Hilton Honors Diamond has it’s perks. I do get 2 bottles of water at check in but can usually get snacks too. My most recent trip to Atlanta, there was a gift bag waiting in my room with Milano cookies (score!).
Some hotels offer lounges for top tier members. I frequently visit Memphis, and the Hilton I stay at has a Diamond lounge that offers drinks and snacks for free and alcoholic beverages at a lower rate than the bar. Several months ago I was traveling with several colleges and every night we ended up hanging out in the lounge. It was a quiet and more intimate space to talk than the hotel bar. Some hotel chains, such as Drury Inn and Embassy Suites actually have a free happy hour every night for all of their guests! The Drury Inn’s happy hour has so much food, its enough to call it dinner. Great place to stay for families since dinner is basically included, so you could splurge on a nice lunch, which is traditionally cheaper than dinner. It’s a win win!
2) Spa Treatment
Most of the hotels I stay at aren’t fancy enough to have their own spa, so I bring one with me! I especially like to do hair masks since there are usually shower caps in the room. I have a weekly peel I like to do, but somehow when I’m at home it gets neglected. So now I pack a peel pad in my cosmetics bag; I’m far more likely to do it when I’m on the road. Depending on how you feel about taking baths in hotel rooms, a lush bath bomb can cap off the in room spa. If it’s a glittery bath bomb, you may want to leave a tip for the extra work to clean it up.
3) Free Gym
I’m far more likely to go to the gym when it is in the same building then dragging myself to the gym I make monthly donations to. Some hotel gyms have great new equipment that rivals stand alone gyms. In my experience, the hotel gyms are seriously under utilized. Rarely is there another person in there with you. So if there is weight equipment you haven’t tried before, it’s a good opportunity to read the instructions on the machine and try it out without feeling self conscious.
Most hotels make it easy for patrons to enjoy their gym. I’ve noticed, many hotels provide disposable earbuds in case you forget to pack them. They also have begun to stock mini fridges with bottles of water instead of a water cooler. Bottled water is so much more convenient than dinky cups you would have to continually refill. A Weston hotel I’ve stayed at has gym shoes and work out clothes that you can rent from the front desk! Now there is really no excuse not to work out.
4) TSA Pre
Do you want to feel like a celebrity at the airport? On my most recent trip to Atlanta I had to wait nearly 45 minutes in line to get through TSA. There are times when I don’t get to the airport until 45 minutes before my flight! The worst part was living with my decision to choose the slow line and then being next to the TSA Pre folks that wized by. As an early Mother’s Day gift, my husband purchased TSA Pre for me. The process was easy and painless. Even the in-person ID verification took less that 10 minutes. For less than $20 a year (it’s good for 5 years) it is a luxury worth splurging on. No more having to remember to pack socks, now I can keep my shoes on!
5) Free Time
What is more luxurious than time to yourself? I’ve found for me, this is the best time to catch up with friends. I’m not much of a TV watcher, unless you count the Disney channel that streams 24/7 in our house, but if you are, this downtime is perfect for catching up on your shows (hello Game of Thrones on hotel free HBO). This me time is perfect to grab a bite to eat that may be something your family does not like. Sushi is my go-to since I’m the only one that will eat it in my house.
I try to maximize this unscheduled time. One not-so-luxurious thing I do with my time on the road is work late. I catch up on as much work as I can so that I can have more quality time with my family when I am home. They deserve all of my attention when I’m with them. So, in a way, working late allows me to enjoy the luxury of presence with family off the road.