Travel is a large part of my work as a jewelry designer and entrepreneur. I travel to attend trade shows and to meet with retailers, and I travel to both scope out new and foster existing relationships with the independent artisans and collectives where I purchase the raw materials for my designs.
I’ve been travelling regularly for over a decade now, and over that time have learned a few things about travelling affordably, conveniently, and safely. I’d like to share some of those tips with you.
Whenever I travel, I try and stick with the same air provider chain. My preference is Star Alliance, but I’d encourage you to choose the one that feels personally intuitive and puts you at ease during the booking and on boarding process.
There’s a very important reason I always book with the same air provider chain, and that is aeroplane points. If you’re a frequent flyer, collecting aeroplane points could mean you’ll be getting a free flight sometime in the near future.
Once on the plane, there are a few things I always bring in my carry on:
I’ve fallen in love with noise cancelling wireless headphones. I actually can’t believe how amazing they are. If you need to focus, or just want to escape the chatter of the airplane for an hour or two, you can turn them on and cancel out all the audible distractions around you. They’re also great for watching a movie or listening to music without any background noise. Oh, they’re also fantastic for reading.
I always bring a water bottle and travel coffee cup for convenience reasons, but also for health reasons. Airports can get very dry, and being dehydrated makes jet lag even worse. Keep yourself hydrated before, during and after your flight so that you can arrive at your destination clear headed and energized (source).
Whether it’s the middle of summer or the dead of winter, I always bring a big blanket scarf to keep myself warm and comfortable during the flight. If it’s too warm to wear, you could use it as a head rest.
Once you Arrive
Before arriving, I recommend familiarizing yourself with your destination airport and figuring out how you’re going get to your accommodations.
I usually have lots of luggage if I’m travelling for a trade show (including my displays and merchandise), so taking a shuttle or a train is not a reasonable option.
We don’t have Lyft or Uber in Vancouver (where I’m from), but many other cities do. I always look up in advance how much my ride from the airport to the hotel should cost, and I make sure I have the appropriate amount of cash on me — in case my ride doesn’t take debit or credit.
I particularly recommend Lyft. They conduct background checks on their drivers annually (source) to protect your safety. If Lyft is offered in the area, they’re always my first choice.
Did you know that you can also collect reward points at hotels?
There are a few hotel chains I stay at consistently to collect their points and to receive the benefits associated with their reward membership. Many hotel chains have special offers for guests with a reward membership — like free breakfast and (eventually) a free night stay.
It’s worth taking the time to choose the hotel chain you find most comfortable. Once identified, join their reward program and use their service consistently every time you travel. Points really do add up quickly.
But if my preferred hotel chain is far away from my work venue, then I will always look for the closest/most affordable option. As often as possible, I like to be walking distance to my principal work venue. When travelling for work, convenience and safety are my number one priority.
In My Suitcase
Do your best to check ahead and look at the projected forecast of your travel destination. Use their predictions to pack appropriately, but also be prepared for anything (within reason). I always pack a water proof light weight jacket, comfortable shoes to walk around and explore in, and some workout gear.
The workout gear is actually quite essential for me. If I’m doing a trade show, I might find myself sitting or standing in one place for a really long time. After a day of work, it always makes me feel better to move my body, and stretch myself out.
I hope you found this helpful. Travel is a big part of my life, and is a frequent topic on this blog. If you liked this, you may also like:
For my very first backpacking trip, I connected with a good friend (and seasoned traveller) to explore Colombia. I was in University at the time, getting my degree in Biology. I hadn’t even started to consider a career as a jewelry designer, although looking back… I think this experience may have ignited a flame.