My career in the music business often required days out of town. Because I was the artists’ manager, I juggled a workload in the office as well as hitting the road with the bands. When I wasn’t on a tour bus, I usually traveled solo from airport to rental car to auditorium to hotel and back to the airport the following day to trek to the next destination. I not only traveled with my bands but also attended out of town meetings, working with other business partners to achieve our career goals.
As a female traveling by myself, I took a few extra precautions. It’s not that I’m not adventuresome, nor am I unnecessarily paranoid. But I had two daughters and a husband at home. My goal was to return home merely exhausted while fully intact. So there were a few safety measures I took that I would advise other travelers to include in their plans.
If your work requires travel, make sure you:
1. Prepare before you leave. I wasn’t always good at this one; there would be days I would get in my rental car and start digging for an auditorium address. Even worse, crawling in that same car (when I remembered what it looked like) at 12 a.m. when the show was over, not having a clue which direction led me to my hotel for the night. Organize all your information before you leave town. Whether it’s on paper or in your phone or tablet, make sure your reservations and destinations are collected in one, easily accessible location. There’s probably an app for that.
2. Think ahead. Since I frequently left a concert in the middle of the night, I made sure when I arrived at the auditorium to park under lights, near entrances, and close to where everyone else would exit when I did. I also never left a building by myself at night.
3. Adopt a hotel strategy. When making hotel reservations, hold the room using your first initial and last name so it is gender neutral. Request a room near a high traffic spot, such as the elevator. Remember that the peephole in the hotel door is there for your safety—never open the door no matter what the person on the other side declares until you look first.
4. Avoid parking garages whenever possible. When it’s the only option available, park near the stairwell or elevator. In a hotel, take advantage of the valet parking service.
5. Be smart with your meeting locations. Schedule business lunch and dinners at or near the hotel where you are staying. Meet in the lobby or at the restaurant.
I truly loved traveling by myself. My family means the world to me, then and now. But a quiet car, a hotel room with room service, and the ability to listen to or watch whatever I wanted on TV became a mini reprieve for this active working mother. My career was meaningful to my life and required I travel, so being wise while being adventuresome allowed me to meet my career goals and also arrive safely home to my family.
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