Travel Tips For Young Professional Women
This past Easter weekend I had the amazing opportunity to travel for my first medical conference. It was such an eye opening experience, not only because of everything I learned at the conference, but also because of the experience of traveling independently. Before this experience, I had only ever traveled with my parents. Therefore, I took the opportunity to learn from the many mistakes I made this weekend and compiled my top 5 travel tips for young professional women:
1. Get to the airport at least 2 hours before your scheduled flight time
There are many things that happen between getting to the airport and boarding your flight. You need to get your boarding pass, check your bags if you have any, get through security which often takes a long time, trek the mile from the security line to the gate, and then finally you get board the plane. You need to allow ample time in case anything goes wrong. If not, you will literally end up running to the gate like me.
2. Make sure to pack your makeup
Please double and triple check that you have your makeup bag, especially if you are a black woman like myself. Depending on the area where you are traveling, if you forget your makeup it will be extremely hard to find anything to match your skin tone. My older sister unfortunately forgot her makeup bag and we had the misfortune of being in an area that was not very heavily populated by black people. My sister could not find anything in her shade and was rocking a natural look all weekend.
3. Pack one to two inch heels
I actually heard this from a recruitment officer from a medical school. She said that she was tired of seeing young women come to interviews in ballet flats because these shoes tend to look more casual and they are overdone. Get some short heels that are comfortable to walk in. Not only will you look and feel more confident and professional, but you will also slightly improve your posture, which is always a plus.
4. Have extra money in cash and on your credit/debit card
Always have extra money with you because you never know when expenses will sneak up on you, and you don’t want to be stranded. Due to the place that my sister and I traveled to, a lot of money was spent on food as the hotel didn’t offer free breakfast, and the price of food was a lot more expensive than we were used to. Not only that, the hotel ended up costing more than anticipated, and traveling around the city required hailing many cabs and taking many Lyfts. Research where you are going and budget wisely, then add extra on top of that budget.
5. Properly research your hotel
Please thoroughly look into the hotel where you will be staying. I am a medical student and got hotel suggestions for the conference from some staff members at my school. When my sister and I arrived at our hotel, this place looked like a glorified hostel. Many of the rooms shared a hallway bathroom and did not come with mini fridges or microwaves. It wasn’t about being “bougie”; it was about practicality. If we had looked for hotels with mini fridges, microwaves or kitchenettes that also offered free breakfast, a lot of money could have been saved on food instead of having to buy each and every meal. Also, for mornings when you’re rushing to get to an event on time, having to wait for others to get out of the shared bathroom is absurd. Another viable option is getting an Airbnb, although I personally have my own reservations about doing so.
These are the top five things I wish I knew before attending my first conference. Although there are many other practical tips that I learned, such as having an appropriately sized handbag and making sure your identification is easily accessible at the airport, these five things are the things that had the most impact on my weekend as a whole. I hope other young professional women will find these tips helpful.