Anatomy of a Business Trip to NYC

I have been traveling for business a long time.  From weekly trips to the same location for months on end (Toronto, Chile, Wichita, New Jersey) to the occasional international trip for a couple of weeks (Nice, Sao Paulo) to a day trip (Montreal, Munich).  Mercifully, I have rarely been involved in the one-city-per-day-on-a-given-week – which I am grateful as that is truly loaded with all sorts of travel hell.  Business travel may sound glamorous but most people will tell you it is far from it.  It can be grueling, frustrating, fun, life-interrupting, rewarding – and often all at the same time.

As I was flying home yesterday from my most recent business trip, I’d thought I’d break down a sample, short business trip.

Destination:  The Big Apple.  Can one complain?  The days were beautiful if very cold.

Empire State Building, New York City, NYC, Manhattan, blue sky, clouds, architecture

Picture perfect day!

Companions:  2 colleagues, not necessarily flying together

Purpose:  Meet two companies who are partners.

Duration:  The trip was to be two days worth of business meetings.

Airport of choice:  LaGuardia.  Pluses:  It is a little closer to Manhattan, easier to get to.  In addition, bad as the airport is, it is small and manageable.  The flip side is that Delta flies better planes to JFK with larger business class cabins which seemingly would improve the odds of my getting my complimentary upgrades and seats that are much more comfortable in business class.

Class flown:  On the way up, no complimentary upgrade:  economy, exit row window.  On the way back, upgraded right before boarding to bulkhead window.  Bulkhead not my favorite but better than coach!

Cost:  This all got decided a little over two weeks ahead of time but me being part of the traveling group was decided a little over a day ahead of the 7-day advance purchase of the ticket so the flight from Atlanta to NYC ran about $490.

Lodging:   I was trying to find a hotel that had a good rate and close to at least one of the offices we were visiting and likely not too far from the places where the others were staying.  None of us stayed in the same hotel but ended up within a block or two of each other.  I stayed at a boutique hotel from Marriott’s Autograph Collection.  Downside:  no executive lounge.  Upside:  they gave you a breakfast voucher to the bistro that connects to the hotel which ended up being quite a good deal.  And the room was not as small as I typically expect when I hear “boutique hotel.”

Friends seen:  This business trip was likely to not afford me free time to see people I know including two cousins who live in NYC.  However, I could not just not see anyone so I booked a flight for the night before the meetings and made sure my arrival would allow me time for dinner.  So I called one of my cousins who I knew lived close by and I went to have dinner with him and his wife.

Travel hassles:  Zero.  Yep, you heard it.  I have shared before my pet peeves about inflight experiences but none on this trip!   It was a close one, though, as the morning of my arrival day, NYC had been blanketed with snow/sleet so flights that morning from Atlanta had been cancelled.  The afternoon flights proceeded without issue.  And one big reward:  since many people stayed home, heading into Midtown from LaGuardia at 6 PM took all of 23 minutes as there was NO traffic out and about!  My one concern heading into this trip was that I needed to be home early Friday night and, knowing LaGuardia and its track record on on-time departures, I was worried my Friday evening would be ruined.  The flight left on time and I was home by 5:30PM -> success!

Dining experiences:  My cousin and his wife took me to Stanton Social on the Lower East Side.  We enjoyed a small plate dinner.  The French Onion soup dumplings were awesome as were the barrio-style taquitos, the chicken and waffle, and my hot chocolate shot (dessert).  The next evening, the folks we met with in the afternoon took us to a pub called Puck Fair, which ended up being about a half mile from I had eaten the night before so it turns out my dinners were centered around Houston St.  Puck Fair is supposed to disappear in a few months as those buildings will be razed for new development which is a shame.  The pub, which maybe has been around for a decade, is made to look ancient lending it great pub ambiance.  For the second night in a row, my dinner was was small plates.  This time shredded pork sandwich sliders, mini burger sliders, sausage rolls, curry French fries, cheeses, and they were all delicious.  That and 4 pints of Guinness.  We had a great time hearing stories and getting to know each other.  Of course, hanging with my cousin and his wife was far more enjoyable but I was glad the second night wasn’t a stuffy business dinner – far from it!

Business:  I had never been in NYC for business which surprises me after a long career in consulting.  So it was cool to see NYC through slightly different lenses than I was used to.  The business objectives of the trip were accomplished which is important since the nuisance of travel for a short visit would have felt worse had the meetings not been productive.  But they were, I learned a good bit, and it is good to connect faces with names and voices.  I am glad the trip took place.

On the “even better” category:  Because I was upgraded on the way back, I was able to get a larger tray table which makes working on the laptop so much easier.  That and my glass of wine made me very productive so all the to do’s out of the meetings were taken care of en route home so these to do’s will not pile on to my regular load of work when I return to the office on Monday.  Success!

So, this trip is one for the books now (or for the blog??)!

Do you travel for business?  Any stories worth sharing (as this one did not offer the usual drama of airports, loud fellow passengers, delays, etc.)??

 

Comments

  1. I have to agree with you on La Guardia. Feels decades behind he times. Sounds like you had a good trip though!
    karl recently posted..T-Mobile international plan tested and reviewedMy Profile

  2. Enjoyed reading your post. I’ve never been on a business trip but I’m currently in NYC and can agree with you that it is really cold 🙂 This story isn’t too dramatic, but we took the train to get to NYC from Long Island and it got delayed for 2+ hours due to the snow.
    Jonathan recently posted..External Battery Review: RavPower Element 5600mah ReviewMy Profile

    • Jonathan, it may not be dramatic but stuck for 2 hrs due to a train delay is surely frustrating! Hopefully, you are having/had a good time in the Big Apple!

  3. Greetings from a fellow business traveller. It is good to hear that your trip went smoothly and the free upgrade on the way home is always a bonus 🙂

    I fly on business most months and it is international travel. I’m currently in Australia for 2 weeks (I live in the UK). I arrived at my hotel at 2am yesterday morning. I’m at work today riddled with jet lag so it can be quite a challenge.

    I am fortunate though in that many of my trips involve around a week (though some are 3 days) at a location so I can adjust to the time. However arriving late Sunday then leaving late Friday or early Saturday can mean that I see little to nothing of the location, only hotels and offices.
    The Guy recently posted..Massage In China – 10 Tips And What To AvoidMy Profile

    • Traveling for work and no chance to see the area stinks. I’ve had trips like that and they just are no fun for me.

      I used to travel to Chile from the U.S. very frequently and did the Sunday-Thursday travel routine for a few weeks. The routine was: drink enough wine so I could sleep on the plane (I don’t sleep well on planes), get to the destination, shower, eat breakfast, and begin work day. It was grueling (needless to day, I changed that routine). However, I am not complaining because I can only imagine how grueling your trips between the UK and Oz are!

  4. I’ve always said I’d like to travel for work, but I do realize there would be plenty of times where it would be lots of work and little time to see anything.
    Lance | Trips By Lance recently posted..Weekend Review: Atlanta NBA Road TripMy Profile

    • Yes, Lance. I wish it were always more fun than it typically is. But even in this short trip, at least I went to two eateries and experienced a new hotel. (I always do look at the bright side!)

  5. My business travel are not as exciting as yours and do not require over night stays. No dining involve unless you are hungry and a fast food restaurant happens to be on the way… and you do not dine with clients. It does required addressing safety, assessing risk and ensuring that the well being of children are not being compromised.

  6. You were SO lucky!!! For years I had to travel 2-3 times a week, sometimes on business class, sometimes on economy (really random) and luckily max flight time was around 2h. Frustrating at most times – because there were always delays. Always. And when you arrive somewhere, especially when you decide to take a 6.30am flight, you still have to be fresh as a daisy and endure a whole day’s work, and more often than not, a business dinner.
    After a couple of years, I started to fly the day before, when the schedule permitted it – I would rather land at 6pm and risk actually missing dinner (when I landed at 9 or 10pm), but at least I got my sleep!
    @mrsoaroundworld recently posted..My hOtel: Beverly Wilshire, Beverly Hills @beverlywilshireMy Profile

    • Ana, I agree – the 2-3 times a week, even when business class is a drag! The downside of travel for me is the airport stuff and delays. If it were just the plane ride, I wouldn’t have much of a problem! And I did overnight flights from Atlanta to Chile over 20 times in one year – that was a 9.5 hr overnight flight – and then upon arrival, go to the hotel, shower, eat breakfast and be ready for a long day at work. I think I aged 3 yrs in one!

  7. I find business travel to be most manageable if I can do direct flights. My experience last week was Atlanta to Ottawa. You can’t get there from here on a direct flight, and Delta doesn’t go to Ottawa any more, so I was on Air Canada for the first time. Scheduled for the first flight out (6:40AM), the flight was cancelled due to mechanical issues. I will say AC was great with rebooking my colleague and me on later flights. Thankfully customs was short in Toronto this time, though, or we would have had a very tight connection. Coming home things were good, although I decided I will be doing NEXUS and Global Entry, since I’ll be making this flight with some regularity. The 3:20 AM fire alarm one night in the hotel was an added bonus. I think what makes business travel less appealing to me than travel for fun is less flexibility in the schedule – or, potentially bigger repercussions- due to delayed or cancelled flights. Still, doing the travel only occasionally and no longer every week makes it easier to deal with all around.
    Ashley(The BookFetish) recently posted..A Fall of MarigoldsMy Profile

    • Ashley, Global Entry is phenomenal. I joined it in early 2010 and have never looked back. Really. Because I don’t have time! I zip right through every thing! 🙂 I agree that the repercussions from travel can be quite disruptive. I agree that weekly travel is so… so… 1990s!

    • Oh, and thinking about it all being so 1990s, I do think the advance of technology since the 1990s has had a huge impact in travel. Think of the days before email, the Internet, Skype, etc. I would think about it… if I could remember it 🙂

  8. I agree. No one can complain in going to New York. A business trip can be turned into a vacation as well especially in this place. From dining experiences to the great tours in the Big Apple, wow! That is just pefect. I wish to spend a holiday again in New york and bring my children to and share great moments here. Thanks for sharing!

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