Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Breaking Radio Silence

Good morning, all!

I'm sure your lives have felt the gaping hole that is usually filled with my ramblings. Early last week, I was on a business trip, which consumed the majority of my time, and took me away from regular computer time.

Business trips make me feel odd. For several reasons. One of which being that I'm still the kid in jeans, a tshirt and comfy shoes on the plane. I'm traveling. I'm going to the hotel. I may not even be registering for whatever conference it is until morning. I see no reason to where a suit, and get it all wrinkled and smelly before I actually have to wear it.

Anyway, I carpooled to the airport with our Institute director, so I had no out of pocket, to-be-reimbursed mileage or parking fees. That saved me money, and our institute!

That first day was spent traveling, avoiding airport food, and settling into the room/prepping for the next day. For dinner, I wandered around the hotel, and settled on a sandwich in the lobby bar. It was a grilled vegetable sandwich, and I opted for fresh fruit on the side, instead of fries. Overall, the sandwich was quite tasty, and not too terribly expensive. At least as far as hotel food goes.

For the majority of the conference, I stuck to complimentary coffee or tea, and water to drink. Sounds like normal, though. I did make the mistake once of saying "yes" to coffee with breakfast one morning. Ouch. Expensive cup. I gave myself quite the mental tongue lashing for that. On the upside? I made dinner one night out of the hors d'oeuvres at the reception. Not very healthy, but better than going hungry.

I say that, because over the past year, I've spent several business trips obsessed with staying under the per diem allotment for a given city/day. From time to time, this has lead to me not always eating when hungry. (Not necessarily skipping meals, more like eating smaller meals and not snacking. You probably would, too, if your least expensive option was $5 oatmeal. Seriously, $5 oatmeal. I love oatmeal, but none is that good.)

This trip, I escaped the hotel for lunch one day, with several conference participants. A short, maybe 15 minute, walk from the hotel (which was lovely!), was a mall and an outdoor shopping center, complete with restaurants and restaurant patios. We went to a Thai place (love Thai food!), and ordered. This was probably the most reasonably priced and delicious meal I had the entire trip. Wisdom learned here is that a little exploring is not only good for the soul, but also for the bottom line.

One idea I was turning over in my mind before I left was taking oatmeal with me for the mornings. Or at least some granola bars. Something to keep from paying for $5 oatmeal. Somehow, I had it in my head that one could not take food through security at the airport. Turns out, I was wrong. So, for my next trip, I fully plan on taking oatmeal with me, and using my in-room coffee maker to boil water. Or sticking my electric tea pot in my carry-on, as well. I will probably buy a small canister of oatmeal to take, so I don't take a suspicious baggie of loose oatmeal through security. Might break down and take the instant packets, since I'll have no stove or microwave. Still, better than the alternative.

1 comment:

FrugalMom said...

I can imagine that business trips quickly turn expensive. It sounds like bringing the instant oatmeal or granola bars will be a great solution.

I too love Thai food, but I have not found any great Thai places down here in the South, so I have not had any since I moved from NJ/NYC about six years ago.


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