If you are an executive, you’re likely traveling for work – a lot. I used to travel 11 months a year and had to be in 4-8 cities monthly. I have developed efficient travel hacks that have kept me safe even in unpredictable situations.
All the standard work travel tips apply – figuring out a packing system, maximizing your credit card rewards, etc. But as a woman, one should keep a few additional travel tips in mind for safety and maximizing what enjoyment you can squeeze out of your business travels.
Share Travel Details with a Friend or Family Member
While sharing basic itineraries (your flights, hotel stays, etc.) with a trusted friend or family member is a basic best practice for women traveling solo, you can stay even safer by sharing more specific travel details with a designated travel buddy (or two). These days, many travel-related services offer sharing options – Uber and Lyft, for example, allow you to share your drives with someone else in just a few clicks.
Bonus points if you establish a travel-sharing buddy system with one or more other travelers. Keep each other safe by setting ground rules and what expectations your friends should have regarding travel sharing amongst your pair or small group – this way, no one feels like a burden for sharing their travels, and everyone benefits from maximum safety. If you are planning on going on a date during your travels, definitely tell a friend and pick a place that you know to meet your date.
Build Relationships with Restaurants, Spas, and More
Building relationships is crucial to success in any area of life, and it’s what’s gotten you to your high-powered platinum executive traveler status. Keep prioritizing this relationship-building mindset during your travels. If there are cities you visit often, go the extra mile to maintain relationships with the staff of your favorite hotels, restaurants, spas, and other frequent destinations. Ask questions and get to know the front desk staff, housekeeping, security, etc. – these relationships can come in handy in many ways down the road.
For example, I built a relationship with the spa director of a five-star spa on the West Coast, often discussing my upcoming travel and when I’d be back in town to visit again. The spa director knew me so well that she instantly recognized when someone was trying to make a fraudulent couples’ massage booking under my name – because she remembered that I wasn’t going to be in town then, she also called me to make sure but had it been a random spa, I may have seen an unexpected and unwelcome $4000 charge. These small details can be the difference between an average experience and an above-average experience at your favorite destinations across the country.
If you happen to be meeting someone for the first time and something goes wrong, knowing the hotel and restaurant staff can be a life-saver. If the person you are meeting with displays erratic behavior, it would be easy for your already-built relationships to recognize that something is wrong. If it is your first time at a hotel or restaurant, it can be harder to stay safe, with assumptions that both of you are the issue instead of the other person, which can be distressing in an already-troubling situation.
Skip the Hotel: Stay at a Social Club
Social clubs offer better privacy and security, reciprocity lists, amenity spaces (dining venues, meeting rooms, etc.), and offer a superior guest experience than most five-star hotels. While some clubs are ultra-restrictive, many welcome new members, including women. Some clubs are even women-only (Colony Club, Cosmopolitan Club), providing a particularly hospitable environment for solo female travelers. Many social clubs have single rooms with no view that can save you and your company hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on travel. Let’s face it: a city or water view does not do you much good if you are there for work.
Many social clubs offer state of the art athletic facilities, spas, and programming. One club I stayed at had both Vice President Mike Pence and President Obama giving talks back-to-back. Something for everyone. Another program I was able to enjoy included a behind-the-scenes tour of Sothebys before a tiara auction and I was able to meet the prima ballerina in New York before the opening night of the ballet.
For example, a club I had reciprocity at in Washington D.C. has some neat features; at night, they lock the doors promptly at 11pm, and only the front desk could buzz you/members in. Gone are the days that I have to worry about checking if someone is hiding in the bathroom or going to open the door when I’m asleep. Staying at a social club brings peace of mind.
Frank Harmon, President of the University Club of Chicago agrees,
“In the realm of travel, we often pursue the ideal trio: convenience, comfort, and safety. Yet, let’s embark on a deeper exploration of these elements. While five-star hotels hold an undeniable allure, replete with exceptional experiences, they frequently accompany a hefty price tag and the critical aspects of safety and security can occasionally find themselves in the shadows.
Picture this: within the vast opulence of a luxury hotel, it’s easy for an individual to seamlessly blend in and wander through grand lobbies and hushed corridors, potentially posing a security risk, especially if they can mimic the comportment of an ordinary guest. The transient nature of hotel clientele makes it arduous for the most vigilant staff to maintain watch over everyone.
Now, let’s pivot to the realm of private clubs, where the narrative takes a remarkable turn. From the front door attendants to the front desk clerks and security personnel, they possess an intimate familiarity with their members. When a guest arrives, they stand out distinctly and are readily identified. This is the distinct advantage of the club ambiance – an elevated tier of security that imparts a reassuring sense of tranquility.
Private clubs are not merely hotels; they represent exclusive sanctuaries extending their accommodations to members, sponsored guests, and even individuals from other private clubs through reciprocal arrangements. In essence, you enjoy the same top-tier comfort and convenience, coupled with an unparalleled sense of security.
So, when faced with choosing the ultimate haven for your journeys, the answer gleams with clarity: a private club where luxury, convenience, and, above all, peace of mind converge seamlessly.”
A few different clubs for you to check out include The University Club of Chicago, The Jonathan Club, The Balboa Bay Club, Soho House. Traveling to a different country? Social clubs with a hotel option also exist in most major countries including Spain, France, Mexico, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.
Business travel can be taxing, but investing effort into maximizing your experience by staying safe, building relationships, and finding excellent social spaces can significantly impact your journeys.