Now let’s face it – we’re college students. The most traveling we do on our own, other than at the beginning or end of the school year, is to West Campus for a burger. Most of us have never had to fly, stay in a hotel, or get around an unfamiliar city by ourselves.
Why does this matter? Well after you’ve used all those nifty contacts and your stellar resume to get some internship or job interviews, you may find that the company you’re interviewing with wants to fly you out to their offices. Exciting? Yes. Easy? No. I recently had an experience with this myself, while interviewing for a summer position, and I’d like to share with you the three key points I learned while on the road.
1) Print multiples copies of your itinerary – Seriously, this is your lifeblood while traveling. Your itinerary carries all the information about your flight times and locations, your hotel, the location of your interviewer’s offices, etc. You REALLY don’t want to lose it. Papers get lost. Phones die, or can’t find service. Do yourself a favor: make multiple copies and save yourself the headache.
2) Pack light – While packing light may seem fairly obvious, I find that it is really easy to start piling things on one at a time, until a small load becomes a 40lb suitcase. Just don’t do it. Look at what you’re bringing and ask yourself “is the essential to have”. These trips aren’t about comfort; they are about interviewing for a position at a company. You probably don’t need your box set of Planet Earth, even if you will have some time to kill in the hotel room.
3) Take taxis – You may be shocked to hear this, but you really should take a taxi when you’re interviewing in a new city. You may know that New York or Portland is supposed to have great public transportation. You may want to save the environment, and hate the idea of taking a personal car. You may just not want to spend the money. Take a dive, and call a cab. The chance of getting turned around, getting lost, or losing some piece of your luggage is infinitely higher when you’re trying to navigate a new public transit system, possibly while jet-lagged or late at night. When you come back for pleasure and aren’t under the same kind of time crunch, take the time to explore! Just don’t do it when you’re in the already stressful business-travel situation.
Hopefully those three tips will help get you through your business trip! Strap yourself in, because it is a hectic, tiring, and fun journey. Best of luck with your interviews, and travel safely!