How to survive a long business trip

I have been living out of suitcases for a couple of months, with another 6 weeks to go. Here are a few tips for staying sane if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Deal with packing light 

If like me you have to dress conservatively for work, your suitcase will be jam packed with very boring clothes. This is depressing. Especially if by some miracle you do get to go out somewhere nice on your day off, and you realize that because of the predominance of black and white in your wardrobe, most of the outfits you have brought with you are likely to result in getting mistaken for a waitress and hailed for drinks (obviously there is nothing wrong with being a waitress, but even waitresses don’t dress like waitresses on their days off).

I have learned that there is great scope for regret in dispensing ‘style tips’. I am still haunted by a very embarrassing video footage from my childhood in which I claimed that I sometimes put black lipstick on just half my lips (I forget if it was a top-bottom or left-right split).  However I do think I can help with this a little:

Accessories are your friend. Whack on a pair of striking earrings and tah-dah! you don’t feel quite so much like a lawbot (or whatever type of bot you are).

I got this eye-catching (sorry) pair from Aldo. They were 20 bucks but they have others that are just as nice for less.

Earrings, Aldo, $20

My other favorite trick just now is to get little silk(ish) scarves to tie in your hair. I loop mine around a top knot like a scrunchie. Or you can tie them onto your boring black handbag etc. I notice H&M have a nice (if a little overpriced) Erdem one if your taste runs to logos. I’m happy with little ten quid ones from Zara (shhhhhhh! No one can tell).


I know this is so 2014, but you totally need to download the Headspace app. In case you’ve managed to dodge the mindfulness trend over the past 5 years, Headspace gives guided meditations. The benefits of these are two-fold:

  1. You feel all zen-like and non-corporate. It FEELS like self-care.
  2. Although it’s categorically not supposed to be used as a somnifacient (which is a posh word I’ve learned for ‘thing-what-makes-you-sleepy’), good lord does it work as one. So you can catch zzzzzzzzz without downing that second (ok fourth) glass of wine.

On the same note: if you can wrangle shipping a yoga mat to your hotel room: do it! If nothing else it looks good propped up in the corner.


I know you’re super busy, but don’t be a dick, learn a little about where you are. I am in St Lucia so I have been reading about Caribbean history, and also finding out a bit about kreyol. I feel confident you could also learn some interesting things about, say, the Excel center in east london, or Milton Keynes.

Gratuitous pool shot of Caribbean history book

Creative endeavours

Find time to be creative. It will make you feel more human, and help give the old noggin a break from the quotidian. Try using your hotel room time to write a blog (see what I’ve done here) or plan some pottery, or sketch.

OR you could just get shitfaced on your own and sing along to you tube videos on your iPhone. That’s fine, too, as a creative outlet.

Wisdom of others

Here are some tips I’ve gleaned from other blogs, which personally I largely ignore but might be helpful:

  1. “Use the hotel gym or go for a jog” (I wish I did this more)
  2. “Packing cubes help keep things in order” (WTF is a packing cube? I can’t even be bothered to google it, it sounds so boring)
  3. “Stay away from alcohol and heavy food” (hahahahaha honestly I’m not sure which two-word phrase makes me happiest: GIN MARTINI or BUFFET BREAKFAST)
  4. “Plan to wear one of your suits on the plane” (just…. no. Joggers all the way. Who wears a suit in a fucking plane for God’s sake. We are not barbarians)
  5. “Invest in a travel document organizer and a cord case to store adapters and leads” (perhaps irrationally, this tip actually makes me feel angry)
  6. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” (Whatever, I can’t go to court dressed as a yoga instructor or steam train driver)

Over and out from St Lucia

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