Traveling in style

I’ve never been a corporate business type. As I joked to someone, I was always more likely to be the person designing the meeting folder rather than being one to sit at the table during the presentation reading it. On most days you’ll find me here in my little home office, wearing comfy clothes, no shoes. I think better this way.

My job now does involve some travel. This week, I was in DC for a meeting. I’m learning that in the medical world, “a meeting” doesn’t have to mean 3 or 4 folks sitting around a conference table having a conversation. It often means 100 or so folks in a hotel ballroom, PowerPoint presentations, panel on the dais and all the coffee you can drink out of gleaming urns on the side of the room.

I attended my first of these “meetings” this week. Even better, the meeting organizers paid my way. I can get used to this. First of all, they bought me a business class seat on Amtrak. Would you believe I *never* sat in business class before? We’re a nonprofit and it’s my responsibility to save money wherever I can. The difference? The seats are roomier and you’re guaranteed to get a seat with an outlet.

Here’s a tip for when you’re traveling on an Amtrak regional train in coach: Look for a car with blue seats. Blue seats = power outlet. Even in coach. Red seats = no power outlet. Riding in business class also gets you free beverages from the snack car. Nice, but the real benefit is pre-boarding. At DC’s Union Station you have to line up to get on the train (like on an airplane) and it can take forever to get through the line and get your seat. Business class riders get on first. No line. I was sitting there in business class, in my power suit, reviewing notes from the meeting and I felt like a little girl playing dress up. So not me.

The big treat was the hotel the meeting organizers put us up in: The [Mandarin Oriental]( Oh. My. Gosh. I’m far more used to hotels that advertise “Kids eat free every Tuesday!” than something like this. Stunning. Posh. Ridiculously expensive. The bathroom was amazing. Separate shower with one of those rain faucets, plush robes, LCD HDTV, chaise lounge, turndown service and incredibly comfy bed. I could get used to that. I’m just glad it was on someone else’s dime.