a little over two years ago, i'd just landed the job i currently work, and was serving out the remainder of my final two weeks waiting tables at the restaurant. a woman about my age came in alone, and sat at a table for one in my section.
we ended up chatting and as i suspected, she was in tucson on a work trip. i told her that i had just gotten a new job and that travel would likely be required and relatively frequent. her advice to me was to stick with one airline to actually accumulate some frequent flyer miles. she also suggested that when possible, to try and take the time to do little things to indulge yourself while traveling. she suggested getting a manicure, or ordering a glass of wine when i'm out to eat alone again.
and i wish i could even remember her first name, to give her credit, because she was totally right. i pretty much only fly southwest, because a) they're efficient, b) they're usually the cheapest anyway, and c) when i signed up, their program allowed you to rack up a free flight the most often. (within a year of traveling, i had a free flight for my summer vacay. having my work travel pay for my vacay travel?? yeah buddy.)
and the little indulgences were a great tip too. while i've never been much for manicures, i do like the occasional glass of wine, though not lately. and on this trip, my indulgences were more like a bottle of lavender chamomile bubble bath for the second night i had to stay in hotel on day 10. or later, when working a 9 day stretch, my little indulgences looked like an iced venti chai latte from starbucks, especially on days 12, 13, and 14 of this two week trip.
and it looks like this ... right now ... me spending $5 for wifi on my flight back, so that i can indulge in blogging what's on my mind, (and in facebook and twitter to keep me company) while i wile away the four and a half hours it takes to get from tucson to baltimore. i'm usually too cheap to pay five bucks for wifi (or for a tea drink, for that matter) ... but to be honest, traveling for work can really suck sometimes. and in the grand scheme of my travel costs, i can usually eat a little more cheaply, and end up breaking even. and after all, if it takes my mind off of the fact that i'd rather be in my own bed than sleeping alone again, and it helps me to feel good about this part of my job, so that i don't cringe every time there's a conference or a meeting that requires me to not just be there electronically ... then it's totally worth the $25 per trip.