Making the Most of Business Travel

For the first four months of this year, all of my travel has been for business.  While business travel is nowhere near as luxurious as you might imagine, it still feels good to escape Chicago winter, no matter how briefly.  Besides….free miles!  Travel!

O’Hare on my previous trip….the reason I don’t have anything to write about New York, all of the free time I had planned was taken up on the runway in Chicago 🙁

In April, I was invited to attend the customer symposium of one of our technology partners.  I have attended this event for the last 3 years and knew I would be in for a good time.  The only downside to this event is that it takes place over a weekend, so you’re using up personal time.  To make up for the working weekend, I took the earliest flight possible on Friday so I’d have some time at the pool before  the networking reception Friday night.

Orlando and theme parks are not really my cup of tea, but nice hotels certainly are!  I was super excited to be staying at the Loews Portofino Bay at Universal Studios.

I landed before 11am and a car whisked me to the resort, where I was able check in early.  Bonus!  One of my favorite features of any hotel room is outside space.  I absolutely hate air conditioning, so I love a hotel room with a balcony where I can get some fresh air.  This room had a great patio, although at ground level with no screens, so I couldn’t just leave it open.

I immediately changed into my swimsuit and headed to Splendido, the pool bar, for lunch.  After a quick order of fish tacos, it was time to soak up some sun.  The beach pool was great, and not at all crowded as I suspect most guests were enjoying nearby theme parks.

Around 5:00, it was time to head in and start getting ready for that evening’s networking reception.  Saturday would not yield any free time, as we had meetings from 8-4, then dinner at 6:00.  Dinner was at Emeril’s in the nearby Universal City Walk, which was a fun boat ride away from the hotel.  One of my favorite things about Disney/Universal is how easy it is to get around on shuttles and, in our case, gondolas!  After dinner, we were treated to a performance by the Blue Man Group.  Again, not something I’d do on my own, but I was happy to have the experience!


Sunday, I had a strategy in place to get one more dip in the pool!  Our conference ended at 10am, and my car was coming to take me to the airport at 11:30.  I raced through goodbyes and thank-you’s, ran back to the room, into my swimsuit and out to the Hillside Pool for 50 minutes of sunshine before heading back to rainy, cold Chicago.  I gave myself 20 minutes to shower and check out – I made it in the nick of time.

Going to the airport with wet hair?  Totally worth it!