Travel Tips for Attorneys
As the legal industry becomes increasingly global, busy attorneys are flying cross-country to provide on the ground support for trials, discoveries, transactional deals, client meetings and more. Heading out of town for several days of hotel-living and trial prep? Not a problem! Here are some tips and questions you should be asking before, during, and after you make that trek:
Before the flight…
Join every program available.
Most likely, this trip is not the first, nor the last you will ever have. Before deciding to book your flight or hotel room, sign up for frequent flyer programs or hotel membership programs. Even if your firm is covering all costs, you’ll be exposed to upgrades and special offers you aren’t normally aware of.
Most bar associations offer discounts on more than just travel. More specifically, the American Bar Association offers discounts for Ritz-Carlton stays and dozens of other hotels. Check with your state bar association now!
If possible, avoid scrambling for your favorite tie and praying that the cab will get you to the gate before your plane takes off without you. The later you book your flight, the more expensive your trip will be. Book well in advance, at least a week prior, for discounts and higher chance at getting that seat with the extra legroom and wifi!
Be conscious of time zone changes.
If you’re traveling cross-country, book a night flight. You’ll sleep on the flight and wake up in a completely different time zone. Your body’s internal clock will reset and thank you for it later. Also, try to schedule that client meeting or hard-hitting deal negotiation meeting at a time that you know you’ll be well rested and prepared for the grueling work that follows.
Do your research.
Are you going to be staying in a hotel for more than a few days? Make sure when you book, the hotel has everything that you need! Ask questions like:
Do they charge a fee for Wifi usage? Most hotels offer complimentary wifi service, but some often charge an extra fee.
Is there a fitness facility on site?
Does your reservation include breakfast?
Is there shuttle service available from the hotel to the airport?
During your travel…
Don’t forget to charge up your devices! We all have a hard time putting our electronic devices down. As a busy attorney, you need to utilize your travel time to finish up last minute additions to that client memo or review and redline deal documents. The last thing you need is your laptop croaking out on you 15 minutes into that 3 hour flight. Charge up before you leave, and invest in one of those portable wireless chargers.
Airports are always packed with people; 1.73 million people are flying each day and even something as simple as getting through the gates can consume 30 minutes to an hour of your time easily. You don’t want to be left standing at the gate, briefcase in hand, watching your flight take off without you and potentially missing a big meeting.
Avoid checking luggage.
As if going through the gate didn’t already take forever, checking in a bag can delay you even further. Bring a carry on! This isn’t a vacation, you’re traveling for business. You won’t need your bathing suit, I promise. Avoid the extra wait time and the extra fees by packing light.
At the hotel…
Upon check-in, make sure that your rewards number (if any) is attached to your reservation. Every little bit helps towards that complimentary stay or that suite upgrade. Access to the VIP lounge? Yes please!
Schedule a wake-up call.
Even though that app on your phone can do it for you, having a human being call to wake you up is much more efficient, especially when you have a bad habit of putting that alarm to snooze and turning over for just 5 more minutes. Don’t be late to your meeting!
Need more coffee?
Most hotels have complimentary coffee in the rooms via the minibar. If there not enough to keep you up through the night in preparation for court the next day, feel free to dial “0” and ask for more. Customer services rules say they aren’t allowed to refuse your request!
It’s beneficial to stay active and fit, and it’s especially helpful for clearing your mind when you need a break from staring at your computer screen.
Make your hotel room feel more like home.
Sometimes, when deals and litigation matters drag on, you know you’ll be stuck in the same hotel room for weeks. Make it feel more cosy and home-y by adding little things to your room like a picture of your family, or maybe your favorite pillow. Don’t forget to pack those fuzzy slippers you wear around the house so much!
After your trip…
Take care of your expenses.
Did you use your own money for this trip and plan to expense it to your firm? Take pictures of your receipts and keep an electronic copy on-hand. At the appropriate time you can submit all your receipts via e-mail, versus hunting for them weeks later, praying they weren’t accidentally thrown out! Two copies are always better than one, especially if one is digital!