#AskIvanka: Business Travel
Ivanka answers your questions—and a few of our own—about traveling for work.
Ivanka’s work in development and acquisitions for the Trump Organization means that she is away on business four, five, six times a month. We asked the seasoned traveler to answer your questions—and a few of our own—on traveling in a professional context.
I'm taking the red-eye but meeting colleagues when I land. Any advice on dressing comfortably (so I can sleep!), but still appearing professional?
A well-cut jersey dress will give you tremendous mileage on a business trip—you don't have to iron it. On an overnight flight, oftentimes, I will wear something a bit more polished to the airport, then change into leggings and a sweater when I'm ready to sleep during the flight. The jersey dress won't wrinkle, so you can fold it up and stow it away, then change back into it when you land.
Heels or flats?
I always think that flats are a better option when flying. Putting the obvious, comfort, aside, you also decrease the likelihood of needing to remove your shoes at the security checkpoints. Stilettos have the spike within the heels that often triggers the metal detector.
I take a lot of quick trips and the packing takes as much time as the travel! How can I be more efficient?
I have an in-flight kit that's always packed and ready to go. I use my Truffle pouch and fill it with Well-Kept's device-cleaning wipes (I use them to scrub down everything, my seat included), organic lavender hand sanitizer, melatonin drops (they're all-natural and help put you to sleep), Visine and an eye mask. Someone gave me Natura Bissé's Diamond Mist. It's something I'd probably not buy for myself, but it's great for travel. Lately, I’ve also been obsessed with Josie Maran’s Argan Oil. It’s a fantastic mid- and post-flight pick-me-up—just a couple drops on my face and my skin appears instantly more dewy and hydrated. Other essentials include a pack of gum (the only time I'll chew gum is when I'm on a plane) and a small jar of Aquaphor. In the dry air, I'll use Aquaphor for my lip balm and hand moisturizer.
I'm traveling with my boss. Should I book my seat next to hers?
It depends. It can be super productive to travel with a colleague, especially on quick trips. I take the train every week to D.C. for construction meetings at the future Trump International Hotel and I ensure our team travels collectively so that we can spend the time meeting and reviewing procedures in advance. On longer trips and overnight flights, I prefer to sit alone so I can catch up on emails, watch a movie or rest. It can be awkward to sleep next to a colleague on a long-haul flight!
Is it appropriate to extend a business trip for personal reasons?
Don't get into a pattern where you're regularly extending your trip—especially midweek. If the trip concludes on a Friday, it's more appropriate, but I wouldn't get into the habit of always turning your business trips into personal vacations. People will notice and it doesn't send a great message about your priorities.
There's an earlier flight, with a fee to change. Since my company’s paying for it, it’s fine, right?
No! Just because it's not your money, doesn't mean someone's not paying the bill. People will cancel or change flights last-minute, with disregard to the cost, just because it's slightly more convenient. A meeting will conclude two hours early and they'll see if they can get on a flight that will cost the employer $300. I also see people booking travel on a carrier they like because they can use the mileage personally, without it having the most competitive rates. When I sign off on invoices, I notice things like that—likely your boss will, too!
I'm traveling with my co-workers for the first time. What are some common rules of etiquette that I should be aware of?
Take the lead from your boss in terms of where you're staying. Offer to stay someplace less expensive. If you're flying with co-workers, volunteer to give them a lift to the airport. Obviously, don't take off your socks or put your feet on the seat in front of you. Have a clear itinerary of what you hope to accomplish on your trip. Use your time at the destination productively.
Do we have to take all meals together?
Again, take a cue from your boss. If you're there multiple nights, you don't need to do something together every evening—unless your boss wants to! Be sensitive and always volunteer—you don't want to look like you're escaping to your room at the first opportunity. Pause to ask yourself what's the right thing to do. Unless the whole group is together, you should feel free to do your own thing. Be smart and trust your instincts.