Down Memory Lane: Life as a Female Business Traveler

Long gone are the days when I traveled with one credit card, my AT&T calling card, Continental, United and Best Western’s paper membership program cards. Laptops didn’t exist. Heck, the internet was just a baby. Cell phones were just starting to come out in their 5-pound brick sizes and my suitcase was labelled with two ‘heavy’ tags. Yes, things have changed since the days of my double-heavy.

I’m now a much smarter packer. No need to bring along my own hair rollers, hair dryer, alarm clock, travel iron and hot pot for making coffee in my motel rooms. Jeez, no wonder my bag was a double-heavy!

Getting an upgrade meant I got a room on the first floor of the motel instead of having to lug the double-heavy up the outside stairs to the end of the exterior hall in the winter. Today I know the first floor of an exterior room isn’t smart as far as safety. Back then I didn’t give a darn about safety – it was all about getting me and my stuff into the room with the least amount of effort. Being parked close to my rental car was the goal, especially since many of my earlier years of travel were spent in Canada and the northern states of the U.S. where snow often hid the windshield of my car.

I’d get settled in, heat up water for a cup of motel-supplied instant coffee (remember Sanka?), and prop up a couple of thin pillows after extracting them from the bed’s typical orange, red and green sheets. I never, ever thought of what hideous things lived on a motel bedspread back then! I would pull over the desk phone if lucky enough for it to have a long cord, or yank harder if I thought it was caught, and dialed 1-ATT-xxxxxxx to call home. Thank goodness for my kids’ voices.

Yes, things have changed a bit. In this USA Today article on Female business travelers find more accommodating world, I and other women travelers share how travel has changed for us over the years.

When I get home from my current business trip, I think I’ll pull out the double-heavy, the travel iron, the hot pot, the hair rollers, the alarm clock – just for old times’ sake – and to finally get it all out of the house!

P.S. I’ll be forever grateful to Marriott Courtyard for their new hotel concept (yes, back then when it was new) where they had hot water spigots in each guest room. For the first time I could leave an electronic gadget (aka my hot water pot) at home. This was the definite turning point in my migration away from the double-heavy!

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