First Trip of the Year: Harrisburg, PA

The decision to write about the life of a business traveler came after my first trip this year. This post is going to be about that first trip to Harrisburg, PA. I will consolidate information into this post that in future will be separate posts.  But hopefully, it will be enough to set the stage for what it is really like to work on the road.

In mid-January I set out on a snowy Sunday for Harrisburg, PA. My travel plan has to be adjusted because it will take longer to arrive with snow delays. I am hoping that I still get to the city before dark so that I can recon the work site before dark. This is the first thing I learned to do when I started to travel for a living. Unlike most people, I cannot count on knowing how to get to work. Plus, I want to know what types of places are around the work location so I can decide if I have to pack my lunch or not.

Luckily, I get to the Homewood Suites in Harrisburg East before dark.  The great thing about this hotel chain is they have rooms that are basically a small studio apartment. The room has a full-size fridge, two burner cook top, microwave, and some dishes.  This particular hotel is a bit dated but they are doing a renovation. The room is clean and has the basics I will need for this 2-week trip so that I do not have to eat every meal at a restaurant.   Now that I have checked into my room, I can go recon the site and then hit the closest grocery store.

GPS on my phone or as a separate device is an absolute must for me when I travel. My family will tell you that I am useless when it comes to reading a map. I put the address the customer gave me into my phone GPS and away I go. As I am driving, I notice that the part of town I am driving through is really run down. You can tell that at one time this area used to be nice, a lot of store fronts are closed but the signs show they used to be mom and pop businesses that supported a factory that is no longer running. The cute townhomes are run down and in need of some serious repair. The bottom line is there does not seem to be much in the area and I know that I will for sure need to pack my lunch the next day.  But at least now I know how to get to work the next day.

You never know what will be available close to a work location so one thing I always pack is one of those freezable lunch bags. This way I can go the local grocery and get at least basic lunch supplies. As I mentioned before, I am fortunate that this time I am at a hotel will a full fridge instead of a mini fridge. By the time I get done at the store, it is well past dark so I need to get back to the hotel and prepare for my first day with the customer. Thankfully, the hotel has great internet.  But none the less by the time I am done my Sunday is gone, no time for anything fun in the local area.

The next week goes by fast; the work hours are 7am to 4:30 pm. After I leave the customer location, I have meetings with my company, paperwork, and research into customer issues.  But I am hopeful that I will get to see something fun this weekend. As I mentioned in another post, I often travel home on a Saturday so I don’t get to see a lot of local sites. But this time I am staying over a weekend.

Best laid plans, it turns out that this particular weekend drops a lot of snow on Harrisburg, many businesses are closed or have limited hours. Stuck in the hotel…at least I have my computer game 😊

While in Harrisburg I did get to eat at a couple good local restaurants.  Even though I can cook in my room I do treat myself a bit, especially on the weekend when it is nice to escape the same four walls.  One that is worth mentioning is Papa Joes Pizza and Subs; it is walking distance from the hotel. The staff are very friendly, the food is good, and the prices are reasonable. It was a nice place to go to get out of my hotel room but not take the car out in the heavy snow. The Harrisburg trip was pretty typical for a business trip. I have to travel to the city on Sunday, work with the customer all week, go home Saturday. Maybe next time if the weather will be nice and I will get to see more of the city than the run down, forgotten neighborhood the customer office was in. In future posts I will try and get pictures of the cities I travel to. 

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