HOWTO: Simulate the “I’m on a business trip” experience

Did you ever find yourself longing for that “I’m on a business trip” feeling?  Of course you have!  After all, I know old timers like some of my co-workers are just dyin’ to “get back on the road” and “check into one of those fine business hotels” we all love staying at.  (Gosh, I know I sure do.) 

Well, it just so happens that while on my last business trip, I determined that there are some quick and easy steps that you can do right now in the privacy of your own home, to attain that extra special, “I’m on a business trip” feeling… and you don’t even have to go to a business training conference to do it!

1) HOTEL NETWORK EXPERIENCE
Install IE Throttle (http://www.uselessapplications.com/en/Application/IEThrottle.aspx) on your PC.  This will limit the bandwidth that your PC can consume at once.  This will properly emulate that crappy network connection your average business hotel has preventing you from establishing a stable VPN connection and doing any real work.  Resolve that the connection is bad enough that you might as well tether your cell phone to your laptop because you’ll probably get better bandwidth that way.  Remind yourself later to complain to the hotel front desk to have the daily Internet usage charge removed from your bill.

2) HOTEL AUDIO EXPERIENCE
Download and unzip this .WMV file of a generic “LodgeNet Menu Selection” recording (available here: http://www.evilkoala.org/download/Kurt’sLodgeNetRingtone.zip) and play it.  Hit CTRL-T within Windows Media Player to have it loop infinitely in the background.  You will find the auditory ambiance will be similar to when you accidentally turn on your business hotel’s TV but you forget to change the channel from that default Welcome screen and leave it running “for background noise”.

3) HOTEL FOOD EXPERIENCE
Go online to http://www.labite.com and order some food for delivery.  Doesn’t matter where.  Order something extra fatty.  Like a burger and fries.  Or maybe fried chicken.  And throw in a shrimp cocktail because I know you want one.  Now wait 45 minutes for the food to arrive at your door.  Once it arrives, notice the exorbitant “delivery charge” added to your bill on top of the 20% tip you’re expected to cough up after the meal arrives 30 minutes after it was served… cold and soggy.

4) HOTEL TEMPERATURE EXPERIENCE
Go to your thermostat and crank that puppy up to 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Or 90 degrees Celsius if you’re Canadian.  Next open up all the windows in your home.  Go ahead.   Break ‘em wide open.  Let so much outside air into the room that when the cold front from the outside meets the warm front from your heated environment, it actually starts to rain in the middle of your dining room.  Be sure wear as little as possible to increase the opportunity of catching the infamous “traveler’s flu” from the constantly fluctuating temperatures in your home away from home.

5) HOTEL LIGHTING EXPERIENCE
Go to Costco and buy 6 lamps each with some inane level of illumination… like a 7 watt bulb.  Now disable all the other brighter, more practical lights in your current living space and set these lamps in inconvenient positions all about the room.  Force yourself to turn them all on or all off just to get some decent lighting to work in.  For extra credit, make sure the bulbs are cheap piece o’ crap fluorescent replacements to simulate that synthetic corporate concern over the energy conservation.  Now remind yourself that all they give a damn about is the electrical bill they have to pay.

6) HOTEL BATHROOM EXPERIENCE
Drop all your towels on the floor of the bathroom and just leave them there.  Imagine that this is the universal signal to the hotel maid tomorrow morning that you want “a fresh set”.  Do this every day of the week in protest for ridiculous rack rate you have to pay for your room.  $229/night?  That’s the supposed glorious corporate discounted rate?  Are you frickin’ kidding me?  That’s like $20 less than the rack rate posted on the back of the closet door.  Hell, I’ll be damned if I don’t get a fresh set of towels in my room every day at that rate.  And while I’m at it, I’m gonna leave all the stupid 7 watt lamps on everyday too when I go down stairs to go to general session.  And if I remember, I’ll leave the water running full blast too.  (Incidentally, try to disregard the fact that you’re actually at home, have to pay the electric/water bill, and that there really isn’t any maid in your home, and you’re going to have to pick them all up yourself tomorrow.)

Congratulations! 

You’ve now attained that “I’m on a business trip” feeling without ever leaving the comfort of your own home.  Yessiree.  No need to file that expense report now.  You’re on your way to “coming back home” with the flu, to a Inbox full of mail, and arteries clogged with fat deposits from all that healthy livin’!

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