What’s The Best Trip You’ve Had For Government Travel?

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This topic contains 70 replies, has 27 voices, and was last updated by  Cary Casey 8 years, 6 months ago.

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  • #73018

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Got the business and pleasure out of your conference? Loved the sites and restaurants in between? Speak your mind!

  • #73158

    Cary Casey
    Participant

    Great question Adam…my best trip for government travel was to San Diego. Great conference and great spot. I am shooting for a conference in St. John if the National Park Service would only host one there. πŸ˜‰

  • #73156

    Tricia
    Participant

    Probably Philadelphia for an HR conference – I loved the history there and catching a few sites.
    Second? I went to a Diversity conference in New York City…been itching to go back ever since.

  • #73154

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Where did you eat? What local culture did you experience?

  • #73152

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    What did you like about NYC? Where did you eat at both?

  • #73150

    Tricia
    Participant

    Philadelphia – I DIDN’T have a cheesesteak…...big regret!
    Did make it to City Tavern (unofficial meeting place for 1st Continential Congress in 1774. For dessert was the Martha Washington’s Chocolate cake (her actual recipe).

    NYC – I went in the fall, and Central Park was beautiful. Also, the architecture. Did a nightly talk show.
    Ate at Carnegie Deli and had to check out ESPN cafe (total tourist in Times Square).

  • #73148

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Fantastic. I bet that old-time Martha cake was really good, wasn’t it?

  • #73146

    Tricia
    Participant

    Not really, it was $20 (that was six years ago) for the piece of cake, and tasted a little “off” . Sad, but I can’t recall what it was that had me stray from clean plate club (no flour, or lack of sweetness?)
    I was really disappointed…. I was expecting near perfection!!

  • #73144

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    I would expect that as well. Too bad.

  • #73142

    Susan
    Participant

    I have had quite a few great trips travelling for the government. It’s difficult to say which one was the best, but several really stand out. The last AMIA Conference in DC was really informative. I travelled with several friends/colleagues. We stayed in hotels not too far from Dupont Circle and ate at several quaint little local restaurants nearly all tucked into one particular block near the hotels each night. The steamed half lobster was especially good and very reasonable. We ate French, Italian, Mexican and Greek.

    The other trips that stand out are travel to conferences in Sacramento and Chicago. Each city has its own rhythm! I thoroughly enjoyed the spotlessly clean, environmentally friendly city of Sacramento and a particular good Italian Restaurant with colleagues and people I met there. In Chicago, I enjoyed my first authentic Chicago pizza pie! It was as delicious as everyone had said it would be. It snowed while we were there in April! I loved the sights and sounds of both cities and especially the Navy Pier on Lake Michigan. The conference I attended was educational, motivational and inspiring! The meetings held there were both pleasantly engaging and productive.

  • #73140

    Denise A. Katula
    Participant

    It had to be my first out-of-state conference experience. I was able to take Amtrak up to Boston for the AAGP (American Association of Grant Professionals) conference. I think it was in 2004. Not only was it completely awesome to be with other grant writers (they spoke my language and felt my pain!), but the city was amazing. The conference facility was in Copley Place. One late afternoon I got to basically speed walk a decent part of the Freedom Trail between conference sessions. For a history lover like me, it was a great experience.

  • #73138

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Susan, you always seem to put me right there in the action! You’ve made me hungry too! πŸ™‚

  • #73136

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Oh, that’s sounds good to me, as well. I am a huge history buff too! Tell me about some of the historical things you experienced.

  • #73134

    James A. Bell
    Participant

    My all time favorite conference site was Vancouver, British Columbia. Our national Association of Public Treasurers Conference was held there in August and it was the most beautiful city I have ever seen. There were many gardens throughout the city and you must visit Grouse Mountain via cable car. The views are breathtaking. There was so much life in their downtown area, plenty of great spots for outdoor dining, and you must try a Bellini cocktail when you visit.

  • #73132

    Sara Campney
    Participant

    I loved the last conference I went to in Philly too. The convention center is right next door to the Reading Terminal market full of lunch counters and farm booths. A lot like Eastern Market in DC but 3 times as big. I loved all the Amish vendors and took tons of stuff from there as gifts to family and co-workers. I also ate there 3 days out of 5.

  • #73130

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Oh, this sounds wonderful. Perfect even.

  • #73128

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    You can’t beat the purity of the Amish food. It’s all natural!

  • #73126

    Teri Centner
    Participant

    Best trip for me was Dresden, Germany. I was working a DoD program called Coalition Warrior Interoperability Demonstration (CWID) at the time, and one of our planning meetings was hosted by the Germans. It was amazing being in such an historic location, both the city and the host site.

    The meetings took place at a small German military base; they told us our conference room used to be Goering’s office. That, in and of itself was pretty darn interesting. We had dinner with our international partners at a restaurant that was in the cellar of an old powder tower (in German, Pulver Turm) that was in use since at least the 1500’s. We were also treated to a walking tour of Dresden, which has been lovingly restored, having been almost leveled by the Allies during World War II.

    And the timing of our visit was almost perfect. The Frauenkirche, which had remained a pile of rubble throughout the years under East German rule, had been under renovation since shortly after fall of the wall and had just been completed. We were able to see the sandstone it was made from in all its recently quarried glory. It was brilliant. Unfortunately, we couldn’t go inside, since it wasn’t open to the public for another month or so. Being able to go inside *would* have made this the perfect trip.

    Note: I was able to go back later and visit the Fraunkirche after it was open to the public. It’s beautiful inside — all pastels and light. Very surprising and refreshing since most other European cathedrals are dark and dank and gothic.

  • #73124

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    I’ve always loved state capitals. Albany, Springfield, Richmond, Austin, Sacramento….Got to visit a few for work…Always fun.

    And Vegas was great. Meeting ended Friday at 3pm. Last flight left at 2:45pm to get back home. Shucks…I have to stay overnight.

  • #73122

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Very cool trip! That sounds like something me AND my wife would enjoy as a vacation! Wow, that’s cool that you were able to take such a trip with DoD. Amazing.

  • #73120

    Farrell Rouse
    Participant

    The best trips by far are the ones that don’t cost the taxpayer anything.

    FREE Webinars are the best trips. You can get as much information (sometimes more) from FREE Webinars than you can get from some conferences. You get invaluable information, can access from your office, home, on the road, etc…all at no cost.

    If it’s free, it’s for me.

  • #73118

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Yea, shucks. Vegas is sooo boring! πŸ™‚

    Steve if you haven’t seen West Virginia’s capital in Charleston, you are missing out. That campus has won a ton of beauty awards in the inner cometition that is held between the capitals. If you ever decide to go, let me know- I can help you navigate your way to a really nice experience. Without some help, it’s kind of hard to find the good spots- Charleston is kind of small.

  • #73116

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Free IS cool. But I like to get out of the office sometimes!

  • #73114

    Farrell Rouse
    Participant

    Yes, I do as well. Unfortunately however, with budgets so tight and with the tsunami of ARRA & Omnibus related opportunities to pursue and work to do, I have to work smarter within the confines of a very compressed schedule.

  • #73112

    C Porche
    Participant

    Travelling to and from Bolivia and Ecuador for an Office of Inspector General review of counter narcotics programs implemented in the region has been without compare . I had the opportunity to see parts of the countries that included tropical rainforest ( I have seen a tapir on a bamboo pole for some’s dinner near Las Esmareldas, Ecuador), the beautiful beaches of Manta, Ecuador, the coca markets of La Paz ( the leaf: the true funk can not be described) and the confiscated bricks at the police museum. We observed the photos of all the original and not so orignal ways folks tried to smuggle illegal narcotics over. Travelling was exciting and dramatic, the ride in a cargo plane through the Yungas in the air ( Bolivia), sitting as a passenger traversing the most dangerous roads to inspect the coca fields terraced along side the mountains and in helicopter (with open windows and not so secure seatbelts). The fields were to be subject to eradication. We spent our off day on the equator at the middle of the world( the natives were more accurate than the European experts in picking out the lines so years later accounting for their computational error the Mayans were closer on point). One can see their ancient markers from the restaurant dotting the terrain. I will never forget riding in a small plane and landing in a field- looking down on the descent asking where is the strip and the pilot telling me ( I was wearing an oxygen mask for the unpressurized plane) we will land near the red bulls eye on a green field. When we departed we needed to leave the back open to get enuf lift to depart from the wild wild west of Ecuador. I can not forget the helicopter rides to survey the detected fields and the back of the Amazon Basin in Bolivia which looked like something from land of the lost. Any moment one could imagine a long necked dinosaur rising slowly out of the water. Lake Titicaca was intriguing. The altitude was not easy to adjust to. The fish ribs were great in Cochebamba, Bolivia but the landscape was tremendous. I also ran into Bolivian President Banzer at the Bolivian arts and craft conference on site on the day before I departed. This was 16 days in the field.

  • #73110

    Kim Schultz
    Participant

    I’ve only been on one work trip so far to the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. We were able to take the “Director’s Tour” of the Mission Control and Space Shuttle Mock-Up facilities….got to climb into the mockup which was quite the experience!

  • #73108

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    I hear that.

  • #73106

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    WOW! You have got to be kidding me! You have lived far more than most of us ever will. I would love to see some pictures. I know you took pictures, right?

  • #73104

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    I’ve done that one, as well. Very cool place. I lived in Houston for about 5 years. Nice place, but very hot.

  • #73102

    Teresa Haugh
    Participant

    Traveling on Prince of Wales Island in Alaska. I ate a can of tomato soup that I bought at the hardware store.

  • #73100

    Anita Arile
    Participant

    I will get back to this after my trip next week to Pohnpei.. am sure I will have TONS of stories to tell. πŸ™‚

  • #73098

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    What was your impression of Alaska?

  • #73096

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    I can’t wait to hear about it!

  • #73094

    Cindy Lou Baker
    Participant

    When I first started with the Forest Service, I became a Union Steward (If I only knew then…). I went on trips to Seattle and Reno, but the best one was to Kansas City. When our work was done, we walked around and listened to the street singers and read old historical plaques. Meals were incredible. I found a little cigar bar that had awesome portobello mushroom pizza. I went there nightly and listened to some great jazz and blues! I’ll go back there for fun someday.

  • #73092

    jana gallatin
    Participant

    The last DISA Customer Conference was awesome! Huge amounts of Web 2.0 and Cloud Computing info, a lot of energy and some very motivated people.

    The first trip to Canberra was pretty awesome as our hosts were just great. They had their software up and working so we didn’t have to spend evenings and weekends retesting. We were able to see the “Antiquities of the World” at the National Library and were treated to four wheel driving in the Blue Mountains.

    I travel a LOT and have found that the best part of any trip is the people I get to meet followed closely by the new software I get to play with, ummmm, test…yeah, I mean test.

    I have such a great job!

  • #73090

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Awesome. Do you remember directions and the name of that cigar bar? πŸ™‚

  • #73088

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    It sounds like a dream job. Though, a lot of people think I have one as well! πŸ™‚

  • #73086

    Gabriela Dow
    Participant

    Have to agree with Cary Casey – my best trip was also to San Diego. This is the city I grew up in and was doing Advance for the 1996 presidential campaign. It was great to return to see so many friends, conduct press advance to some of the media outlets that I had actually worked for, and nothing beat working out of the Coronado Hotel and the great event we put on at the Balboa Park Organ Pavillion.

    Even the part where we had to crash a Dole / Kemp rally to hand out Clinton / Gore talking points was even fun — I ran in to a close friend’s older brother who was working on the other side and he promptly tried to kick us out just like he used to kick me and pals out of his game room when we were in 7th grade – fun experience!

    One sobering thing about that trip though, I learned how removed from every-day life we could be back in the beltway… I offered tickets to a few friends to meet the president and they did not understand why I thought that was the greatest thing ever (hey – you can meet THE PRESIDENT!) along with me tracking every word on C-SPAN while they were busy catching a local band at the beach (much more fun), raising their kids (far more important), getting to work on time, turning in a thesis… it was good for me to see my political fascination through the eyes of non-political friends πŸ™‚

    But it was also fun taking a work break to walk along Coronado shores and celebrating a great event at the Gaslamp in dtown San Diego!

  • #73084

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Sounds like a great city! πŸ™‚

  • #73082

    Carol Davison
    Participant

    San Diego no doubt. The first time I went I called back to my boss and said “If I were ten years younger you would never see me again.” Haivng lived there he understood. I took my mom the second time. That time when I called back, I said “If we had brought the dog you would never see us again.” We stayed in a cheap motel with a bayside view, but had expensive but decadent brunch at the Del Coronado! Beautiful summer breezes all year round. Water desert. Sigh! Too expensive to live there though.

  • #73080

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Sounds like I need to visit San Diego. Many of you have said how wonderful it is!

  • #73078

    Maxine Teller
    Participant

    Loved the “W” in San Diego… all sass and sea… alll for the standard government rate

  • #73076

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    That’s it. I’m going to San Diego! The W hotels are cool in general.

  • #73074

    R J Parry
    Participant

    Great question but can I also suggest not all government trips are the best.

    For example:
    10 days in Hawaii working 12-15 hours per day
    Arrive in Puerto Rico in the dark, spend to days in training and leave the next morning at oh-dark-thirty.

    San Diego (Coronado Island) was grand especially having coffee at the Hotel Del Coronado

    The annual Learning Conference (http://www.learning2009.com) in Orlando is always a treat. (Hosted at Disney, Presented by Elliott Masie)

  • #73072

    Teresa Haugh
    Participant

    I live in Alaska. My impression is that the Tongass National Forest is one of the grandest places to be!

  • #73070

    Alex Miller
    Participant

    That would have to be Costa Rica! The city I work for established a Sister City relationship with a city about two hours east of San Jose, in the Central Valley. It was amazing – visited the Rawlings plant where they hand-sew all of the ML baseballs, ate fabulous food, visited coffee plantations, toured an archaelogical site, visited a local school, went 4-wheeling up a volcano, and to top it off, held a several hours-long meeting with our Costa Rican counterparts discussing the future of our “diplomatic relations” – at a cheese farm in the hills overlooking a misty green valley. It was unreal.

  • #73068

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing.

  • #73066

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Ok, I envy you.

  • #73064

    Keith T. Preston
    Participant

    My wife and I went to Salt Lake City Utah about 10 years ago in the winter and it was pretty cool. Great city, good snow and skiing. Although probably not known to be a hugh party town it was beautiful.
    Tulsa OK was the quietest town (city) I have ever visited (roll up the sidewalks by 7PM)

  • #73062

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Yes, I love Salt Lake. Tulsa would have to contend with Charleston, WV!

  • #73060

    James A. Bell
    Participant

    I just attended a national conference in Spokane, Washington. The Davenport Hotel was our host and it is by far the best hotel I have ever stayed in on so many levels. The hotel is very ornate and the owners have gone to great detail to restore it to its original magnificence in the early 1900s. There is a long history to this hotel and you can watch a video about it on one of the hotel TV channels. Beyond that, the staff was unselfish and accomodating of our every need. They provided us complimentary town car service anywhere in the downtown Spokane area. The banquet food was delicious and they took pride in the presentation of the food at every meal. Fantastic desserts included Margarita Cheesecake and an exquisite Apple Tart.

  • #73058

    Paula M Lorfano
    Participant

    I’ve been organizing conferences for several years and have lots of “experiences” but by far my favorite place is Vienna, Austria. We stayed at a hotel that is two converted palaces with winding corridors and very interesting quest rooms. One of mine was two story and another was tucked away in an attic but very nice…Passageways thru walls and staircases that were beautiful. The people I worked with at the Embassy were fabulous. The city is walkable with tons of things to see if you have time….The hotel recommended some very interesting restaurants. I think the name was “1912”, the servings were large and the atmosphere is friendly. Of course, my team members made all the difference as they were great spirits and didn’t mind the late nights and long days of work at the conference. And I highly recommend a
    “Heuriger” to get the group together.

  • #73056

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Wow, this sounds nice. I wrote that one down!

  • #73054

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Sounds cool. I don’t think I’ll be visiting Austria soon, but I have added it to the bucket list πŸ™‚

  • #73052

    David K. Shepherd
    Participant

    I was on a task for NSF a couple years ago. We visited various NSF supported observatories. The highlights of the trips were the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico and the Observatories in La Serena, Chile. In both locations we were taken on in depth facility tours, including inspection of the Arecibo platform. It gave me a new appreciation of the work done on behalf of the US and the efforts made to understand the universe. I consider myself very lucky to be able to work on that task.

  • #73050

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Fantastic! Tell me, did you get to look around each country?

  • #73048

    David K. Shepherd
    Participant

    We did a little. Most of our time was consumed with interviews and facility/system inspection, but our hosts made sure we got some of the local flavor. In PR we were treated to traditional meals, including mofongo and rabbit. In Chile we sampled the local market and ate at an amazing Steak House. The local flavors, combined with the simply amazing work done at the observatories made this the best travel I have ever had for work. I just hope they call us again in a few years, after they have taken some of our suggestions!

  • #73046

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  • #73044

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Sounds amazing. I did a Google search for more. WOW.

  • #73042

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Play with software? I envy you.

  • #73040

    While I have not been a government employee, the best business trip I’ve ever been able to take was when I was with Wells Fargo. I got to go to the 2003 ASAE Conference in Honolulu, Hawaii. I took my family along, and we added 9 days onto the 5 day business trip for a full two-week stay, with the first week on Oahu and the second on Kauai. A memorable and once-in-a-lifetime trip for business and pleasure!

  • #73038

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    No doubt! I would have done the same thing, (added more days to my stay). Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

  • #73036

    Tyrone Moore
    Participant

    Okinawa, Japan

  • #73034

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Cool. Armed Forces, huh?

  • #73032

    Tyrone Moore
    Participant

    Civil Service

  • #73030

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Very cool. What did you like best about Okinawa?

  • #73028

    Tyrone Moore
    Participant

    The Okinawa people make it a wonderful experience. I also liked the food.

  • #73026

    Emi Whittle
    Participant

    Two best trips actually – one for a government grant to Austin, TX, to meet up for several days with tons of Youth Services providers in Texas! Just awesome to be surrounded by other people working tirelessly to better the lives of our nation’s youth!
    The second, a government conference regarding Asian/Pacific Islander health issues – as a third generation Japanese American it was truly awesome and eye opening experience! I have always been completely immersed in “American” culture, so to suddenly be surrounded by a zillion Asian folk for several days was definitely a different “feeling”! AND, to get classes on specific cultural ideaologies and so much information on health issues – AMAZING! The bounus for this trip was enjoying San Francisco – and getting to visit with my family nearby!
    I do SO wish that the government had more resources to provide these types of venues. I know people moan and groan about having to go to “boring” conferences or only going to see the sights, but they really can be SO SO SO worthwhile!!!

  • #73024

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Thanks for sharing:)

  • #73022

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Love Austin. I agree- I wish the government would provide more cultural experiences in our travel. I think everyone needs a little of this and that. πŸ™‚

  • #73020

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    Was in Providence, RI a couple weeks back and thought it was great.

    And my best ever will be Paris in 4 weeks..for OECD talk

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