Traveling is fun and exciting! Well, it can be—if you are going to an amazing location for your long-awaited vacation. Unfortunately, traveling for business is not always fun and exciting. I know first-hand how grueling it can be to do a lot of business travel. You can, however, make business travel much saner and satisfying with the right approach. Here are some best practices to take care of yourself and increase the positive when you are traveling on business.
When possible, take charge of your traveling plans. The more you are in control so the more you will feel confident and relaxed.
- Select your favorite airline, use awards and perks to upgrade if you have them, choose flight times that you prefer.
- If you have flexibility of the times for your meetings, pick times that suit you (are you a morning person or an afternoon person?) Avoid travel around holidays. This means that you might have to say no to some things in order to say yes to that which is more important (see more on that below).
- Google map directions before you leave home if you have to drive somewhere you are unfamiliar with.
- Take advantage of your location. If it’s warm, work outdoors or poolside or beachside. Go for a walk. Enjoy local foods and sights.
Bring along as much of the comforts of home as you can that aren’t too heavy or bulky that help you to sleep. Here are some items I always take with me:
- Eye mask
- Bath fizzy balls for relaxing soak before bed
- Comfy PJs
- Creams, facial masks and aromatherapy oils that help you relax before bed.
- To maximize your changes of sleeping soundly, keep to your home time zone if the trip is short. Depending on traveling west or east across zones, this might mean that you only meet people for breakfast and not dinner so that you can pull the shades and go to sleep early for the time zone, or meet only for dinner and not breakfast so that you can sleep in while in the different time zone. Just keep your watch on your home zone and work around it as much as possible.
Love your body and soul
In addition to helping to ensure you get some sleep, taking care of your body should always be part of your travel plans, especially when you have lots of important meetings and presentations and other work obligations.
- Take everything that you can with you to make flight enjoyable and relaxing: noise cancelling headset (I use mine even without music to reduce the airplane engine noise), good books, magazines, iPod, healthy snacks, Earplanes (special earplugs I can’t live without to reduce ear pressure on takeoff and landing).
- Get a massage, facial, blowout or mani. Most hotels have these services so you can get some pampering in-between meetings.
- Make your hotel room surrounds comfortable: play music out loud (i.e. bring a speaker for your IPod or play from laptop or tablet), spray scents you love, open the windows for fresh air, adjust the room temperature to your taste, ask for what you need like non-feather pillows if you are allergic.
- Eat right. This can be a difficult task when you are on the road so bring protein bars, order breakfast in your room, and make good choices when you are dining out. Try to eat something at equally spaced intervals so that you are well fueled all day.
The overriding principle: Say yes to what serves you and no to what does not
It can be very difficult to do what you really want to do when you are traveling with colleagues or traveling to be with clients or prospective clients or employers. Nonetheless, it is helpful to think about all the tasks that you will be doing on your trip and prioritize those items that you really must do for the purposes of your job. For instance, perhaps your list looks something like this: meet client one-on-one, give presentation, and attend happy hour with travel colleagues to debrief. So…
- If you aren’t an evening person or you are traveling westward, can you move your debrief to a breakfast meeting instead of drinks after work (when your body needs some down time)?
- How about you take your client for a meal or spa treatment or something that will be fun for both of you? The more you nurture your relationships with your clients and colleagues, the more going out with them is like going out with a friend.
- And speaking of friends, are there friends or family who live nearby where you are traveling to that you would love to see? Don’t do this if you are over-scheduled—only if it is something you want to do and gives you joy.
Say yes to what serves you and is essential for your work and just say no to anything beyond that. This takes practice when you feel obliged to do everything for work. You will find that if you are thoughtful and selective about which work tasks you will skip in order to take care of yourself, your travel experience will be less exhausting and your work results will, in turn, be better.
What methods do you use while you are traveling on business to take care of yourself? Share with us below!