I travel fairly frequently throughout the year by car, train, and airplane, and every time I travel I learn a new lesson or tip that I try to remember for next time to make my trip more pleasant and more comfortable. The most difficult type of travel for me is for business. When we travel for fun, we are often visiting family or staying in a rented apartment, giving the trip a more homey feel. When I travel for business, it is all about the hotel, every meal out, and very long hours. Below I have included a few tips that have really helped me. When I first started traveling for work, I absolutely dreaded it. I have gotten it down to much less anxiety, and at times, I even enjoy it now.
1) Be forgiving of yourself. When you try to exercise often and eat healthy, homemade meals as I do, suddenly living in a hotel room, getting 5 hours of sleep, sometimes not getting a chance to eat for 6 or 7 hours, and then being forced to eat whatever you can find, can take its toll on your body and how you feel about it. I used to get completely stressed, but I have gotten more forgiving, reminding myself that the situation is temporary, that I can do my best to eat as well as I can, exercise when possible, etc. but that a lot of conditions are beyond my control.
2)Hydrate! Always important, this little step can get easily forgotten at a busy trade show or in a day of meetings. I often feel like I am the only person who drinks water! But I do. On this past trip, the exhibit hall did not offer water, so I bought a bottle and refilled it constantly at the water fountains. The water was warm, but I made sure that I stood that the fountain, chugged 16 ounces, and refilled to bring back to the hall. I went from feeling like I was going to pass out the first day to feeling pretty good the final days, all because I got 60 ounces of water or more into me during that time.
3) Time and space. My schedule this week had me at the exhibit hall by 7:00 am and done with events at 9 or 10 pm. This didn’t leave much time at all for anything else, but I managed to wake up a teeny bit early the first day to do a Dave Farmar yoga podcast. It was like getting a massage! Taking 25 minutes to myself to move, stretch, and embrace the quiet time that I did have sent me off to the day of work with a spring in my step and a huge amount of positivity in my attitude. As you can imagine, this makes a huge difference for showing and selling products!
4) Bring a bit of home with you. This time around, my friend had just given me a little bag of luxurious toiletries, so I brought those with me. I also brought fleece pajamas to wear when my days were over, and I had my laptop which is chock full of Christmas music. Being able to have some really beautiful lavender lotion, bubble bath, spirit lifting music, and cozy PJ’s helped me to maximize the rest time I had and made getting ready each morning kind of fun. Getting ready for a crazy day of work suddenly doesn’t seem so serious when you are listening to Frosty the Snowman while blowdrying your hair!
5) Pack snacks! My Larabars definitely saved me from crashing several times this weekend where it just wasn’t possible for me to go and grab food. You obviously will not likely have a lot of room for food, but if you can get a couple of healthy bars and maybe some fruit to tide you over, you may be able to make better food choices and skip over that stale croissant. . . which I ended up eating on the last day because I was fresh out of snacks! I also like to pack Emergen-C or Super Red Drink Powder, which easily amps up the healthy factor of water and gives you something with flavor to drink.
6) Use plane time to sleep. This applies to any long travel, but especially if you are leaving home at 3:30 am and are expected to be put together and “on” when you land. I have had to fly overnight to Europe, land, and be in meetings an hour later. I have a terrible time sleeping anywhere but in my bed, but there are a few things I do to make rest more likely on a plane. I bring the following: warm socks, pashmina, iPod with soothing music, an extra long sleeved layer, and something to act as a pillow. Those u-shaped pillows are great, and I need to get one! Planes are usually very cold (for me, at least), so it helps to wear two pairs of socks and extra layers. You can’t count on all airlines having blankets, and seeing them just re-fold blankets last night between my flights, I would much rather have my own source of warmth!
But most of all, when traveling for business I go back to my first point, being kind to yourself and going with the flow when you have to. Otherwise, you just create more anxiety for yourself and make things worse.
Do you have any must-do travel tips? Are you traveling for Thanksgiving weekend?