There’s no way around it. I travel too much. While my Instagram feed frequently features a glam version of my life in places like Montecito or Martha’s Vineyard, most of my travel is for business.
Despite the travel perks I’ve purchased, my road warrior life was seriously wearing on my nerves. Since my job requires me to travel, and there is simply no way around that, I decided to take control of my vexing vagabond life and keep myself from becoming unhinged by the cumulative effect of chronic jet setting. These basic rules I’ve set for myself are so simple, you wouldn’t think they would make a dent in my itinerant life, but they do! Here are my five tips for winning at business travel.
Everybody I know who travels too much has a spare tire around their middle. In fact, frequent travelers are at higher risk for obesity. While far from obese, constant travel has taken a toll on my body. It’s easy to disrupt a non-existent exercise routine, so I’ve decided to make exercise part of my travel agenda. I’m typically staying at fairly swanky hotels with first-rate gyms so I pretend that every hotel has a built-in personal trainer, and I’d be a fool to not take advantage of this free offer during every day of every hotel stay.
I typically give myself an extra 30 minutes in the morning to partake of that mythological trainer who never shows up, leaving me to use the state-of-the-art facilities alone. An added bonus? Working out helps with the creaky bones and sore muscles from molding my body into an airplane seat for hours on end.
Create a Packing List
I’m an excellent packer, but I hate forgetting things, and I always leave one thing behind. Some folks can roll with the punches if they forget that belt that pulls together that one outfit. I’m not that person. I need that belt, or I can’t go to that meeting! So, when I “create a packing list.” I don’t mean scribble out a list of items to put in your suitcase. What I’ve created is a pre-printed packing list that I use for each and every trip. It includes all the basics like toothbrush, undies, make-up and power cords, but I also added a blank spot for Outfit #1, Outfit #2, Outfit #3, where I can fill in the blanks of the components that I’ll need. I also have an area for optional items for specific weather-related conditions, like a swimsuit or raincoat.
This probably sounds more intense than it is. It’s actually very simple. I meditate for 10 minutes at the start of each and every flight. What else are you going to do? Watch the in-flight safety video you’ve already seen a thousand times?
I downloaded the CALM app which has an endless choice of guided meditations that usually feature the soothing sounds of waves crashing and birds chirping – something I personally prefer to engines roaring. With this app, you can choose the length of time you’d like to meditate and the style (i.e., calming anxiety, deep sleep, there’s even one for commuting!). They recently introduced meditative stories and I’ve listened to “The Velveteen Rabbit” like 67 times. Getting to the airport in time, making it through security, hustling and dashing to board the plane is not exactly calming. Ten minutes of meditation makes all the difference to my traveling life.
Set an Intention
Why, you ask? Who goes on a trip and doesn’t know where they are going and why? Good question, but the sorry truth is I’ve gone on far too many business trips and been completely distracted and therefore achieved very little. So, the biggest change I’ve made is to set an intention for every single trip I go on.
Before adopting my new plan, I’d go on a business trip, find myself at a conference in some far off city, sitting in my hotel room, reading emails, fussing over something happening back at the office. Memo to self: I have a team. If I can’t presume that they’ve got it handled, I’ve got bigger problems than surviving a hectic travel schedule. Today, I remind myself that I’ve flown halfway across the country to achieve a specific goal and set an intention to stick to that, whatever it is.
I try to have one outdoor adventure on any business trip. Traveling for work, I can spend all of my time inside a terminal, an Uber, or.cocooned in my hotel room. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there have been many days in my life when I never saw the outside of a convention center. This cannot be healthy. Travel causes fatigue, both mental and physical, and being outdoors can help that.
A study showed that people’s mental energy increased considerably by just by looking at pictures of nature. If pictures alone can do it, imagine what a walk outdoors will do for you?
Changing my mindset on travel and following these five simple tricks has made all the difference in the world to my nomadic life.