Traveling for work can be exciting when you’re off to new destinations, however, it’s still work. Being out of your normal surroundings can cause travel fatigue, which in turn, can affect your performance when jetting off to meet with clients or drum up a new business.
Knowing a few business travel tips will help make all your trips for work more fruitful though, and will have the added bonus of allowing you extra energy to take in a few sights while you’re there too.
Pack your bags and get ready to win that new contract or present your product to a new market with absolute aplomb. These business travel tips are the cure for your travel fatigue.
1. Plan Ahead Before Your Trip in all Aspects
How can you be at your best without a good plan of action? The trio, ‘shelter, clothing, and food’, have been long-believed to be the three basic needs of all human beings. And planning these three basic needs ahead of your trip is one of our top business travel hacks.
Your first step is knowing more about where you’re going. If you’ve been there before, that makes it a little easier but you’ll still be a victim to travel fatigue if you just wing it.
If it’s a new destination for you, ask your fellow colleagues if they’ve been there and what business travel tips they recommend for that location. Once you know more about where you’re going, choose a hotel that is close to your meetings. You don’t want to risk having trouble finding your way or getting stuck in traffic. Being late will make you look unprofessional and unpolished.
Now, what shall you pack? Consider the tone of the trip. Business attire should be packed properly to avoid wrinkling. A travel steamer works wonders though to tidy up your clothing for a fresh-pressed style. Will you be attending a fancy dinner or gala during this trip? Be sure you have the right evening attire that fits the mood of the event.
Additionally, it helps to take comfortable clothes for travel, especially if your flight is a lengthy one. Packing clothes for your workouts including your sneakers and swimwear so you can do laps in the pool will ensure you squeeze in that exercise. Pack a jump rope or resistance bands if your hotel doesn’t have a gym. If you think you’re too tired to exercise, push past it. A study in Japan found that it helped relieve travel fatigue.
Don’t forget nutritious and healthy snacks! Your carry-on should have all the essentials like fresh fruits, seeds, and protein bars. Pack more in your checked luggage too, like jerky or dried fruits. Be sure to read our post about healthy travel snacks for a more comprehensive guide!
Before you jet off to the airport, make sure you handle all the necessary work arrangements at the office. Delegate projects and call a meeting prior to your leaving to ensure everyone knows what is expected of them in your absence.
The same diligence must be taken at home as well. Children and partners tend to take frequent travel hard. Try to spend time with them before leaving and set a date for a fun family outing for when you return to minimize your travel-related stresses.
2. Be Flexible and Confident During Inconveniences
Another important business travel tip to remember is that sometimes things happen that are beyond your control. Exert mindfulness over yourself during these times. A prominent example of this is when your flight becomes delayed, or even results in missing your connection, or your luggage has been lost.
When things happen that are beyond your control, find a space to sit in and breathe deeply. The stress isn’t good for you and must be released. Stress will only add to your travel fatigue. After breathing, take the first steps toward resolving the issue at hand. Notify your office, notify those waiting on you at the destination, and try to get work done from the airport if possible.
As executives, we aren’t infallible to irritation in the face of inconvenience. However, we must act accordingly to represent our companies with prestige. Tackle inconveniences with a positive attitude and use them as an opportunity. You cannot prevent such inconveniences from arising, but, you can definitely control your response in the face of such travel impedances. Network with other passengers or set up with your laptop while you wait.
3. Reduce Health Problems During Your Flight to Avoid Travel Fatigue
One of the biggest struggles you’ll have as a business traveler is staying hydrated. Air travel causes dehydration which is why it’s so important to drink plenty of water. It might be annoying to get up to go to the bathroom during your flight, but you’ll stave off illnesses related to dehydration.
Additionally, with so many people in a cramped space, it’s easier to be susceptible to germs. Your chances of that increase when you’re burning the candle at both ends. Flying frequently exposes you to radiation and jet lag throws your circadian rhythm out of whack. Let’s not forget that sitting for prolonged periods at a higher altitude is terrible for circulation too.
What can you do? Try these business travel hacks for preventing health problems:
– Drink water every 50 minutes.
– Get up and do stretches every hour while you’re on the flight. Stretching your arms, legs, back, and neck can avoid cramps.
– Wear an eye mask to help you sleep on the plane to prevent jet jag.
– Bring a travel pillow to help keep your neck in a good position and avoid pain.
You’ll find even more ways to stay healthy on a plane in our other post so you’ll always feel your best wherever your work takes you.
Bonus tip: Avoid alcohol during the flight. As alcohol’s dehydrating effects can be amplified with the strain of flying, it’s best to avoid it until you’re firmly on the ground.
4. Choose Healthy Meals to Avoid Gaining Weight and Be More Energetic at Your Destination
Research has found that foods rich in sugar, fats, and salt can make you feel bloated and drowsy affecting your productivity. Such foodstuffs can also affect your concentration and distract you from work. Look good and feel good by opting for healthier cuisine during your business travels.
Eating fresh foods rather than processed or pre-packaged foods will nourish your body and prevent travel fatigue. A great business travel tip is to lean toward vegetables, fruits, and water as much as possible.
Don’t skip breakfast either. Your body is counting on you to supply it with steady nutrients. By the same token, avoid those muffins, cakes, or croissants, tempting as they are. Instead, reach for those fruits, yogurts, and eggs for healthy proteins.
Do you love coffee? While trying to cope with your travels, we suggest you swap it out for green tea. You’ll get that energetic vibe from the caffeine, plus all the benefits of green tea. It contains catechins, a special type of antioxidant, and is known for boosting the brain in both creativity and problem-solving.
Learn more in our post, how to make a healthy executive breakfast.
Time for lunch? Choose steamed, grilled, boiled, baked, or poached items. Skip those heavy sauces, gravies, and cheeses. Always control your portions at restaurants and during business meetings. If you feel hungry at a buffet-style luncheon, fill up on vegetables and broth first to help curb your appetite and supplement your hydration.
Dinner can be as big a challenge. Because you’ll likely be sleeping soon, choose foods that are easier to digest. Again, vegetables are one of the great business travel hacks that you want in your corner. Fish is another healthy option, giving your body the good fats it needs. Feel like something sweet? Enjoy low-fat yogurt and let that calcium help your body produce more melatonin that will help you sleep better. Taking a stroll or a light walk after dinner can also help your metabolism and improve digestion.
Avoid drinking alcohol too. It’s empty calories, and it reduces your energy and productivity. Walking after your meals will also soothe your digestion and prime you for sleep, getting you ready for the next busy day of working while traveling.
It can be challenging to eat right while you’re traveling for business, so be sure to read our tips on how to survive unhealthy meeting food.
5. Practice Stress Reduction Activities
When you travel for business, it can be even more stressful. You’re in a new place and out of your comfort zone. Even the most well-traveled people experience stress, so making the time for relaxation is vital. We encourage you to take care of your stress levels while you’re away to avoid travel fatigue. There are many activities that you can engage in to relieve stress.
Go for walks after meals and after those big meetings. It’s great to stretch your legs and can be an instant mood-booster. Another bonus to that is you can explore the city. Whenever possible, try to schedule some down time to see what makes your destination so special. It will lend a new perspective to your business.
Miss your loved ones? Get them on a video call and enjoy their faces and voices. When we talk to our family and friends, it feels less lonely when we’re far from home.
Another great business travel tip: meditation or yoga. It’s the perfect activity right before bed. Practicing meditation or yoga in your hotel room can increase mindfulness and help you feel relaxed.
6. Don’t Stop Your Workout Program
We mentioned earlier how exercise benefits you for fighting travel fatigue. It reduces stress and anxiety, improves energy and productivity, and leads to better health and wellness. You might be on a different schedule, but don’t use that as an excuse to be lazy. Regular exercising is a must-do-everyday business travel tip. You’ll feel so much better once you get moving.
Practice running in the early hours to start your day on a fit note. You can even try using the hotel pool for a more relaxed workout. No gym? Go for a walk or run around the city or try doing body weight exercises in your hotel room. Need more ideas for workouts while away from home? Read about our quick travel workouts!
7. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is one of the biggest business travel tips there is. Even if you think there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, sleep must be a priority. We recommend 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night of your stay to reduce travel fatigue. Our article about sleep deprivation can help you understand more about why it’s so important to get good sleep.
It can be challenging to fall asleep in an unfamiliar place while in a different time zone. A warm bath before bed can help prime the body for a lovely rest. This can soothe your nerves and help you sleep better.
While trying to sleep, take note of your room’s exposure to natural light. Our body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle) is triggered by natural light and darkness. A well-balanced circadian rhythm can help you sleep better at night. Therefore, make sure that your hotel room is dark while sleeping. Taking an eye mask and earplugs along can help banish bright lights and strange sounds to put you into a deeper, uninterrupted slumber. For quality sleep at night, it is highly important to ditch electronic devices before bedtime. Electronic devices can biologically affect your circadian rhythm. Try to complete your laptop work at least half-hour before bedtime, so as not to disrupt your sleep quality.
Essential oils like a lavender spray can add a soothing smell to your room. Phone up room service and ask for some chamomile tea bags in your room, or better yet, bring some of them along in your snack stash to ensure you have everything you need.
We don’t recommend taking medications for sleep. Instead, we’d love to tell you more about natural sleep aids that will help you catch those elusive z’s on your business travels.
Melatonin can help you avoid jet lag too. It’s a natural hormone your body produces, but when your system is thrown off, taking some melatonin supplements can help. We encourage you to read our article about melatonin supplements to learn more.
8. Take Time to Recover Properly when You Return Home
After returning from your business trip, it can take some time for you to recover. To avoid any health issues due to changes in the food, water, or the surrounding environment, eat simple and healthy food. This is important as the body can take some time to adjust to different types of climate, environmental factors, foods, and water. Let go of the stress of jumping right back into work.
Avoid travel fatigue once you’re returned by getting that 7 to 8 hours of sleep your body needs. Again, rely on melatonin if needed. If you’re too tired, you won’t be productive.
One of the best business travel tips is to schedule your priorities at work once you return. Make use of lists to manage things and enlist your team to tackle other matters for a perfect strategy.
Business travel takes a lot out of you. It’s important to keep an open line of communication with family and friends to get the emotional support you need. We need our connections to help keep us strong and motivated. Make good on scheduling that extra time with them to hit the refresh button on your life.
These tips are sure to increase your productivity, as well as, help you enjoy your business travel experience. Have you found business travel hacks that reduce your travel fatigue? Share them below in our comments!