Happy Travel

Business owners fall into two categories: those who love business travel and those who hate it. I am kind of in the hate it pile most of the time.

The love/hate dynamic may depend on how much you travel for work or whether you fly in economy like me, but even if you love business travel there are stressful aspects to being away from your comfort zone.

Although we can’t guarantee that our travel tips will ensure a completely stress-free experience, here are four ways to lessen your hassle.

If you’re someone who hates work-related travel, maybe these tips will help you love it.

1. Make packing as automatic as possible

One of the most frustrating aspects of travel, whether it is for work or pleasure, is packing. Many people put packing off until the last minute, which means important items can easily be forgotten. One way to avoid this issue, especially if you travel for work frequently, is to keep a pack-and-go suitcase stocked with items you always need.

Spare toiletries, personal care products, and haircare items can stay in your bag all the time. Purchase travel sizes of some of the medications you take regularly. Then when it comes time to pack, you’ll be ahead of the game.  Plus it means you won’t forget the important necessities.

2. Plan for your absence at work

Business travel is stressful enough without having to worry about how your business will operate while you are away. Or how you are going to catch up on all the work you will miss out on. Where possible, plan ahead for the days you will be gone. Make sure a trusted employee is trained to take over vital tasks while you’re away. This is where a kick arse procedures manual or training manual would come in handy.

Schedule meetings around the days you are gone and make sure someone is delegated to deal with urgent situations. Write an “out of office” email in advance that warns people you may not respond as quickly as usual and in that email include the contact information of a colleague who can be reached in case of emergency.

3. Routine is vital

When travelling to overseas destinations I always do the tried and tested “set your watch to your destination the minute you get on the plane” trick.  It helps my body clock understand when I should be eating/sleeping and helps so much with jet lag. Certainly not fool proof, but it helps.

I also try to get some exercise in the minute I land. Walk around the main street, walk around the hotel complex, walk to the local shops to get some water.  Anything to get the legs pumping again after a flight.

Sleep for me is also vital.  And I try to stick to my same bed time routine at home. Often, when you are in a new location, sleep can be restless.  But if my I can trick my body into thinking it is just a normal night at home, then I get a much better sleep.

4. Make sure you have downtime

Business travel tends to be frantic and stressful, and it often involves headache-causing meetings and small talk. Make sure you have time to yourself to debrief, think about what you learned during the day, and check in on how you’re feeling. Even 10 minutes of quiet reflection at the end of every day can go a long way to reducing your stress.  You don’t have to go to every drinks night, or if you do, you don’t have to be out until 3am.  Choose what extra curricular events you need to be at and give yourself some balance.

Whether you love business travel or hate it, there’s a good chance you have to do it at some stage.  And if you are anything like me, flying business class is simply not an option. Being prepared for those trips, keeping your routine, and finding downtime while you’re away will help you manage your stress while you’re gone.