In this day and age, business travel is a necessary evil. An inconvenience. A break in our comfortable routine. Time away from the family, and countless hours in an unfamiliar place with questionable internet, and strangers for company.
Not for me. If you have ever seen the film “up in the air” with George Clooney, I am the embodiment of his character, Ryan Bingham. Not only looking forward to the recycled airplane air, the stuffy hotel rooms, and chaotic public transport, but actually thriving on it.
I understand that I am the exception rather than the rule, and very few people enjoy the perverse sense of wanderlust as I do. Can you even call business travel wanderlust? Who knows, but I thought I would share a few of my top tips for making your next trip more bearable.
- Learn the history of where you are visiting. Not only does this help kill some time in the airport, but can be a great ice breaker at a meeting, or in the hotel bar in the evening. It also might give you some inspiration for..
- Visit at least one tourist attraction. In the fast-paced world we operate in, is very easy to forget to take some time out. Even if it is just a half hour to take in the views from the shard, walk the Champs-Élysées, or simply enjoy the splendour of the banks of the Danube. I find this re-energises me, and is a welcome distraction from my primary mission.
- Stay healthy. It seems simple, but from the salt-rich airline food, or the heavy butter/oiled dishes that 4 & 5 star hotels and restaurants serve, to the drinks with lunch with a client, or a cheeky attack on the minibar snacks, it is easy to forget to exercise. I don’t like gyms, so I always ensure I take a decent walk, and find that I can easily do more steps and burn more calories than I would at home. Plus the fresh air or exercise helps me get an amazing sleep!
- Have a routine & stick to it. Nothing will throw your body and mind off more than the unfamiliar. Upon check-in to a hotel, the first thing I do is unpack, hang my clothes, fold my t-shirts, and iron anything that hasn’t quite made it in one piece. I unpack my toiletries, and put them on a shelf. I have an exact replica of my toiletries from home, albeit in miniature form. Sounds over the top? Probably, but I genuinely find that it gives me a small slice of “home comfort” which helps me relax.
- Set 2 alarms. Seems simple enough? But if you wake up in a strange place too often, and in different time zones, it can be tricky knowing what’s what, or where’s where. Set 2 alarms, in case you grumpily hit snooze on the first one. The second jolt always gets me up! Oh, and don’t use the hotel alarm – apart form needing a degree in astrophysics to program the damn thing, if there is a power cut in the night, it will reset itself – and nobody likes the person who’s late to that meeting!
So you see, business travel doesn’t need to be stressful or a necessary evil. As long as you are prepared to make the most of it!