Traveling for business is an obligation for millions of workers, but it doesn’t have to be a total slog. It’s estimated that in the United States alone, there will be more than 471 million business trips this year. As you’re gearing up for a big presentation on the other side of the country and missing the stability of staying at home, it’s tempting to think of your travel as a chore. But there are ways to minimize the stress you experience during your travels—and possibly help you cultivate a much more enriching travel experience.
Perfect the Packing Process
Everything starts with the packing process. It’s one of the most stressful and annoying parts of traveling, and if you forget one crucial item, the entire trip could become uncomfortable—and fast. Use a service like Ben Lido to get a steady stream of travel supplies you can use to improve your trips, and keep a checklist handy, so you don’t forget anything too important. You can also invest in smart luggage, like the TraxPack, which you can use to get around the airport easier (and stop worrying about having your luggage stolen). While you’re at it, make sure you have a carry-on stacked with the right materials to help you enjoy your flight.
Utilize Your Travel Time
Spending time on an airplane, a bus, a train, or any other mode of transportation can be boring and uncomfortable—but that doesn’t mean it has to be a waste of time. If you have work you can do, try doing it. And if not, make the most of this time. Bring along a set of noise-canceling headphones—like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II—and listen to your favorite podcasts, or a playlist of your favorite music. Or bring along a book you’ve been meaning to read, or a hobby you’re trying to perfect. You have a few hours of downtime, so make the most of them.
Get to Know Your Destination City
Once you land, take some time to get to know your destination city. Your work schedule might not lend itself to an extended tour, but you should have at least a few hours to do whatever you’d like. Tired travelers may opt to stay in the hotel, catching up on sleep or simply decompressing before your work responsibilities kick in, but you’ll feel more satisfied if you can enjoy even one unique feature this destination has to offer, such as a popular bar or a famous sight. While you’re at it, try to talk to some of the locals, and get a feel for the culture in this area.
Stop Fighting Jet Lag
Unless you plan to proactively and gradually adjust your sleep habits in the weeks leading up to your trip, there’s no real way to prevent the onset of jet lag. Instead, resist fighting the natural rhythms of your body and mind. If you don’t feel tired until 2 am, don’t go to sleep until 2 am; you might be a little extra tired the next day if you have to wake up early, but that’s still better than the stress you’ll get from tossing and turning as you try in vain to get to sleep.
Invest in Your Comfort
Spend a little extra money on the items that are meant to bring comfort to your travel habits. The Huzi Infinity Pillow, for example, is more expensive than your typical travel pillow, but it’s also more comfortable and durable. Items like pillows, blankets, and sleep masks can really make the difference when you’re trying to make the most of a lengthy trip.
Pick Up Airport Tricks
If you’re going to spend extra time in the airport, you should learn some tricks on how to navigate it professionally, such as:
- Find the right security line. Some security lines are going to move faster than others, and you can spot them if you train yourself to look for them. Some guards are more motivated to move people quickly, and some groups of people (like families with young kids) move slower than others.
- Stake out the outlet. Find a spot next to an outlet early, and stake out your position. Outlets are a valuable airport commodity.
- Get in a routine. Develop a firm routine for yourself, from printing out your boarding pass to waiting at the terminal. The more familiar this is, the more it will become second nature (and the faster it will seem to go).
Traveling for business may not be your first choice, and you may not get all the same benefits you would from a full-fledged vacation, but traveling doesn’t have to be a chore. Make improvements to your pre-travel rituals, and make adjustments to your approach; eventually, you’ll find those business trips to be far more tolerable.