The first time I had a work trip, I found myself waiting on a busy street in Chicago, cursing the lack of cabs during rush hour. After nearly barfing up my spleen running for my flight, I swore that I’d never volunteer to cross time zones for a job again.
There are a lot of things that can make you crazy when you travel for work. For one, you’re leaving your home and perhaps family behind. Travel can mean booking a pet sitter, finding extra after-school help for the kids, rescheduling after-work appointments and generally rearranging your life to fit your job.
Whether it’s last-minute or long-planned, the most successful and least stressful trips are the ones that start with lots of planning. Get organized now, and you won’t have to spend the entire trip worried that you left the stove on.
Be Ready to Go
If you know the potential for work travel is a possibility, then do yourself a favor and keep some travel essentials pre-packed or at least on hand. Having your toiletries and chargers packed in advance helps you avoid those last-minute trips to the drugstore for tiny toothpastes and converters.
Have a go-to travel outfit all ready to go in your closet and make sure your necessary documents (driver’s license or passport) are renewed well in advance of their expiration dates.
The blog 30 Seconds to Fly notes that you can even study your destination to keep things straight in your head. Research public transit so you’ll have your bearings upon landing and “make sure to plan out routes to upcoming meetings or client dinners so you won’t be late.”
Stick to Your Routine
The worst thing about travel can be getting off of your diet or exercise regimen. Hotel gyms are often well-appointed these days, or there are exercise apps and videos you can do in your room.
As for eating right, it’s harder to keep an eye on nutrition when you’re eating at restaurants, but you can search nearly every chain’s menu and nutritional info online in advance of your trip (or even with mid-air WiFi).
Ideally, even your employer would be in on the plan. After all, it’s in their best interests to keep you healthy and therefore productive.
Per a study by Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, reported at Science Daily:
At the individual-level, employees who travel extensively need to take responsibility for the decisions they make around diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, and sleep. However, to do this, employees will likely need support in the form of education, training, and a corporate culture that emphasizes healthy business travel. Employers should provide employees who travel for business with accommodations that have access to physical activity facilities and healthy food options.
At the very worst, having to travel to work can be stressful, but if you get a handle on what could go wrong, and get out ahead of it, you’ll have time to actually enjoy hitting the road.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK
What drives you nuts about traveling for work? We want to hear from you. Tell us your thoughts in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.