Avoid Business Travel Stress

Reviewed Apr 11, 2017

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Summary

  • Leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Try to keep to your normal routine.

Life on the road can get old fast. It disrupts your normal routine. It separates you from loved ones. It’s prone to unpleasant surprises such as air travel delays. On top of all this, you have a job to do. Often you are going to an unfamiliar place to meet new people, and you have to be in top form.  

But you can take steps to squelch stress and to have a successful trip.

Don’t be in a rush

Build a time cushion that allows for delays and still gets you where you need to go. If there’s a flight that would get you to your meeting on time only if it stayed on schedule, book an earlier one. Give yourself plenty of time on the travel day.

Clear your schedule—and mind

Stay focused on why you’re making the trip. If it’s to make a presentation to new clients, prepare for that and don’t try to squeeze in other job-related tasks. Clean up unfinished business before you leave and delegate as much work as possible. Don’t feel obligated to look up relatives or friends that may live near your destination. See the sights if you have time, but don’t feel guilty if you have to miss them.

Keep your mind clear of thoughts that make you anxious. Examine how you’re thinking, says psychologist Simon Rego, to see if you’re always expecting the worst-case scenario. The way to prepare for the worst case is to have a plan for it, not to worry about it. Rego says you should also practice “defusion,” or tuning out extraneous thoughts to “focus on what’s my key task at the moment.”

Prepare for the unexpected

Never assume that your trip will run on schedule. Be ready for major delays, misdirected baggage and other travelers’ woes. Have a backup strategy in case your flight gets canceled, your checked luggage goes missing or your reservation for a car or hotel gets lost. Stock your contacts list on your cell phone with numbers for hotels and car rental companies at your destination. Also add reservation numbers for airlines.

This planning can come in handy if, for instance, your flight is canceled and you have to find a new one. While others are waiting in the ticket line, you can be booking a flight by phone.

If you’re taking medication, bring an extra day’s supply. If you have a presentation to make, back up a copy on your computer by emailing it to yourself as well as keeping it on a thumb drive.

Stick to your healthy routine

Crossing time zones disrupts your sleep pattern, and healthy meals and regular exercise can be challenging to pull off.

“The interstate highways you’re driving on and the airport terminals you go to are going to be loaded with fast-food noshes that aren’t good for you,” says Dan Verdick, author of The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away. Verdick suggests checking with the front desk at your hotel for healthy eating options in the area, and to be aware of portion size. Restaurants tend to serve more than you’re used to eating at home.

Getting enough sleep and exercise when you travel can be a challenge. It’s hard to sleep at your usual times when your trip takes you across several time zones and nighttime socializing is unavoidable. Try to get eight hours a day, even if you need to squeeze in a nap.

There are some situations where sleep, or even relaxation, may look impossible, as when you’re forced to spend several hours at an airport because of a flight delay. You might be able to help yourself with planning. Before you travel, find out which airlines at your destination airport have frequent-flyer lounges that you can use, for a fee, on a one-time basis. These are a great alternative to boarding-area seats.

Walk wherever you safely can and take advantage of what exercise options hotels may offer. The ideal travel exercise requires little or no equipment and workout. The important thing is to find the time.

Rest and exercise aren’t good just for you; they’re good for those around you, too. You may come back from the trip better able to meet the needs of co-workers, spouses and children.

Advice for “super commuters”

With the increasing popularity of long-distance commuting, some employees find themselves traveling long distances regularly—sometimes flying to an out-of-state office weekly then returning home on weekends. Super commuters can easily become fatigued and should make an extra effort to get plenty of sleep. Making time for social activities and spending time with family is crucial. Schedule in-person family time in advance, and communicate via FaceTime or Skype while you are away. 

Resource

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel: How to Arrive with Your Dignity, Sanity and Wallet Intact by Scott McCartney. Harper Paperbacks, 2009.

By Tom Gray
Source: Simon Rego, Psy.D., Director of Psychology Training, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY; Dan Verdick, Director of Marketing, ABDO Publishing Inc., Woodbury, MN, Columbia University study, Business Travel Linked to Obesity and Poor Health, www.mailman.columbia.edu/news/business-travel-linked-obesity-and-poor-health; The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away by Dan Verdick. Robin’s Lane Press, 2003.

Summary

  • Leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Try to keep to your normal routine.

Life on the road can get old fast. It disrupts your normal routine. It separates you from loved ones. It’s prone to unpleasant surprises such as air travel delays. On top of all this, you have a job to do. Often you are going to an unfamiliar place to meet new people, and you have to be in top form.  

But you can take steps to squelch stress and to have a successful trip.

Don’t be in a rush

Build a time cushion that allows for delays and still gets you where you need to go. If there’s a flight that would get you to your meeting on time only if it stayed on schedule, book an earlier one. Give yourself plenty of time on the travel day.

Clear your schedule—and mind

Stay focused on why you’re making the trip. If it’s to make a presentation to new clients, prepare for that and don’t try to squeeze in other job-related tasks. Clean up unfinished business before you leave and delegate as much work as possible. Don’t feel obligated to look up relatives or friends that may live near your destination. See the sights if you have time, but don’t feel guilty if you have to miss them.

Keep your mind clear of thoughts that make you anxious. Examine how you’re thinking, says psychologist Simon Rego, to see if you’re always expecting the worst-case scenario. The way to prepare for the worst case is to have a plan for it, not to worry about it. Rego says you should also practice “defusion,” or tuning out extraneous thoughts to “focus on what’s my key task at the moment.”

Prepare for the unexpected

Never assume that your trip will run on schedule. Be ready for major delays, misdirected baggage and other travelers’ woes. Have a backup strategy in case your flight gets canceled, your checked luggage goes missing or your reservation for a car or hotel gets lost. Stock your contacts list on your cell phone with numbers for hotels and car rental companies at your destination. Also add reservation numbers for airlines.

This planning can come in handy if, for instance, your flight is canceled and you have to find a new one. While others are waiting in the ticket line, you can be booking a flight by phone.

If you’re taking medication, bring an extra day’s supply. If you have a presentation to make, back up a copy on your computer by emailing it to yourself as well as keeping it on a thumb drive.

Stick to your healthy routine

Crossing time zones disrupts your sleep pattern, and healthy meals and regular exercise can be challenging to pull off.

“The interstate highways you’re driving on and the airport terminals you go to are going to be loaded with fast-food noshes that aren’t good for you,” says Dan Verdick, author of The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away. Verdick suggests checking with the front desk at your hotel for healthy eating options in the area, and to be aware of portion size. Restaurants tend to serve more than you’re used to eating at home.

Getting enough sleep and exercise when you travel can be a challenge. It’s hard to sleep at your usual times when your trip takes you across several time zones and nighttime socializing is unavoidable. Try to get eight hours a day, even if you need to squeeze in a nap.

There are some situations where sleep, or even relaxation, may look impossible, as when you’re forced to spend several hours at an airport because of a flight delay. You might be able to help yourself with planning. Before you travel, find out which airlines at your destination airport have frequent-flyer lounges that you can use, for a fee, on a one-time basis. These are a great alternative to boarding-area seats.

Walk wherever you safely can and take advantage of what exercise options hotels may offer. The ideal travel exercise requires little or no equipment and workout. The important thing is to find the time.

Rest and exercise aren’t good just for you; they’re good for those around you, too. You may come back from the trip better able to meet the needs of co-workers, spouses and children.

Advice for “super commuters”

With the increasing popularity of long-distance commuting, some employees find themselves traveling long distances regularly—sometimes flying to an out-of-state office weekly then returning home on weekends. Super commuters can easily become fatigued and should make an extra effort to get plenty of sleep. Making time for social activities and spending time with family is crucial. Schedule in-person family time in advance, and communicate via FaceTime or Skype while you are away. 

Resource

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel: How to Arrive with Your Dignity, Sanity and Wallet Intact by Scott McCartney. Harper Paperbacks, 2009.

By Tom Gray
Source: Simon Rego, Psy.D., Director of Psychology Training, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY; Dan Verdick, Director of Marketing, ABDO Publishing Inc., Woodbury, MN, Columbia University study, Business Travel Linked to Obesity and Poor Health, www.mailman.columbia.edu/news/business-travel-linked-obesity-and-poor-health; The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away by Dan Verdick. Robin’s Lane Press, 2003.

Summary

  • Leave yourself plenty of time.
  • Expect the unexpected.
  • Try to keep to your normal routine.

Life on the road can get old fast. It disrupts your normal routine. It separates you from loved ones. It’s prone to unpleasant surprises such as air travel delays. On top of all this, you have a job to do. Often you are going to an unfamiliar place to meet new people, and you have to be in top form.  

But you can take steps to squelch stress and to have a successful trip.

Don’t be in a rush

Build a time cushion that allows for delays and still gets you where you need to go. If there’s a flight that would get you to your meeting on time only if it stayed on schedule, book an earlier one. Give yourself plenty of time on the travel day.

Clear your schedule—and mind

Stay focused on why you’re making the trip. If it’s to make a presentation to new clients, prepare for that and don’t try to squeeze in other job-related tasks. Clean up unfinished business before you leave and delegate as much work as possible. Don’t feel obligated to look up relatives or friends that may live near your destination. See the sights if you have time, but don’t feel guilty if you have to miss them.

Keep your mind clear of thoughts that make you anxious. Examine how you’re thinking, says psychologist Simon Rego, to see if you’re always expecting the worst-case scenario. The way to prepare for the worst case is to have a plan for it, not to worry about it. Rego says you should also practice “defusion,” or tuning out extraneous thoughts to “focus on what’s my key task at the moment.”

Prepare for the unexpected

Never assume that your trip will run on schedule. Be ready for major delays, misdirected baggage and other travelers’ woes. Have a backup strategy in case your flight gets canceled, your checked luggage goes missing or your reservation for a car or hotel gets lost. Stock your contacts list on your cell phone with numbers for hotels and car rental companies at your destination. Also add reservation numbers for airlines.

This planning can come in handy if, for instance, your flight is canceled and you have to find a new one. While others are waiting in the ticket line, you can be booking a flight by phone.

If you’re taking medication, bring an extra day’s supply. If you have a presentation to make, back up a copy on your computer by emailing it to yourself as well as keeping it on a thumb drive.

Stick to your healthy routine

Crossing time zones disrupts your sleep pattern, and healthy meals and regular exercise can be challenging to pull off.

“The interstate highways you’re driving on and the airport terminals you go to are going to be loaded with fast-food noshes that aren’t good for you,” says Dan Verdick, author of The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away. Verdick suggests checking with the front desk at your hotel for healthy eating options in the area, and to be aware of portion size. Restaurants tend to serve more than you’re used to eating at home.

Getting enough sleep and exercise when you travel can be a challenge. It’s hard to sleep at your usual times when your trip takes you across several time zones and nighttime socializing is unavoidable. Try to get eight hours a day, even if you need to squeeze in a nap.

There are some situations where sleep, or even relaxation, may look impossible, as when you’re forced to spend several hours at an airport because of a flight delay. You might be able to help yourself with planning. Before you travel, find out which airlines at your destination airport have frequent-flyer lounges that you can use, for a fee, on a one-time basis. These are a great alternative to boarding-area seats.

Walk wherever you safely can and take advantage of what exercise options hotels may offer. The ideal travel exercise requires little or no equipment and workout. The important thing is to find the time.

Rest and exercise aren’t good just for you; they’re good for those around you, too. You may come back from the trip better able to meet the needs of co-workers, spouses and children.

Advice for “super commuters”

With the increasing popularity of long-distance commuting, some employees find themselves traveling long distances regularly—sometimes flying to an out-of-state office weekly then returning home on weekends. Super commuters can easily become fatigued and should make an extra effort to get plenty of sleep. Making time for social activities and spending time with family is crucial. Schedule in-person family time in advance, and communicate via FaceTime or Skype while you are away. 

Resource

The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel: How to Arrive with Your Dignity, Sanity and Wallet Intact by Scott McCartney. Harper Paperbacks, 2009.

By Tom Gray
Source: Simon Rego, Psy.D., Director of Psychology Training, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY; Dan Verdick, Director of Marketing, ABDO Publishing Inc., Woodbury, MN, Columbia University study, Business Travel Linked to Obesity and Poor Health, www.mailman.columbia.edu/news/business-travel-linked-obesity-and-poor-health; The Business Traveling Parent: How to Stay Close to Your Kids When You’re Far Away by Dan Verdick. Robin’s Lane Press, 2003.

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