Business travel, no matter how glamorous the job, can wear on even the savviest of business travelers. Night after night spent in strange locales, odd restaurants, and unfamiliar hotels can leave even the best of us in a fitful mood. After years of traveling, I can say that there are at least five things that any business traveler can do to boost their mood while traveling to make the most out of any trip.
1. Go the Gym—Break up Your Routine. Many hotels have a workout room or access to a gym for their guests. Even if you are faithful to your workouts, a short trip can be enough to derail any routine. Frequent and extended trips can leave you consistently putting off getting in shape until your schedule becomes less hectic. Instead, use your business trips as away to jumpstart an old routine or begin again. Working with new equipment or finding a class can serve as a way to get out of a rut and inject variety into a tired or nonexistent routine. The additional exercise will have you feeling great about yourself and give you some added energy to tackle the days agenda.
2. Sit at the Bar—Talk to the Waiter. Those of us who travel solo know that figuring out where and what to eat can be a big hassle. Settling for familiar fare takes the stress out of worrying about what to eat but is not always the healthiest and tastiest choice. Bringing along reading material or business files is a big temptation to avoid feeling alone, but why not talk to those who are serving you? A conversation with a bartender or nice waiter not only helps to break up the solitude of a trip, but can also be a useful resource for pointing out local restaurants and happenings in the area.
3. Do One Thing You’ve Always Wanted to Do. A business trip can often interrupt the flow of our lives and it’s hard to feel you have one when traveling so often. Make your bucket list and cross things off as you perform each task. You may want to finally try snowboarding on a trip to Denver or try clams at a restaurant in San Francisco. Try doing one thing you’ve always wanted to do even if it’s not special to the locale. While jumping out of a plane or writing that novel may not happen on this trip, you can make a phone call to manage the details or do research for one of the chapters. Taking time to enjoy your life while working is both invigorating and will give you more energy to tackle other tasks.
4. Give Yourself an Extra Day. This one isn’t always so easy to do as may of us may have families to rush back to or other trips to accomplish before returning home. Often I try to slip in an extra day to get business files and details organized before returning home or to do a few additional things while in a particular city. Sometimes even half a day will do wonders. There may be a museum to visit or a small store to stop in and pick up souvenir items. But the extra time taken will give you some time to yourself to recharge your batteries and shake off the stress of a long week.
5. Extreme Self Care. While the stress of traveling itself can be taxing, business travel can be a great time to do a little extra something for yourself. Try to make your accommodations as comfortable as your business budget will allow and take advantage of hotel amenities. Been meaning to give yourself a pedicure or get a few extra hours of sleep? Many hotels now make it a priority to give business travelers comfortable accommodations with the hope you’ll become a loyal visitor and offer extra perks for signing up and making reservations with your number. Play some soothing music before bed time, bring a plush robe from home, take extra vitamins. Try reserving a suite with a kitchenette and shop for the week for nourishing snacks and meals. All of this will serve to support you in having a great time while away from home and have you looking like you just came back from a vacation not a business trip.