4 tips for less stressful business travel

Over the next 4 weeks, I will spend time 10 airports and 5 hotels/resorts in Australia and Asia. Business owners fall into two categories: those who love business travel and those who hate it. The love/hate dynamic may depend on how much you travel for work, but even if you love business travel there are stressful aspects to being away from home.

Although I can’t guarantee that these travel tips will ensure a completely stress-free experience, here are four ways to lessen your hassle. If you’re someone who hates work-related travel, maybe these tips will help you love it.

Make packing as automatic as possible

One of the most frustrating aspects of travel—whether it’s for work or pleasure—is packing. Many people put packing off until the last minute, which means important items can easily be forgotten. One way to avoid this issue, especially if you travel for work frequently, is to keep a pack-and-go suitcase stocked with items you always need.

Toiletries, personal care products, and haircare items can stay in your bag all the time. Buy duplicates of your favourite make-up or grooming items that you know you’ll want and keep those in the suitcase. Purchase travel sizes of some of the medications you take regularly. Then when it comes time to pack, you’ll be ahead of the game.  Packing cubes are my favourite travel item, they keep everything organised and can move from suitcase to drawers and back again, colour coded packing cases make everything easily identifiable too, my favourites are from ZoomLite.

If possible, take only a carry-on bag. Not checking your luggage frees up time because you won’t have to wait to claim your bags. If you can’t take only a small bag, take a carry-on that has everything you’ll need for the first 48 hours, in case anything happens to your suitcase.

Plan for your absence at work

Business travel is stressful enough without having to worry about how your business will operate while you’re away. Where possible, plan ahead for the days you’ll be gone. Make sure a trusted employee is trained to take over vital tasks while you’re away.

Write an “out of office” email that notifies people you may not respond as quickly as usual and in that email include the contact information of a colleague who can be reached in case of emergency.  Put a new message on your mobile as well.  Setting this expectation helps to lessen your stress while travelling.

Keep your routine

If you travel for work regularly or tend to travel for long periods, keeping your home routine while away will help you feel normal. If you exercise daily at home, make sure you exercise in while you’re away. If you eat healthy at home, continue that habit. If you go to bed at the same time every night after reading a book for 20 minutes, keep that pattern while out of town.

Make sure you have downtime

Business travel tends to be frantic and stressful, and it often involves headache-causing meetings and small talk. Make sure you have time to yourself to debrief, think about what you learned during the day, and check in on how you’re feeling. Even 10 minutes of quiet reflection at the end of every day can go a long way to reducing your stress.

Final thoughts

Whether you love business travel or hate it, there’s a good chance you have to do it. Being prepared for those trips, keeping your routine, and finding downtime while you’re away will help you manage your stress while you’re gone.

Maybe I’ll see you in an airport lounge over the coming weeks!

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