How to Make Work-Related Travel Less Miserable

Gone are the days when work meant punching the clock at an office at 9 AM and sitting in a cubicle or with fluorescent lights on until 5 PM.

Today, with the economy gone global and many companies doing business with people around the world, most jobs will entail some form of travel.

While some people will travel only once or twice a year for a special event, such as a conference, company executives do it more regularly, spending three or four more days a week on the road. You’ll spend less time at the office, and probably more time in airport lounges.

Until traveling for work becomes an old hat, you will need to become accustomed to it. After all, your workload doesn’t decrease because you’re on the road. Everything will take getting used to, from sleep, to your eating habits, to spending time with your family.

Here’s how to survive and remain productive:

1. Have a backup plan

Lots of things can go wrong while you are on the road. Your plane could run late, which would cause you to miss your ride. Your hotel could lose your reservations. The airline could lose your luggage. You need a backup plan.

Keep important documents with you, carry on when you can, and protect your wallet in a handy travel pack. Keep important phone numbers separate from your phone in case your phone dies, and call to check your reservations before you head anywhere.

2. Make the best use of your time

Travel time is precious. Of course, you know to do work while you are waiting for your flight at the airport, but what about smaller chunks of time? Time that you spend waiting for a taxi or in line to get your baggage checked may not seem like a lot of time, but it certainly adds up.

When you’re waiting in line, catch up on short, easy emails. Delete messages you no longer need. When you’re waiting for a cab, make calls and return messages. Call your family, or send the kids back home a postcard.

These things will make your trip stress-free, and you won’t be as behind on your tasks.

3. Make things easy for yourself

When you are travelling (and even when you aren’t), simplify. Make sure you use your smartphone or any other technology to its full advantage to schedule as many bill payments and email responses ahead of time so you are not wasting any time on tasks. Devote your brain power to the things that matter.

Check out restaurant locations and selections before you travel

You’d be surprised how hard it is to find restaurants on the road sometimes. Do your research ahead of arriving to a new city. Find a restaurant that is either close to your work space or your office, hotel, or airport, that is quiet and where you can use their free Wi-Fi. Better yet, delegate this task to someone.

4. Don’t forget to move your muscles

You might have physically travelled thousands of miles, but your body hasn’t moved a muscle since the Chicago airport.

This leads to stiff muscles and poor digestion, as well as weight gain when you have too much fatty food when travelling. Take a few minutes to stretch out and walk. Check out your surroundings on foot, and walk whenever you can. When you get to your hotel, ask if there is a gym and pack running shoes and shorts in your suitcase for the next trip.

As a traveling executive, your health and wellbeing shouldn’t have to suffer just to complete your tasks. With a little preparation, you can enjoy your time on the road while working as productively as if you were in the office.