After last year’s WorkHuman conference hosted by Globoforce, I decided to keep track of how many days I spent away from home on business travel. It was basically 90 days – a quarter of my time I spend traveling. I’m not sure if that’s a lot or a little, but it did get me thinking that any time I’m traveling, I should try to have a good experience.
Of course, there are parts of business travel we can’t control like weather, transportation delays and occasional restless sleep. But there are things we can do to make the travel experience more pleasant. I believe that part of what makes travel enjoyable is having a balance between the feeling of being at home and the adventure of being in a new city. Here’s what I mean: to give me some sense of home, there are a few things that I do to bring some sense of routine or calm to my travels.
- Because jet lag is no fun, I bring my A-game when it comes to hydration. One of the best things I’ve ever done is read a book on jet lag, written by a flight attendant, which explained one of the keys to reducing jet lag is staying hydrated. Drink water, avoid alcohol and take care of your skin.
- The airport security checkpoint can be inconsistent. Sometimes the lines go quickly. Other times, it’s aggravating! I feel I spend enough time traveling to justify the TSA Precheck or Global Entry While it doesn’t eliminate all of the hassles, it definitely makes business travel a whole lot nicer.
- Ever since I switched from coffee to tea, I’m amazed at the lack of a quality tea selection in hotels. So I decided to take matters in my own hands and I travel with a few tea bags. It takes up very little space in my luggage. Sometimes I splurge and bring my vanilla creamer too. Having your morning beverage of choice does wonders.
- Instead of gathering up a whole bunch of cables around the house, I have a tech kit that is always ready with everything I need – cables, chargers, adapters, etc. I don’t need to worry about forgetting anything. There’s nothing worse than worrying about my devices – especially when I’m using them to stay connected.
- This might sound weird, but I decided that I was worth nice travel toiletries. At home, I have shampoo, conditioner, lotions, etc. that I like. But when I travel, I didn’t want to take big bottles of stuff with me. Takes up too much space and, if it breaks – ugh. So I subscribed to Birchbox and use the samples when I travel. For $10/month, I can have a supply of nice beauty products to take with me. And if I don’t like one, the cost of the sample is small so I don’t feel bad about throwing it away.
Conversely, I’m going someplace new or different so I want a little adventure. So here are some other things I like to do:
- Especially when I’m traveling alone, I set a goal to work on something I normally do in the office. It might be to test drive a new iTunes app. Or write XX words per day. People talk about working from anywhere, so I try to challenge myself to do one thing when I’m gone.
- While I’m 35,000 feet in the air, I plan an in-flight entertainment sanctuary. I can read a book or magazine. Watch a movie that Mr. Bartender has no desire to see. Do a puzzle on my jigsaw puzzle iPad app. I find something that only I like to do and instead of doing those things at home, when I’m with friends and family, I save them for my airplane “me” time.
- As soon as I know where I’m going, I start the search for a cheeseburger. In my quest for the best cheeseburger, I try to find someplace new to check out. The search is just as fun as sitting down to try the burger.
- You’ve noticed over the past couple of years that I’ve been sharing my own photos on HR Bartender. When I travel, I use it as an opportunity to practice taking photos using my iPhone. I love street photography so when I’m out walking around, it’s a great way to take in the sights.
- This last one might not sound super adventurous but I like to read or watch the local news. I think it’s fascinating to see what other cities are reporting and how they are reporting them. It breaks the familiarity of my local surroundings in a good way and challenges me to think about issues using a different perspective.
Business travel doesn’t have to be uncomfortable, nor does it have to be boring. Finding the right routine (with a little bit of adventure) can actually make you look forward to that next trip. What do you do to make your business travel special? Let us know in the comments.
Image taken by Sharlyn Lauby while wandering the Paris Las Vegas Resort