January 9 2013 by Claudia Kunkel
The holiday season is over and many of us will be back on the road traveling for business. Traveling around holiday time can be stressful and hectic enough, but having to travel extensively right after for "work" is just adding insult to injury! For this reason I've put together a shortlist of some key things you can do to keep yourself as rested and rejuvenated as you possibly can be, amidst your upcoming business travels. These tips are so simple, yet they can make a big difference on the R&R scale, so take note!
There's something to be said for a few more inches of legroom and seat room! If you're a frequent flyer you may be able to score upgrades using points or even just as a perk to being a loyal customer when flying with your usual airline. If you're not a frequent flyer, don't underestimate the power of dressing well, putting forth a warm smile and just asking if you might be upgraded. It never hurts to ask. Another tip from an airline insider I'm tight with - the best chance of getting upgraded tends to be on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Plan Ahead, Go Early and Pack Light
The whole airport process can be quite stressful and aggravating. Plan ahead by checking in online. Why every business traveler doesn't do this is a mystery to me. With a few clicks you are checked in and that's one less line to wait in at the airport leaving more time for a tension-relieving pre-flight shoulder massage, or a leisurely meal at the airport before taking off (allowing you to avoid the high sodium and flavorless airplane food). Next, build in extra time for traffic jams on your commute to the airport and other unexpected delays. Going early ensures you won't be caught in a last minute scramble or frenzy. Nothing is worse than starting off a trip running like a madman through the airport to make it to the gate on time. Another key move is to pack light - carry-on light. Why? Because you do NOT want to check your bags... if you haven't lost a piece of luggage (even temporarily) traveling already, you are due to; and losing your luggage is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone. Think you can't squeeze everything into your carry-on size suitcase? Think again, because if I can, you can. You're traveling on business, people! No need to put on a fashion show. Classic mix and match pieces are all you need. You can do it! Think George Clooney in the movie "Up in the Air". And remember, traveling carry-on means another line you don't have to wait in (you can add a pedicure to your pre-flight massage).
Unless completely unreasonable (i.e. long distance driving between meetings), consider taking cabs instead of renting a car if budgets allow. This move alone can save you oodles of unnecessary stress. By taking a cab, you don't have to worry about finding parking, trekking to the kiosk to pay for the parking, possibly getting wet in the rain and navigating on a map or GPS. These may not seem like a big deal to you, but trust me, on a busy day of back to back meetings all over the city, this makes a huge difference. What's more, since you won't be behind a wheel, you can mentally prepare for your next meeting, jot down notes from your previous meeting, or catch up on text messages, e-mails, phone calls and more while en route. Even better, you can just use that time to close your eyes for a moment and relax.
At the Hotel
Busy days of meetings and client dinners can be exhausting. You'll need your quiet time and a place to have peaceful slumber at your hotel. Request a room away from the elevator, the housekeeping station, the ice or vending machine, the entrance to the gym or any other high traffic area. This will minimize audible disturbances. On the nights you don't have business obligations, order room service and enjoy being alone, eating a delicious meal in your robe on the bed. After a day full of meeting new faces, presenting, negotiating and partaking in small talk, you will love being able to enjoy a great meal in the privacy of your room. Lastly, if you know your schedule in advance and can be sure of when you'll be returning to your room for the night, many hotels offer in-room spa services. Book a massage or facial for yourself, to take place in your room - Ahhhhhh. I can feel myself relaxing now.
Wake Up Early
If you're not jetlagged or averse to mornings, consider getting up 30 minutes early and going for a walk outside. Grab yourself a coffee and enjoy the fresh air and new surroundings. This is a great way to start the day, and clear your mind making room for the productive day that lies before you. Doing this surely energize you and allow you to bring your best to the day ahead.
Happy (Business) Travels!