Over the last year, I've flown more than 100,000 miles. You could say I'm an expert traveler.
From changing time zones, to overcoming a language barrier, it took time for me to learn how to conquer cross-office, cross-hemisphere travel. With half of my company's staff in New York and the other in Russia, mastering international travel became mandatory.
Here are the essential tips that help me get from Point A to (a very distant) Point B.
Disrupt your sleep.
Switching time zones takes a toll on the body, so getting ahead of your sleep cycle's inevitable disruption is key.
Go to bed a little later, or a little earlier based on your travel. Before traveling from New York to Russia, I try to stay up as late as I can, giving myself a horrible night's sleep -- but priming myself to be exhausted once I board the flight.
If I still have trouble passing out once I'm boarded, I sometimes opt for liquid melatonin, a natural sleep aid. But find what works for you, and be sure to have it handy.
Don't waste anyone's time -- especially your own.
Two weeks before my trip, I send invitations to everyone I want to meet with, including agendas of what I want to discuss. I have goals for those individual meetings, and for the trip as a whole.
Setting your calendar in advance offers other benefits. If you know when and with whom you are meeting, it gives you a better idea of what to pack. When deciding what to bring, I go through every day's flow of meetings and events to decide how casual or formal to dress.
Having a schedule with all those details will eliminate likelihood of forgetting to pack something important.
Boost your immune system.
Building your immune system ahead of time can reduce the effects of jumping time zones and breathing in recycled plane air. Load up on that Vitamin C. I start a vitamin regimen three days before my trip, and keep it going until I return.
Also, over pack your medicine. I always travel with, basically, a full medicine cabinet. Never take it for granted that you'll be able to find what you need -- and even if you can, you may not know how to read something, or be able to verbally ask someone for assistance.
Google Translate is helpful when it comes to the language barrier. But it can't solve everything.
Download the day before.
The day before you leave, start downloading all your files. Not just entertainment like podcasts or movies, but also any cloud files that you may need during the flight.
In my case, streaming entertainment in Russia isn't always possible, so I download those before my flight. I tend to operate with an old-school rule: Never assume that you'll have internet access everywhere.
Take a pass on the sugar and salt.
Before getting on a plane, avoid anything carbonated or salty. Stay away from foods that make your body feel sluggish.
It's not always possible -- or practical -- to pack food from home. But a worthwhile solution I've found: Stocking up on fresh foods from dining options in the airport.
Even five years ago, airport dining options were basically soda, candy and bags of chips. But now I have no problem finding a fruit salad, yogurt parfait or other relatively healthy options.
Couple eating well with a quick morning workout once you've arrived at your destination, and you should be alert and primed for the day ahead.
Prepare like it's 1999.
Here's another old-school tip: When a trip, or your time, really matters, skip booking through an online travel portal and use a travel agent instead.
Although it's much easier to book on your own online, booking with a travel agent gives you peace of mind throughout the entirety of your trip.
If you find yourself in an apocalyptic scenario and all flights get shut down, you're never going to be happy. But if you booked through an agent, finding new accommodations is as simple as making a phone call and having someone else sort through the mess for you.
There's nothing worse than being at the Denver airport (sorry, Denver) and, all of a sudden, there's a snowstorm. Every flight is canceled, so good luck getting home!
The ability to make one simple phone call and have things figured out is invaluable - it's one less thing to worry about when your plans have suddenly derailed while you're hundreds of miles from home.