Using travel to further your career and build your business can be exciting and filled with opportunity. It can also be lonesome and challenging. As someone who spends thousands of hours in the air each year, I know how isolating traveling can be, especially when first starting out.
Don't fret, you can still have a great work-life balance while on the road or in the air. I've come across a few ways to stay sane and connected. You are traveling to better your business. Sacrificing it all isn't necessary.
1. Prioritize and compromise.
This is where planning ahead comes in handy. Figure out travel dates and cross-check that they aren't on important dates such as anniversaries or graduations. If they are, plan to celebrate at an alternate time. Or even better, see if someone can tag along with you.
I found a great trick in keeping track by setting up my phone calendar with color-coded alerts. All personal and family related events are blue while all work related events are green. I can share it easily with family, friends, and my team to make sure we are all on the same page.
2. Take advantage of your travels.
You are traveling far and often so you might as well take advantage of any opportunities to earn points or rewards on your personal cards and rewards programs. Rack up enough points and/or miles, and you may find that you earned enough for a nice getaway.
Additionally, you'll be gaining knowledge about the places you visit each time you travel. While you may not get to do much sightseeing while on a business trip, you can still get an idea of a place and determine whether or not it may be worth revisiting for leisurely purposes. Additionally, you are meeting local people and developing relationships that could serve you as a tourist.
3. Send loved ones a memento.
I have a friend that sends his wife a handwritten letter from each place he stays. He describes what happened on the journey and any relevant thoughts he has about the destination. She has put them all together in scrapbooks that her grandchildren now enjoy reading.
Another friend of mine finds points of interest through his two teenage children. They give him 3 things (such as a food item, a culturally relevant location, or a historical item of interest) he has to find that are specific to the place he is traveling to.
4. Use technology.
This goes without saying that technology can make you feel all the more closer to home thanks to apps like Skype and FaceTime. Other sources like area specific groups and events on Facebook, Twitter, or even MeetUp can help you connect with locals or like-minded individuals.
5. Take a walk.
I realize that sometimes you're grumpy, groggy, and just want to stay at your hotel while in a new place. But getting out for a quick stroll can make a major difference in how you feel for the trip. It can also help you understand the city better. You never know what you might stumble upon plus it's a good way to take care of yourself.
Be kind to yourself. Travel often brings unexpected surprises. A walk or meditation are some healthy ways to relax.
6. Bring your ritual.
Bringing something that is familiar to you can bring a sense of relief and center your sense of self. Having a playlist that you love, a daily journal, or your favorite book or movie downloaded can bring comfort in a unfamiliar place. Additionally, your favorite perfume, essential oils, and even yoga practice can all be used in your hotel to make it more like home.
I find that podcasts are especially helpful. Not only are they constantly updated, the sound of familiarity wherever I go makes me feel less alone. This is especially helpful when I'm in a place that doesn't speak my native language.
7. Talk to the people you are encountering.
Chatting to people may be the last thing you want to do but it can help you feel more comfortable and connected to the place you are in. Plus, it's always a learning experience and a chance to represent your business. Obviously, not everyone is going to be friendly or chatty, but you never know who you may end up meeting.
Regardless of your purpose for travels, preparation will benefit you in many ways. Sometimes even acting the part can change your perspective. When I'm feeling a bit down, I dress up and get out. Before you know it, you've made new contacts and friends. Before you know it, it'll all be second nature.