To an outsider, a conference in London and a lunch in New York can all seem pretty glamorous. But for anyone who is constantly traveling for work, a new time zone every week is hardly a vacation. From living out of a suitcase to nonstop jet lag, frequent flying is challenging for the body and the mind.
It's particularly difficult for those who have family or loved ones they're leaving behind. Constantly having to miss birthdays, school plays and soccer games because you're 3,000 miles away on a work trip takes its toll on everyone involved.
As someone whose been to my fair share of airports, I know all too well how tough it can be. However, it's an important component for my company's growth, as many of our clients are based throughout North America and Europe. In other words, my flight status won't be changing any time soon.
So instead of getting stuck in a negative rut (which is incredibly easy to do), here are some strategies I've adapted that have helped me not only embrace being on the go, but even make me look forward to my next work trip.
1. Do Your Research
While you may not be able to control the amount of travel, you may be able to plan your schedule so you're not going from back-to-back (to-back) meetings. On every trip, I ensure there are at least two hours where I can discover something new about the city.
Are you a foodie? Look up what cuisine the region is known for, and where the locals love to dine out. Is there a famous museum or landmark that tourists flock to? Go there. Even small towns have their charm, so take a stroll through the main street and do some window shopping. Force yourself to discover something new.
2. Double Up on Essentials
One of the worst parts about traveling occurs before you even step inside the airport. Packing can become a major chore, especially if you're heading to different climates where you can't 'recycle' your previous travel wardrobe.
To make it a little easier, I always have a second set of items that never leave the suitcase. This includes a phone charger, a travel power adapter, and basic toiletries. The less you have to worry about packing, the easier the trip will become.
3. Stay Out Of The City
It doesn't take long before every city starts to look the same. Whether it's Toronto or Houston, there will always have traffic, busy sidewalks, and sirens going off at all hours of the night.
Whenever possible, look for places to stay outside of the city. Have a conference in Los Angeles? Book a hotel in Santa Monica and spend your mornings and evenings unplugging at the beach. It may be a longer trek, but it could bring you the tranquility you need to recharge.
4. Treat Yourself
Upgrade to business class on your next long flight. Get a massage. Order an expensive glass of wine at dinner. After weeks on the road, you deserve to pamper yourself.
If funds are tight, pick up a magazine, curl up by the hotel pool and kick back. It may not seem like much, but any time you can take a few moments for yourself, your body and mind will thank you.
5. Practice Mindfulness
It may sound cliché, but embracing business travel all comes down to mindset. Nothing can replace missed time with your friends and family. However, you have to accept this reality and look at the positives.
For executives and entrepreneurs, you're doing what you need to keep the business growing. You may have always dreamed of one day traveling the globe to land key accounts and build your brand. Remind yourself that you've made this into a reality.
Setting goals and rewarding yourself once they're achieved is also effective. For example, aim to sign on 10 new franchisees or increase the company's sales by 10 percent. Then reward yourself so you feel accomplished.
Whether it's a new watch, a family vacation, or a generous dividend, having your eye on the prize will motivate you to keep going.