Most people only see the glamorous side of travel, reading about jet-setting business owners and dreaming of hopping from continent to continent themselves.

What they don't see is the grueling nature of that constant movement from city to city.

They don't see the flight from Chicago to South Africa that gets delayed, then rerouted through London--turning 18 hours of travel into 41. They don't see the missing luggage, the cab stuck in traffic for hours, or the hotel that didn't hold a reservation.

I passed through 82 cities and 15 countries last year alone. That's an average of seven cities per month and sometimes two to three cities in the same week. It can be exhausting and disorienting to travel that much, but the biggest mistake you can make?

Not taking care of your health. 

Take Care of Yourself

I'm not the type of person who regularly schedules a day at the spa. But the more you travel, the more you may realize it's okay to take time for yourself. In fact, it's necessary. You'll be much better off (both personally and professionally) if you take some time to relax and rejuvenate after hours or days of travel.

Not into spa trips? I have a friend who likes to use Airbnbs instead of hotels because the full kitchen means he can cook a healthy meal for himself. Whatever your version of pampering is--a good meal, exercise, a massage--get into the habit of ensuring you have time for it. If you need rest, allow yourself to take a nap.

Personalize Your Surroundings

Traveling can be disorienting. Days spent in the air, strange cities, sterile hotels, timezone hopping--it all begins to blur after awhile. I call this "Travelnesia".

So, bring things with you that personalize your surroundings. Think about your main senses and ways to engage all your senses with something familiar: sight, smell, sound, touch, taste.

I travel with candles and aromatherapy sprays so that whatever room I'm in smells familiar no matter what city or country it is. I also travel with a mini Bluetooth Bose stereo speaker about 6 inches in length but quality of sound that will blow you away. Listening to a familiar playlist can also feel like home. Music triggers memories, something familiar, something comforting.

Bring your favorite snacks, especially in other countries with different time zones when you wake up at midnight and your stomach is ready for dinner. I even started traveling with a soft, cozy blanket so that I always have something that feels familiar, no matter what the hotel bedspread is like.

The key is to have a feeling of home or familiarity while on the road.

Prevent Stress With Simplicity

It's an old tip, but always put your essentials in your carry-on. At least one change of clothes, basic toiletry items, and any essentials, should be with you at all times. I learned this one the hard way when I left Chicago once and my suitcases didn't make the flight. I was in Vegas for three days then hopping around California from San Jose to Sacramento then L.A. a few days at a time. It wasn't until two weeks later my bags caught up to me in Atlanta. I had my virtual office, all electronics, walkie talkies, and even an "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" board game in my carryon bag, but no real essentials.

Ultimately, most of your things are replaceable, from clothes to toiletry items. There's just a handful of things that can't be replaced. Back up your data on electronics and remember to simplify what you need. The fewer items you carry around, the less your potential for stress.

Prepare For The Worst

When traveling for business, it's good to be prepared. Hope for the best, sure, but don't get caught in a bind because something went wrong.

Allow a little extra time on layovers. Try not to take the last flight of the day in case there is a delay or cancellation.

Schedule a few extra days into your itinerary. Sometimes, I'll book an extra day or two before or after an event to give myself a little time to recover. This especially helps when traveling internationally.

Find Your Rhythm

Think about your health as a priority. I discovered that I couldn't continuously fly into a city at midnight, get up the next morning to work, and then fly out later in the day. At a pace like that, you'll burn out. Quickly.

Learning to say no is a valuable skill to create a reasonable schedule for yourself. Don't discount self-care. Because at the end of the day, that's the only way you'll actually be able to enjoy traveling the world and succeed as an entrepreneur -- with your health in tact.

Published on: Jun 21, 2018
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