It didn't come easily, mind you. I've gotten turned around more times than I can count, lost things in translation, and couldn't resist the anti-jetlag power nap that ultimately turned into a 5-hour deep slumber, leaving me groggy.
It's all been worth it though because I love my work, and I love learning about new cultures and exploring new countries. But, my hope is that you don't make some of the mistakes I have.
So, once you've packed your meeting materials, got your boarding pass, and charged up your iPad, consider packing these items critical for global business travel success.
1. A lightweight travel blanket.
After 25 years of travel, I've found one very powerful tool for beating jetlag--a light blanket. Covering up with a light blanket is essential to helping you keep cozy in an over-air conditioned plane and catch some much-needed shuteye so you arrive well-rested and alert.
Other items to consider bringing on the plane include ear plugs, a pillow and an eye mask. Also, resist over-indulgence on food and alcohol. Better yet, skip the alcohol. Get some fresh air when you land. And, finally, don't fall into the "power nap" trap. Try, try, try to get onto the local schedule.
The last souvenir you want to bring back from an otherwise productive trip is a head cold or unshakeable fatigue. Taking vitamins can go a long way in fortifying yourself against germs. You are going to be in closely packed spaces, sharing more than the agenda. I rely on vitamins and two supplements: COLD-FX and Traumeel.
3. Exercise clothes.
Critical to overcoming jet-lag (and to your overall well-being) is getting some exercise everyday--before, during and after your trip. Even a thirty-minute workout can do wonders. It gets the blood flowing, your brain working, it builds your immune system to fight colds and viruses, and makes you feel dang good.
If you're staying at a hotel without a good gym facility, ask about a neighborhood gym nearby. Go for a run or join some people playing a sport outdoors.
I've even downloaded a couple of workout apps and in a pinch, do those in my hotel room. One of my favorites is the FitStar app. On the other side of the fitness coin, consider a yoga app, which can help you calm frayed nerves and center yourself. One example is Yoga Download.
Traveling doesn't have to be a grind. With the right tools at your disposal, you can bring home the reassurance of a job well done or an adventurous story rather than your plane seat neighbor's cold. Bon voyage!