7 Travel Tips to Help Business Travelers Stay Sharp!

imageBusiness Travel Tips

What does it take to travel on business, far from your comfort zone?  Flight delays, whirlwind business trips, lack of rest, no vacation time and a whole lot more. Clearly no finishing school in the world can prepare you to face these seemingly trivial travails of a trip.

A business trip offers a great chance to make a name for yourself as you represent the company. You can choose to stay sharp and come back a success, or pretend it’s a drunken vacation and break your career. If you choose the former, here are seven must-know tips for someone who wishes to be a pro business traveler:

1. Stay Alert Even Before Traveling

Most business travelers tend to rush things and end up not getting enough rest before departing.  It is essential to get plenty of rest the night before, as stress can also leave you prone to forgetting something important. Keep everything you consider important and cannot afford to lose, such as your ID, wallet etc. with you, in case of loss of baggage.  Here is a site I found interesting.
2. Eat Healthy

The psychology of a traveler is such that traveling is seen as a time to break away from a healthy lifestyle.  This attitude may be excused if you’re on a vacation but certainly not when traveling for business.

Photo by ArtistOnline

Airports are unhealthy places that don’t offer great food choices. A greasy pizza or a fatty burger is the worst way to start your journey. While you may not be allowed to carry beverages, you can pack your own healthy ready-to-eat snacks like some granola bars, fruit and sandwiches, and buy some water.  While at home or office, you certainly do not eat chocolates, peanuts, pretzels and drink wine all day; so why such unhealthy temptations while traveling?

To ensure you stay sharp at all times, stick to non-greasy food, fresh salads (with light dressings) and fruits.  Choose grilled chicken over fried and the plainest fish dish on the menu. Avoid buttery sauces and order for a veggie medley instead of fries. As tempting as it may be, stay away from aerated drinks.

Traveling is dehydrating and water is a wonderful source of hydration. If you are one of those business travelers who need to consume alcohol during flight, make sure to drink plenty of water as alcohol dehydrates you. We are talking of pure sparkling water not what you mixed in your drink. This will also help you avoid getting sick or feeling nauseous by the time you reach your destination. Why not start loading up on water hours before boarding a flight? CNN reveals important information on toxic cabin air in this video.
3. Keep Fit And Relaxed

One of the most popular misconceptions of even frequent business travelers is that they can rest on the plane. You may think you’ve slept on the plane but it can be stressful and leaves most people tired by the time they land. It is advisable to plan in such a way that you get a good night’s sleep before getting on the plane; more so if you have to handle business soon after landing.

While on a business trip, people have little or no time to keep up with a regular exercise program. But it does not have to be that way. Getting a good workout before attending to your business is not only good for your health but also gives an extra burst of energy for the day. It does not have to be anything extensive, just a simple workout while watching the morning news will do.

You can walk around the plane as much as possible during the flight. Regular stretching of legs will also help avoid the risk of deep vein thrombosis while giving you the exercise you need.
4. Combat Jet Lag

Jet lag is the bane of a business traveler. If you are traveling across time zones for business, it is only natural that your sleep timing gets disrupted; especially if it is daytime when you arrive at your destination but night back home. Try to avoid sleeping during the day and do some light exercise to refresh your body enough to keep it from producing sleep-inducing hormones. Caffeine can be used to help combat sleepiness during the day but it should not be taken close to bedtime, as this can make you sleepless at night.

In the U.S. mathematicians are developing unique software that can help the global traveler adjust easily in a new time zone. In their laptops, travelers will enter the flight details and receive advice on when to sleep, when to get exposed to daylight, and if they need some supplements.  Anyway, you may have to wait about five years for this software to be out.
5. Deal With Loneliness

Over time, traveling for business can seem like an endless grind. Make your monotonous and lonely business trips fun and interesting.

One way is to converse with neighbors on the plane.  At the hotel, instead of ordering room service, get down and choose a table with a view, overlooking a river or even a street.  Better still, sit at the bar and talk to the locals. You can even network with your business community and meet up for a lunch or dinner, provided your schedule allows it. This sort of interaction keeps your senses alert.

Reading can be a great stress buster. Carry a couple of good books and read on the plane and when dining alone, if you are in no mood for inane conversations.

If you have to occupy long stretches of time between conducting business, it can be refreshing to visit places of interest, such as antique shops or local craft shops.  Take the edge off and get ready for an upcoming business meeting.
6. Carry Data Backup

Electronic storage devices are part and parcel of every business traveler. No longer do businessmen carry bunches of paper stuffed in their bags. Although, it is not advisable, if you are going to check in your laptop, you need to get yourself a sturdy laptop bag, as you can expect some mishandling. Pack appropriate cables to access the Internet. However, it is essential to back up all the material on a USB flash drive (or a couple of drives), as they are small, light, portable and easy-to-use. This ensures you are covered if something should happen to the laptop.
7. Safeguard Against Negative Elements

While staying sharp when traveling for business entails keeping yourself healthy and fit and handling business efficiently, it also means not becoming a sitting duck for criminals.

Here’s how you can be security conscious when traveling:

If you are going to a new place, try and avoid reaching the destination at night.
Find out about the hotel you are going to be staying beforehand, to ensure you do not end up in a hotel of questionable safety.
It is advisable to pay for the food from the restaurant instantly.  Charging these expenses to your hotel bill makes it easier for people to match your name and room number.
Be very careful with your credit cards as most of them give away your complete name.
Be vary of taxi drivers who take you on routes you have no idea of.  It is a good idea to check the route on a map beforehand.  This way you can even suggest the landmarks to the taxi driver.
Make sure you do not act like a stranger in town, even if you are.  This lessens the risk of being taken for a ride.

Finally….

It is very easy to change the complete routine when traveling – right from changing sleeping patterns to eating wrong to not exercising to letting yourself go.  However, the best way to stay sharp when traveling is to stick to the normal routine as much as possible.

If you do feel unwell, take extra care by going to bed early or sipping some tea or taking medication. Following these tips will help keep you mentally sharp and physically energetic to handle your business efficiently.

Before we end, we cannot help but recommend this excellent FDA site that gives tips for travel abroad, irrespective of the country you are traveling to.

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