Despite the common misconception surrounding business travel, travelling for work is not always fun or exciting. In fact, researchers in a joint study conducted by the University of Surrey and Linnaeus University found three negative consequences to the high volume of work travel many professionals endure: physiological, psychological or emotional, and social. Unfortunately, in the age of global work streams and hypermobility, business travel will only continue to rise, but there are ways to combat the adverse effects and make business travel better.
Travel comfortably. Even if your company doesn’t foot the bill on a business class ticket for you, make your travel as comfortable as possible for yourself. Wear loose, breathable clothing for long flights or train rides, avoid lace-up shoes for security checkpoints, use noise-cancelling headphones to reduce auditory distractions, bring a pair of clean socks to change into post-travel, and have on hand whatever else you need to make the transit as easy and comfortable as possible.
Don’t check baggage. Most business trips are never longer than a few days so you shouldn’t really need to bring more than a carry-on’s worth of belongings with you. Save yourself the time, trouble, and potential for loss luggage by avoiding checking bags in all together.
Print out important documents. Even in our advanced technological world, there are still instances and destinations where internet connections may not be reliable or readily available. Don’t get caught stranded without your itinerary details, addresses of your hotel and meeting locations, and important contact phone numbers should an internet outage emergency arise. Have a hard copy printed and stored somewhere safe and accessible. You may never need it, but it’s better to have it on hand than to be stuck somewhere without a clue as to where you’re going.
Extend trip for personal leisure. If possible, consider extending your trip for a few extra days to squeeze in some personal sightseeing. You may be required to pay for the additional expenses of hotel, transportation, and additional airfare, but it sure beats having to pay for another round trip flight another time. If you have family, you may be able to turn your work trip into a family holiday, saving a bit on the airfare overall as well.
Schedule at least one personal activity. If you can’t extend your trip, try to make time for at least one non-work related outing during your trip. There’s bound to be something interesting for you to explore and experience, especially if you’re travelling to a destination you’ve never visited before. Depending on where your hotel is located, you may literally be around the corner from a number of interesting spots worthy of your time. Instead of opting for hotel dining, take a meal at a restaurant you read about or ask concierge for their favorite restaurant in the city.
Walk. You’ll most likely be cooped up indoors for meetings all day so instead of flagging down a taxi, stretch your legs and walk from one destination to the next if time and distance allows for it.
Take in the architecture and landscape so that you can get a better sense of your new surroundings.
Be social. Travel is one of the best ways to connect with a variety of people you may not come across in any other situation. Open yourself up to the possible connections you might make by making conversations with your fellow passengers (but take cues from their body language whether or not you should engage) or reach out to friends or associates who may be nearby and plan a meeting.