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Anyone who has gone on a business trip knows firsthand knows how glamorous they can be. Free meals. Free hotels. Exploring a new city on someone else’s dime. The perks are indeed sweet. However, there are down sides too. The very first business trip I went on, I was stranded in an airport for eight hours due to an unforeseen ice storm. This also had the plane circling the area for almost an hour before landing. Coincidentally, my last business trip also involved a storm. A four-hour road trip doubled to eight-hours.
Bad traveling conditions are just one thing that can put a damper on a business trip. Others include working on a tight schedule, keeping track of all your reimbursement receipts, packing and unpacking, insomnia, and missing your partner. These are the things people don’t think about. Or don’t want to think about, as it just adds to the stress.
Concentrating on the pros will certainly put your mind at ease and make the trip less of a burden and more of a great memory. These following ideas will help you cope with business travel.
Plan Ahead for Fun Things to Do
When I traveled to Atlanta, Georgia on a business trip for a trade magazine I was editing, I researched what was going on in the area. I ended up doing so many fun things including going to the Hard Rock Café, a Middle Eastern restaurant that featured a magician, and an oldies rock concert. It’s important to take advantage of downtime, otherwise you’ll get homesick quickly. Some people are restless when they travel. It’s best to do as much as possible to tire yourself out and get a good night’s sleep. Otherwise, insomnia will have you up all night and that won’t be too fun the next day.
Traveling for business certainly takes an emotional toll on me. I just miss my husband so much. The first trip away from him, I was crying in the airport. After that it did get easier. Phone calls are a big help. I’ll call him first thing in the morning and before I go to sleep at night. It’s not only comforting, but a great way to stay connected. I’m not a fan of texting, but of course others use this method to keep in touch. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend FaceTime. In my opinion, that would make me more homesick. But that’s just me. Whatever makes you feel best is what you should do.
Be Prepared for Disasters
The disasters I’ve had traveling for business trips double the smooth trips I’ve had. So, make sure you’re covered. Always bring a phone charger. Bring a book you can get lost in. Pack healthy snacks. Carry soothing essential oils to calm yourself. Sure, it’s extra stuff to make your bags even heavier, but you’ll be happy you did. Also take First Aid items just in case, including Band-Aids, aspirin, and melatonin.
When you get out of your general area, you’ll meet many different types of people. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity. Carry plenty of business cards in case you run into someone you’d love to reconnect with. Some of these relationships may be brief, but others can turn into something cool, even if it’s just a new friendship.
On my very first business trip I was discussing a program two of my clients were using that I disagreed with. I didn’t believe this program was beneficial to their company. Truth be told, I thought it was a scam. A woman who lived halfway across the country agreed with me. Her client was using the same program. We connected over breakfast at a hotel in Chicago and decided to keep in touch. She contacted me shortly afterwards and told me she convinced her client to no longer use the program. Even though my clients continued to use it, I felt validated learning that others agreed with me.
Things don’t always work out to your benefit, but knowing there are people out there who agree with your ideas can help promote self-confidence. Even if you lose touch with someone, you’ll never forget how they once reassured you that your ideas were not off the mark.
Let It Be
When you’re on a business trip, you may not have the time to pamper yourself like you do at home. You certainly won’t get enough sleep. You may not be able to exercise, even if the hotel does have a gym. And the hotel’s idea of a healthy meal could be way off. Do not beat yourself up for not working out or eating something that’s not gluten-free. Instead of stressing over what you’re not doing for yourself, focus on what you are doing. You’re making a lot of money and advancing your career. Think about all the successful rockstars who spend more time on the road than at home. Even if they are staying in 5-star hotels, it’s nowhere near as cozy as their mansion. You’re temporarily roughing it, and you’re not alone! Let it be.
Have any more ideas for making the most out of a business trip? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.