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How to reduce the stress of business travel

19th November 2018 Print

Traveling for business may seem glamorous at first, but for those of us who've been through the carousel a few times, we already know how incredibly stressful it can get. Travellers have to deal with everything, from the physical demands of travel and jet lag, to the frustration of delays or stolen and/or lost luggage. When the stress builds up, your performance suffers, and eventually, your health will as well. Here are a few tips on how to reduce the stress of business travel.

Learn How to Keep Your Mental State in Check

No matter what you do, if you don’t learn how to manage your stress, you’ll get stressed no matter what. That’s why it’s important that you’re always aware of your mental state and learn how to react to certain situations. If you flip out at the mere thought of a slight delay or if you can’t get the seat you wanted, you’re in for a bad ride. 

Make sure that you learn how to monitor your stress level and learn how to defuse stressful situations. If your flight is late, instead of getting stressed, take the opportunity to sit down, read a book or listen to music, and get some extra rest. Knowing how to maintain your state is especially important if you find yourself in a completely foreign environment. No matter what the situation is, you’d be surprised at how much a deep breath and learning how to take things in stride can help.

Minimise the Potential for Things to Go Wrong

One way to reduce the stress of travel is to plan your trip so that it is almost impossible for things to go wrong. Take direct flights instead of connecting flights so you don’t have to make connections. Pack everything you need when you reach your destination so that you don’t have to worry about being unable to secure necessities when you arrive. This includes, but isn’t limited to, taking any over the counter medication, prescription medications, and devices you need. Carry toiletries and sufficient clothes so that you don’t have to worry about being able to find replacements before a meeting.

Plan a Realistic Schedule

Don’t set yourself up for failure by having to do work while travelling, though you may not be able to get any done. Schedule long enough layovers that you won’t miss one flight if your arriving flight is delayed. Give yourself enough time to grab luggage to get to the hotel or your first meeting. Set a realistic personal schedule, too. Give yourself enough time to sleep, and schedule time for personal care like exercise and relaxation. Also give yourself time to recover from jet lag before you jump into demanding activities.

Get the Blood Pumping

Getting some exercise before and after your flight is a great way to get some activity and dissipate some of that stress. An easy way to get a quick workout before your flight would be to come early, put your trainers on, and go for a few laps around the airport. Just doing something as simple as going for a brisk walk before your flight could significantly reduce your stress levels and make the flight much more bearable.

Minimise the Changes to Your Routine

If you want to minimise the risk of problems when you’re travelling, try to minimise the changes to your personal routine. Stick to your diet, and then you’re less likely to feel bad because you’re eating too much or unfamiliar foods. Set a schedule that lets you work out when you normally do so that you’ll be at your best when you meet with customers. Get enough sleep, and try to go to sleep when you’re used to unless you need to shift your schedule to fit local time.

Have Backup Plans for When Things Go Wrong

Have a backup plan for what you’ll do if you miss a flight or can’t take the trip. Research credit cards that have built-in insurance for trips, hotels and other events so that you can get your money back if the vendor fails to deliver. Take extra copies of keys, documents and items you can’t afford to be without.

You should also deal with the reality that your flight might be cancelled or delayed. Know exactly what you should do if it happens. And also make sure that you know where to get compensation as well. Depending on where you’re going to and the circumstances, you might actually be eligible for flight cancellation compensation. Services like AirHelp can help you figure out whether you’re eligible and they will also help you get the most compensation possible, and fast.

Ensure that you have all of your necessary files before you leave. Have backup plans, such as having presentation files saved to the cloud that you can access even if your laptop is stolen. Consider taking a mobile hotspot or wi-fi with you in case you cannot connect to the hotel’s network. Know the rules for tapping into perks like cash paid to you when your luggage is lost or flight cancelled so you can buy replacements on short notice.

Travel Comfortably

One of the best ways to minimise stress when travelling is to travel comfortably. Consider paying for a spacious seat, especially if you want to work on a laptop or catch up on sleep while travelling. Pack snacks so that you won’t get hungry.

Dress in layers so that you don’t get cold or overheat. And forget wearing business attire as well. If you intend to get some shut eye during the flight, try to wear clothes you’ll feel comfortable sleeping in. You should have plenty of time to get prepared once you land, considering most airports nowadays will have changing rooms and showers.

Consider wearing sensible but decent shoes, since it is hard to run to reach a connecting flight in heels. Plan to hang up your business clothes in the plane so that they aren’t crumpled up in your luggage, and know that they will get wrinkled if you wear them while sitting on the flight.

Plan Ahead to Save Time

Do your research in advance so you can save time. This can save you a lot of stress, too. Find out what you can do to expedite the airport security process. Take items with you that you don’t want to have to stop to pick up. Consider ordering meals on a flight so that you don’t have to figure out when you’ll eat before you find a ride to your hotel or client site.

File Expense Reports Immediately

File expense reports as soon as you can after you’ve paid those expenses. This minimises the risk that you lose receipts or critical paperwork that prevents you from being reimbursed. Filing the forms as soon as possible also ensures you get reimbursed quickly. However, you should store your receipts in a safe place while you’re travelling in case you need the documentation later. If possible, get the apps now that let you submit expense reports while you’re still on the road.

If you take the time to minimise your stress when travelling, it won’t take a toll on your physical and emotional health. And you’ll be able to meet the demands of work despite the travel.