People who don’t travel for business often think business travel must be exciting.
If you are the road warrior, you know that reality is a little less exciting. For most frequent business travelers, even the high-end hotel rooms begin to look alike, and your own bed at home looms large in your fantasies. Restaurant meals also tend toward same-ness, making a home-cooked dinner seem delicious.
Yet for many people, business travel is a non-negotiable part of life. So how do you keep your chin up and your thinking positive?
Before I became a success coach, I spent many years in corporate sales, and I was one of those weary road warriors. I was determined to find a way to make the best of my business travel, so it didn’t leave me lacking energy and enthusiasm.
The tricks and strategies I created for myself helped me escape the frequent flyer funk. So if you’ve got a busy travel schedule coming up, here are some ideas to help you enjoy the journey and not just the destination.
#1 Take action to keep your mood positive. Staying afloat mentally doesn’t happen by accident. Be proactive and give yourself small treats to look forward to that you can enjoy on the journey. Some people save books or magazines that they’re looking forward to reading for their time in the airport, on the plane or in the hotel. Or, download some new upbeat or relaxing music to your MP3 player to enjoy on the road. You might even want to download an inspirational guided meditation to enjoy at the end of the day or while you’re on the plane to focus your thoughts on positive intentions.
#2 Don’t fill every moment with work. It can be tempting to try to be “productive” every waking moment when you’re on the road, but resist the temptation. That road leads to burnout. You don’t have to read a business book on the plane or spend the entire time you’re in the airport answering emails. Odds are you’re already working a longer-than-usual day with meetings and transportation hassles, so allow yourself some breathing space during the in-between times.
#3 Make some “me” time every day. It’s easy to get swept into morning-until-night activity on the road, but that will leave you wrung out and depleted. Instead, carve out at least 30 minutes of time for yourself (and I don’t mean reviewing emails). Take a walk around the block where your hotel is located. Sink into a comfy chair and read or listen to music. Meditate. Do a light workout or run through some Yoga moves in your room to loosen stiff muscles and get rid of jitters.
#4 Try to do at least one thing that takes in some “local color.” Yes, you can eat in the same chain restaurants anywhere in the world and get coffee at Starbucks from Boise to Beijing. But if you default to what’s familiar, business travel takes on a mind-numbing sameness. Instead, try to do at least one “local” thing each day. Opt for the local coffee house over the national chain. Ask the hotel staff for a good local restaurant that’s not a franchise. Pop into a one-of-a-kind gift shop, independent bookstore or a retailer you don’t have back home. Look for a restaurant, bar of coffeehouse with live music and enjoy the vibe.
You’ll be amazed how much better you’ll feel about your time on the road when you set your own inner agenda. Set an intention to reframe your travel time to make it refreshing, renewing and enjoyable, and you might be surprised at the results.