How Seasoned Business Travelers Alleviate Stress on the Road

By Jessica Larkin

To many outsiders, the jet-set lifestyle of a business traveler is viewed as glamorous and exciting. However, for those of us living on-the-road, the stress associated with work travel can be a very real thing. Some of the most common stressors include the actual travel itself (airports aren’t exactly a great time), living from a suitcase and the underlying worry that a key item was forgotten, maintaining healthy routines, and homesickness. Here are some of our favorite insights to help alleviate the stress associated with business travel.

Be Prepared

Don’t pack last minute. We repeat, don’t pack last minute. Few things are worse than finding out you only packed one dress shoe or that you failed to bring your laptop charger. We also recommend that you figure out your itinerary before you begin tossing items in your suitcase to ensure nothing gets overlooked–are you attending a dinner? Business meetings? What about a golf outing or similar team building event? Good news, there’s an app for that! Pack Point is a business travel life-saver that organizes what you need to pack based on length of travel, weather at your destination, and activities on your itinerary. Seriously, check it out.

Breeze through Security

Long lines, the need to remove shoes, belts, and laptops from bags, having proper documentation ready–airport security isn’t the highlight of any trip. As we’ve stated previously, “Experienced travelers know that having identification and boarding passes in-hand is one of the easiest ways to expedite the time spent in the TSA queue. If you’re using your passport, open it to the page with your photo and information. Have your printed boarding pass ready to give to the agent, and if using the mobile option, have your boarding pass and barcode front and center on your phone screen.” To expedite the security process, we highly recommend membership in a Trusted Traveler Program such as Global Entry, TSA PreCheck, or Clear.

Maintain Healthy Habits

According to a national survey by On Call International, a leading travel risk management company, a majority of business travelers (54 percent) say they are less likely to exercise on a work trip compared to when they are not traveling. To make matters worse, 44 percent say they are more likely to eat unhealthy foods during business travel.

With a plethora of new restaurants and long days, maintaining healthy habits related to diet and exercise can be difficult. We suggest creating a “light” version of your regular routine and diet. You can do this by taking time to hit the hotel gym or go for a morning run, limiting alcohol consumption, and sticking to healthier meals options. For instance, think about swapping a salad for fries, or having grilled chicken instead of a greasy burger. If you find sleeping in hotel rooms challenging, think about utilizing an app like Sleep Sounds to drown out noise.

Battling the Homesick Blues

We understand that suitcase real estate is precious, but so is your mental health on the road. Bring familiar comfort items with you–a pair of comfortable slippers or a photo of your family for the nightstand are two great examples. Fortunately, technology has made it far easier to stay connected with the ones we hold near and dear back at home. Seasoned road warriors also suggest setting designated times to video chat with family members versus always having a rushed phone call or exchanging quick texts.

Build in a Buffer

In the world of a business traveler, few things are worse than being late to a meeting you have journeyed long distances to attend. If there’s one thing the TravelBank team has learned over the years–take Murphy’s Law into consideration and build in extra time. Have a morning meeting? Fly in the night before on the off-chance your flight is delayed or canceled. Make extra time for security, ground travel to the airport, and to get to the meeting itself. Unnecessary stress associated with being on time will impact your job performance and could be costly to your organization. Make sure you’re on your A-Game and build in plenty of extra time along the way.

Reduced Stress is on Your Horizon

We understand the toll that stress can take on business travelers. We also know that work trips have many positives—both from business and personal standpoints. Whether you’re traveling weekly or only a few times a year, it’s important to keep stress levels down. You will be healthier (both physically and mentally), perform your job better, and perhaps rediscover the allure of business travel. We hope the tips in this post will help reduce stress on future work trips.

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