You might have realized it by the low number of posts, that I traveled a lot in the last weeks. And even if my flights mainly only take one or two hours, days sometimes are long and exhausting. Still, I need to be fit enough to take part in meetings and get through a tight schedule. By the time I found out what makes traveling easier and funny enough, I have no problem in staying up til midnight now even though I sometimes have to get up at 3:30 when I take the morning flight – and often this is easier than getting through a “normal” day ;-)
1.) Take your time
Getting up at 3:30 is nasty, and the first idea usually would be to stay in bed as long as somehow possible. However, investing 10 mins to really wake up your body, take some breaths at the open window and drink a glass of water will help you a lot throughout the whole day. When you rush to the airport or train station half asleep, you will forget stuff, you will be sleepy all day long and not really concentrated.
2.) Be careful with caffeine
When you have a long day with little sleep or have to travel in a completely different time zone (so you might be awake as long as possible so you will find into the new sleeping rhythm), nothing seems to be more tempting than keeping awake with coffee, energy drinks or even caffeine pills. We are very much used to this ritual and carrying around coffee mugs somehow also is fancy under travelers. But be careful. You will ride a caffeine rollercoaster all day long. When you switch to energy drinks, you also forget easily to hydrate with water too, and you will shovel masses of sugar into your body. So what I do is usually to drink my first coffee around the time (+/- 1 hr) when I usually drink it at home. Which means for example, that if my flight is at 6 and I had to get up at 3:30, I don’t have any coffee before or on the flight (which I never ever do, because this coffee is definitely not drinkable anyways), but instead get breakfast at the first stop or at the destination I need to go to. The thing is, if I just drink coffee without eating something, my heart is rushing and my stomach often feels itchy. So with that strategy, I can also use the flight for relaxing and taking a nap. Sometimes, when I freeze due to being tired and because of super cold planes, I take a cup of tea. No, the tea doesn’t taste any better than the coffee, but it’s usually not as as pushing.
3.) Use travel times for charging your batteries
Especially when you have a lot of stress and the time on the road keeps you from working through you to do list, you might want to seize every second for working. I also do, but only while waiting at the airport or on really long train rides. When sitting in the plane, I usually use these times to relax and calm down. Last week I had so much on my mind and went through some things in my head, I felt my heart pumping and really fought hard with all kinds of techniques to relax. I had a real bad conscience that I didn’t also work on the plane. But if you’re honest, you usually won’t get a lot of things done sitting in a crowded plane with mini space and being interrupted by turbulences or the crew offering stuff. Relax – and you will be more productive when refreshed and back on the ground.
4.) Drink enough water
I also found out that it’s even harder for me to drink enough water and hydrate on travels than it is for example in the office. Mini bottles and glasses everywhere, you always have to check where the next shop with water is…. so what I started to do is to bring the smaller of my awesome isolation bottles and fill it with water right after the security check. They keep water super cold for a long time and you always have it ready in your bag. Whenever I search for something I stumble over it and take a sip. And by using reusable metal bottles, you reduce plastic trash.
5.) Fuel up right
Well I am not a big meal prepper for travels, and definitely won’t bring my own food on a business trip or something like that. Ok, I am lucky to be able to eat anything, I’m not on a special diet, and in my job, food plays a huge role, so whenever we have meetings or workshops, the organizers take good care of us. But it’s always a nice idea to buy one of these small bags of nuts, because sometimes, when you simply don’t have anything around or no time, you have at least a small bite. On skydiving trips I always bought granola bars and fruits too, just to carry them back home again. Because usually, on my private trips, I enjoy a good breakfast and so I won’t get hungry during the day anyways. So I stick to the nut strategy and save my money ;-)
In general, I try to avoid fat and heavy meals on travels, just because I won’t feel well afterwards. Such food makes me tired and slows my brain as well as I feel bloated, and as lovely as a piece of pork roast with gravy might be, it’s a better idea to eat it on the weekend and cuddle up on the couch afterwards ^^
6.) Wear what you love
One of the things I love so much about my job is the fact that I don’t have to stick to any clothing rules. Ok, of course I probably won’t wear hot pants when I have meetings, but in general our dress code is rather relaxed. This makes traveling a lot easier. Find out which combinations look good and still are comfortable and make you feel good. You won’t be confident during a presentation, when you constantly tug on your clothes, need to squeeze in your belly or feel insecure because the skirt is those 5 cm too short. And: forget high heels on an airport or a train. Simply forget it. You still can bring them and wear it for the meetings, but believe me, as beautiful as look, as much your feet will hurt after a long day and as much you will hate them when you run to your gate.
On longer private travels, I love to wear baggy clothes or leggings with some layers consisting of tanks, long tops and hoodies, because you can perfectly cuddle up in a plane and feel comfy whatever time it might be. Think about the dressing habits in your destination country and always bring a scarf – you can wear it around your neck, warm you up or simply use it as extra pillow.
And last but not least, I always have my music with me. I don’t use it always though, because sometimes I just want to enjoy the silence. But traveling also means time to enjoy good music and it’s always nice to also connect travel situations to certain songs. It’s up to you, whether you use those noise-canceling earphones (I must admit I’m still a bit too greedy for them) or normal ones. For me it is so good to listen to some playlists, which help me to relax or focus. And another good thing is, that you don’t hear those sometimes annoying conversations of the people around you ;-)
So yes, these are the things that help me the most. Especially when you HAVE to travel because of business you are not always super motivated, but try to enjoy the little moments and lovely things you won’t see when you stay at home: a stunning sunset or rainbow, the kids flying for the first time or maybe the taste of the very first coffee in the morning :-)