As we roll into Spring conference season, New Year’s resolutions often go out the window... hijacked by time zone changes, cocktail hours, and conference programs that are jammed from early in the morning to late in the night.
Last year I logged over 150,000 miles of business travel and spoke at over a dozen conferences globally. It’s a grind. So how do I keep my sanity (and my health) in check? Here are my top tips and tricks:
1. Make Sleep Management Paramount
There is literally nothing more important to me when I’m traveling than sleep. Think you need less than 7-8 hours? Read “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker and think again. Suffer from jet lag? Here’s how I combat it:
- Melatonin. All natural and won’t leave you with a prescription drug hangover. My favorite is Herbatonin. Start taking it two nights before you travel and keep at it until you’re two nights into your destination.
- Once you’ve boarded your flight, do your best to sleep in the time zone you’re heading to – which means if you get on a flight at 1PM and it’s 1AM at your destination you’re going to need to try to sleep ASAP.
- Free cocktails on the plane are tempting, but avoid alcohol when flying – it’s dehydrating and a sleep disruptor.
- When you get to your destination, get outside ASAP (preferably while exercising!) Natural light is a jet lag buster.
- Don’t sleep when you shouldn’t be sleeping. Yes, that four-hour nap in the afternoon may be really compelling the first day you arrive, but it nearly guarantees you’ll struggle to reset your sleep clock. Muscle through the first day by staying awake until at least 9PM.
2. Play Favorites
I fly the same routes, on the same airlines, and stay in the same hotels (generally in the same rooms!) to establish a routine and create consistency. I favor boutique hotels over chains simply because I value personalization more than points. Want to know my favorite hotels in every major city? Reach out to me.
3. Reduce Complexity
Traveling with a minimalist mentality reduces stress and keeps things simple when your plans go off piste.
I only travel with a carry-on because it means I’m not constantly managing a bunch of “stuff” I don’t really need. Traveling light means making tough choices about what you NEED on the road versus what you may want. And wearing a lot of black!
4. Exercise E.D.D.
As in…. Every Damn Day! Exercise, particularly exercise outdoors, is a jet lag killer and keeps your sanity and weight in check. No hotel gym? No problem. When I first started traveling heavily for business, my personal trainer Susannah LaPoint, was an absolute ace at putting together quick workouts I could do anywhere. Pack a lightweight jump rope, a fitness band or two and a travel yoga mat (my favorite is this one by Manduka) and you have a guaranteed personal gym wherever you go.
5. Adhere to Natural Consumption
Meaning, eat and drink as you would when you’re not traveling. Too often I see people treating business trips like a never-ending vacation... which means you’re likely eating and drinking differently than you would at home. Keep your head clear and your pant size in check by limiting alcohol consumption and eating most meals as you would at home.
Are you a road warrior? If so, what are your favorite travel hacks?