These days, if you travel for work, you may find yourself in a region wracked by forest-fire-related “smokestorm” or suffering a wild heat wave – even in December. As a business traveler, however, you must persevere wherever you are. Luckily, there are easy and effective ways to make the trip less stressful on your body and your mind.
Bring Your Meds
Of course, you’ll be sure to pack any daily medications or regular vitamin supplements you take. But what about those once-in-awhile allergic reactions to certain substances, like smoke, cat dander, or strong scents – or those migraines that crop up from time to time? Make sure to bring the medications you rely on for symptomatic relief, so you won’t find yourself paying top dollar at the hotel convenience counter or, worse, having to go without relief.
If you know you’ll be staying in a “food desert” – meaning a town or part of the world where good-for-you meals may be scarce – do your body a favor and plan ahead by stashing healthy snacks in your luggage. Granola bars, protein bars, nuts, and dried fruit are all TSA-compliant, take up minimal space, and won’t leak onto your best blazer.
Drink Heavily (Water, That Is)
Alcohol and air travel are a combination notorious for causing dehydration. Stay alert and less susceptible to contagions by getting plenty of water. Recommended: Bring your own reusable water bottle and keep it filled.
Keep Your Hands Clean
You’ve probably heard the latest news story on how icky airports and airplanes can be. Hundreds, maybe thousands, of people every day share TSA bins, seatbelts, touch screens, and seat-back tray tables. As such, they are naturally coated with bacteria and viruses. Your best bet is the oldest trick in the book: Wash your hands or douse them with hand sanitizer often, especially after finally getting though that security line. At your seat, try swabbing your tiny table with an antibacterial wipe before tucking into that gourmet snack box.
Hotel rooms may or may not have blackout curtains that do their job. Next-room neighbors may enjoy their TV too loudly. So make sure that your sleep is as dark and quiet as possible by packing a pair of good-quality earplugs and a functional-but-comfortable sleeping mask. A portable device that emits fan sounds or white noise can muffle hubbub in the hallway.
Stretch Before Snoozing
Yoga teacher’s orders: If you do nothing else on this list, make a point to spend a mere 5 minutes stretching your hamstrings, chest, shoulders, and spine before flicking off the bedside light. If you didn’t bring a resistance band or yoga strap, use a necktie or bathrobe belt to hook around the bottom of your foot as you lie supine and extend your heel toward the ceiling. Or hold your strap/tie/belt out taught, one end in each hand, to open your pecs as you lift your outstretched arms up and over and back again. After sitting for hours in a plane, car, or conference room, your body will appreciate a bit of time to, literally, unwind.