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4 tips to balance personal wellness with business travel

Posted: 04 August 2022
Woman And Man Co-Worker Smiling While In Transit

Traveling can take its toll. Especially in today’s climate with flight cancelations, covid-variants, and staff shortages throughout the travel industry. That’s why proper travel planning and self-care are crucial to a successful business trip.

So, we’ve put together the following tips to balance personal wellness with business travel and to help you avoid road warrior burnout.

  1. Pack wisely
  2. Eliminate stress by booking for comfort and efficiency
  3. Stay active and hydrate
  4. Add personal vacation time to your business trip

1. Pack Wisely

Most savvy jet setters utilize carry-on luggage as much as possible - Lost luggage claims jumped 30% this summer compared to pre-pandemic, so keep your belongings close if you can.[i] Baggage handling chaos has become such a burden recently that many are adding tracking devices to luggage to keep tabs on their belongings.

If you must check a bag, be sure to carry the most important outfit with you and keep your expensive belongings in your carry-on.

Give yourself bags of time

Another pro tip is to check in your bags early. This prevents your luggage from being placed on a separate flight. And if you’re a frequent traveler, investing in quality travel bags can be a lifesaver!

List it

Love a list? Preparing a trip-specific packing list is also excellent for helping you pack light and pack faster without forgetting any essentials. Include those all-important healthy snacks on your packing list to help you stay energized while traveling. And with covid variants not going away any time soon, be sure to bring a mask, hand sanitizer, and immune-boosting supplements. Take note of any items you missed on a recent business trip so you can improve your packing list as time goes on.

Get those zzzs

Getting enough sleep is a huge factor in staying healthy, so do not skimp out on items that help you sleep while at a hotel or on a plane. A savvy business travel planner doesn’t leave the house without noise-canceling headphones, a sleep mask, or a travel pillow! Studies show that the average person’s productivity after a long flight can drop by as much as 20%, mostly due to a lack of sleep![ii]

2. Eliminate stress by booking for comfort and efficiency

The rise in flight cancellations, long queues at the airport due to staff shortages and limited car rental inventory means that planning for efficiency and comfort is crucial. The travel industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and the return to travel is moving much faster than travel providers anticipated. Read more about how the current travel market can impact you here.

Travel regulations are constantly changing, so travel arrangers need tools and corporate booking technology to keep employees informed at every stage of the journey. This type of support boosts traveler confidence and well-being when on the road.

Don’t stop!

Employers should support their employees to book non-stop flights to reduce travel stress even when the cost might be higher. Tight layovers increase the chances of lost baggage and possible flight cancelations... And did you know? On average, non-stop routes reduce carbon emissions by roughly 100kg per person compared to the next best connecting option.[iii] That is equivalent to the carbon footprint of driving for 250 miles.

Book the best, easily

Every corporate traveler will of course have personal travel preferences. Utilizing your corporate booking platform app allows you to access hotel options based on your past booking behavior. You can also check out accommodation in specific locations booked by your co-workers recommendations. Checking out peer reviews of the best hotels before you book can improve your overall travel experience.

Ideally, your corporate booking tool should also capture your itemized receipts, mileage, and other expenses to help you stay organized and reduce stress during your trip.

3. Stay active and hydrate

Drink more water than you think you need. To the surprise of even some frequent flyers, some airplane cabins are drier than the Sahara Desert!

Airplane cabins range from 10 to 20 percent humidity. Some of the best travel advice is to drink eight ounces of water every hour you are in the air, as recommended by the Aerospace Medical Association.[iv] A great way to track your water intake is bringing a reusable water bottle, which will also reduce the amount of single-use plastic you throw away on your trip.

Keep on moving

If you can find some routine in your exercise regime, your body will thank you and your productivity will increase. It’s recommended to take advantage of the mornings since meetings can be delayed and unexpected happy hours can lead to dinner invitations. If your hotel room does not have a gym, you can incorporate some simple exercises in your hotel room.

A 20-minute yoga flow on YouTube or a few crunches and lunges can keep your metabolism going and help maintain your energy. And if you missed the opportunity to work out, walk as much as possible, remember you can always opt for stairs instead of an elevator.

Listen to your body

When you are constantly on the go there is a lack of certainty around diet and exercise habits. A recent Google Consumer Survey of 1,000 known business travelers reported that 44% of professionals are more likely to indulge in unhealthy foods while on business trips than they would be at home.[v]

Some common meal mistakes while traveling is skipping breakfast, eating oversized portions, not drinking enough water, and drinking too much alcohol. The bottom-line is don’t feel the need to eat three full restaurant meals a day and don’t feel pressured into overindulging.

If you aren’t mindful of your choices frequent business trips can result in negative health consequences.

4. Add personal travel time to your business trip

After two years of limited travel, 89% of business travelers plan to add personal vacation time to their business travel this year.[vi] Tacking on extra travel days before or after a business trip allows you the chance to process your trip and recharge. Planning a longer stay can be especially beneficial for international travel. You have time to adjust to a new time zone and relax which can be key in avoiding burnout.

Before you incorporate some vacation time into your next business trip thought, make sure you review your company’s travel policy and let your manager know. It’s also a good idea to check travel restrictions and plan a travel itinerary to make the most of your time. Many business travelers are inviting family members to meet over the weekend so they can enjoy a getaway together. If you can’t extend your trip,find a way to fit a fun travel experience into every business trip. This will help you look forward to upcoming business trips in the future.

It's also a great benefit…

Innovative companies are leveraging vacation extension to business trips as a work perk to attract and retain talent. It’s not just about traveling for business but experiencing a different culture and making new connections. This results in overall higher satisfaction of corporate travelers. There are also potential savings due to airfare being booked on other than the traditional arrival day of Sunday and departure day of Friday.

A note to employers: duty of care has changed

Duty of care has traditionally been defined as the legal responsibility for the safety of corporate travelers. But in today’s world, duty of care has expanded to include the additional facets of business risk, travel needs and traveler wellbeing. Employees need to feel confident that the travel risk of their business trips is minimal and that they’re fully — and authentically — supported from the time they start planning and booking to their return home.

To successfully compete in the global marketplace, companies need to show genuine empathy and concern for their employees’ wellbeing, which means considering new factors beyond just basic corporate travel safety to give their travelers peace of mind. The days of using a traditional travel agency are over. For example, it’s now common for travel program managers to provide education on travel wellness choices, healthy flying, stress management, and self-care.

Partnering with a corporate travel platform allows small companies to maintain booking control, and access to essential travel services, such as to 24/7 travel assistance. This is a modern approach compared to relying on a travel agent.

Check out how to build a strategy and process to enhance traveler well-being here.

 


 

[i]: https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/lost-luggage-claims-surge-30-compared-to-pre-pandemic-levels-insurer-says-1.1793485

[ii]: https://www.german-way.com/travel-and-tourism/air-travel/jet-lag/#:~:text=Research%20has%20shown%20that%20the,jet%20lag's%20number%20one%20symptom

[iii]: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0160738319301227

[iv]: https://www.cntraveler.com/story/this-is-how-much-water-you-should-drink-on-a-plane#:~:text=The%20Aerospace%20Medical%20Association%20suggests,however%2C%20the%20more%20hydration%20matters

[v]: https://www.forbes.com/sites/danielreed/2017/12/07/business-travel-wearing-you-down-physically-or-emotionally-eat-better-drink-less-exercise-more/

[vi]: https://www.ustravel.org/research/monthly-travel-data-report

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