By Wendy White, vice president of marketing, Egencia
Ever wonder why they call frequent travelers road warriors? It’s because it can feel like a fight sometimes to get your job done when you’re waiting in long security lines and missing your bed. A big part of that battle includes the epic human struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle away from your daily routine. If you are like the majority of travelers who combine a business trip with a bit of fun for a ‘bleisure’ experience, the temptation to stray from your diet and sample the local taste treats and local wine is only amplified. I know that business travel can get me off track on my healthy lifestyle journey, and new research shows I’m not the only one. To help others stay healthy on the road, I reached out to my fellow road warriors on our #LifeatEgencia Slack channel for their top business travel advice. Here are their favorites!
While you don’t need to drink eight glasses a day, you should still make a conscious effort to drink water when you’re traveling. Airplanes are dry. You’ll lose moisture rapidly, leading you to become dehydrated and vulnerable to illness. Our colleague, Marion Peter, an Egencia senior product marketer shares her must-haves. “I always bring almonds and my re-usable water bottle. Drinking a lot of water on the plane rather than soda and coffee (or worse: alcohol!) helps you stay hydrated.” She’s right – and you can carry that reusable bottle where you go on the trip to do your part on reducing single use plastics.
Exercise was a top tip. Fight jet lag with a workout straight off the plane in your hotel room — no need for a gym. Jean Noel Lau Keng Lun, senior director of product marketing, said he does “10 sets of max rep pushups before a shower.” Exercise keeps your metabolism going, builds energy and can be a way to discover a new place. Try these ideas too:
- Take Shavasana at the airport. Airports in these cities offer a yoga room to unwind before or after a flight.
- Exercise on the plane. The American Council on Exercise recommends performing ankle rotations, toe curls, knee lifts and foot lifts to keep your blood moving while in-flight. Karim Zuhri, senior product marketing manager, recommends standing up for 10 minutes every hour.
- Lace up your running shoes. “In a new (or even familiar) city, I always try to get a run on a new route to explore the city. Two birds, one stone,” Kelsie Swenson, customer marketing manager, said. If you need directions, try apps like MapMyRun, offers recruitment coordinator Lauren Smith. “It has a Route Genius to identify nearby running routes that can be filtered by distance.”
Walk, walk, walk whenever you can. That’s what Fatema Muradi, a bilingual team leader, suggests. For example, deliberately pick a hotel 15 minutes from your office or trade show venue. I personally use the 15 minute rule and enjoy soaking in the city. Also schedule yourself a break during the meeting day and take a walk. That will force you to move and keep your blood pumping to avoid the detrimental effects of sitting all day (and help with those circadian rhythms.)
Eating right during business travel can be challenging. You’re away from your own kitchen and often in a rush. The food available may not always be the best, in nutritional terms. (Donuts, anyone?) Yet, a healthy gut and a good energy level are critical for success when doing business out of town. You need to manage and plan your food choices.
For example, Lau says, “If possible, I buy decent food in the airport and decline the airplane tray. You get to choose your macros and you’re more comfortable without a tray on your lap for hours.” Jill Randall, a director in sales operations said, “I always travel with protein bars, almonds, chocolate covered raisins and gummy bears. Easy, small healthy snacks that keep you going through the day.”
Manage your stress level
This may not be a revelation for business travelers, but making your way through airports, cabs, hotels, and strange meeting venues along with full day of business can be a stressful experience. Stress can actually make you sick or just wear you out, so you won’t be at your best.
Anticipate the time change -- and rest
Flying across time zones throws off your internal clock. This can make sleep a challenge when you need it most. There are remedies for this, however.
“A rested traveler is a healthy and happy traveler,” Brooke Novak-Moorhead, a global campaign manager, said. Her blog on this topic includes rich detail on getting enough rest in distant time zones and more. Egencia President Rob Greyber suggests, “As soon as you get on board, set your watch to wherever you’re going. Start to think like you’re there and you’ll adjust faster.” Anne McElroy-Arnaud, senior marketing communications manager, advises, “Get as much daylight as possible to stay awake during the day. Also, I never think about what time it is ‘at home’ to psych myself into the local rhythm.”
Prepare from head-to-toe
This is my personal tip. I always carry an emergency kit stocked with cold meds, aspirin, and antacids (yes, the donuts and the wine I mentioned before.) But importantly I never forget whatever I need for foot care. My blister pad supply has saved more than one colleague from a very bad day. Wear supportive, comfortable shoes – no new shoes! Why? Pain in your feet can quickly become back pain, neck pain and so forth. I also recommend scheduling a pedicure before a long trip, so you can put your best foot forward. Follow these tips to increase your chances of sticking with your health goals and reduce your chances of getting sick on the road. Grab your water bottle and healthy snacks, pack those comfortable shoes so you can take a walk, don’t forget to stand up on the plane, reset your watch and you’ll be refreshed and ready to take on the work day wherever your business takes you.