Having just returned from a three-day trip, I realized again how important it is to make yourself feel comfortable when you travel.
Whether you are travelling for business or fun, you should try as much as possible to stick to your routines. The shorter the trip, the more homelike should your accommodation feel. Schedules for short trips tend to be crammed with activities, so you should be able to slip into relax mode as quickly as possible at every opportunity.
What to Pack
In addition to the things required just by the nature of the trip (business attire, files, laptop, etc.) and the usual items you would pack, allocate space in your suitcase for the following:
- A pair of comfy sweat pants
- A loose-fitting jumper or t-shirt
- Your favourite pyjamas
- A pair of thick socks
- A pair of flip-flops
- Scented candles or incense in your favourite scent
- Elastic rubber band
Where to Stay
If you are able to have a say in the choice of accommodation, try to be at least as dilligent in making your choice as you would when choosing your holiday quarters. When it comes to your room, put your emphasis on the following criteria:
- Non-smoker room
- Vicinity to an emergency exit
- Comfort over standard option
- Hair dryer
- Facing away from any busy roads and railroad tracks
- Breakfast offered
What to Eat
Whether you are visiting a foreign country or just the neighbouring city, try to stick to your usual diet. Especially breakfast buffets test our self-restraint and stomach. If you usually only have oatmeal and green tea at home, do not have croissants and coffee paired with orange juice and scrambled eggs with sausages. You might get away with this breakfast while holidaying when you have time to digest lying by the pool—but you will not be able to focus on that business meeting or exam you are trying to brace yourself for. If you fear you might get hungry before lunchtime or you know you will have to skip or postpone lunch that day altogether, make sure to pack some fruit like apples and bananas, or some cereal bars.
You should also make sure to drink enough water while on your trip. Take a bottle of water with you wherever you go, and take a large mouthful at least once an hour.
Should you need to stay focused during a meeting, training, or exam, make sure to always drink or eat at the beginning of the break. Once your stomach is filled, blood is drawn to your intestines, and your body is busy digesting, which results in a loss of concentration.
Travelling always takes a toll on your daily routine. Especially in foreign countries, the principal meal might be served at a different time than you are used to, and might include copious quantities of alcohol. Seize the opportunity to try new dishes, but try not to mix too many different dishes in one meal. Portions should not be much larger than those you normally consume. If you drink alcohol, make sure not to go overboard. Stick to one type of alcohol and alternate with water.
Combat any signs of heartburn by pressing the spot between your nose and your upper lip for a few minutes. Help your body digest greasy food by having a cup of green tea.
How to Relax
Travelling is trying. We spend hours on planes, trains, and buses during which our personal spaces are invaded by strangers and their vapours. We are exposed to draft, smells, noises, and germs. We suffer from lack of sleep, jet-lag, earache, bruises and stiffness. When we finally reach our hotel room, we are cranky, tired, already slightly homesick, and simultaneously hyper.
These are some ways to maintain and regain your balance, helping you to be your best self during that business meeting, training, or exam.
Before the Trip
- Pack your suitcase at least one day in advance
- Lay out your travel outfit and everything you require in terms of documents, keys, money, etc. the evening before you leave
- Make sure to arrive way ahead of check-in or departure time
- Spend any waiting time doing something you enjoy—go for a walk, do some window shopping, read a book, write a poem, meditate, listen to music
- Choose a seat next to your gate or platform and keep an eye on the clock and an ear on the announcements
While on the Road
- Fight earache during flights by kneading the skin between your pinkie and your ring fingers for a few minutes
- Clear your ears by pinching your nose, closing your mouth and trying to breathe out through the nose
- Drink lots of water
- Make sure your neck, kidneys, abdomen and feet are warm
- Move your feet and legs regularly; if you can not get up and walk around, wiggle your toes
Once You Have Arrived
- Check the hotel room for anything that might be missing or not working (this includes hot water and the hair dryer)
- Unpack your suitcase and store it out of sight
- Make sure your business outfit is properly stored on hangers and can breathe
- Change into comfortable clothes
- Light a scented candle or incense stick
- Make sure the heating or air conditioning works and you understand how the control works
- Make yourself familiar with emergency exits, check-out and meal times
- Check the easiest and fastest way to get to the venue where your meeting, training, or exam will be held and plan your schedule accordingly
- Try to exercise the stiffness away using the elastic rubber band or going for a walk
- Make sure the room has the right sleeping temperature
- Set your alarm to a time which gaves you enough opportunity to get ready without rushing
- Try to stick to your usual bedtime and routine
- If you can not fall asleep, do not try to force it – fall back on doing something you enjoy, like reading, watching a (not too exciting) TV programme, meditating, etc.
In the Morning
- Take your time to wake up—stretch your whole body, yawn a few times
- Do some yoga; breathe in through your right nostril, then breathe out through your left—do so until you feel awake
- Should your face feel puffy, press the spot just below your lower lip for a few minutes
- Take a hot shower
- Make sure your hair is completely dry before you venture outside
- Have a good breakfast
When you tackle that meeting, training or exam, make sure you drink enough water, eat healthily, use breaks to relax, and make sure your neck, kindneys, abdomen, and feet are warm.
These tips will help you survive your trip and return home healthy and relaxed.