When I was a little girl, I dreamed of travel.
I wanted to like my Daddy. Airline premium status. First class upgrades. Hotel platinum members. Different cities all the time.
I don’t know why, but I wanted to travel for work. I wanted to meet new people all the time, be busy, and keep everyone one their toes by constantly visiting a different city every week.
Well, it took me forever, but I’ve finally working on that travel bug. Maybe not in the first class luxury I initially imagined, but I’m doing it.
And I love it. I meet the most amazing people. Maybe I don’t get to see much of the cities I visit, but it is a start.
Travel is good for the soul.
Meeting new people, eating different foods, experiencing different cultures–even just in America.
There is nothing like it.
But it can be stressful too. Driving in crazy cities (OMG LA, Boston, and Miami!), operating on little to no sleep, changes in your eating and fitness schedules, being away from friends and family. But it’s worth it. And you develop certain tricks to help you adjust.
Here’s ten of my tricks:
1. Yoga in your hotel. Yogaglo. It’s saved my life. Seriously. Your body gets sooo tight when you travel and I rarely get time to visit the hotel gym. (And then what do you do with the sweaty clothes if you’re on a quick trip?) Even as little as 15 minutes of a specialized class for travel can save your back and save your mood. I always travel with my yoga strap and the Manduka eKo Super Light Travel Mat. It folds down to a super small size, is light, and actually always helps me close my suit-case. (Put it on top and it keeps everything at one level–easier for zipping up!)
2. Chains are ok. If I don’t get free breakfast at my hotel, I always try to find a Panera or a Starbucks. My digestion gets sluggish and a venti Bold and a reduced-fat turkey bacon breakfast sandwich are always a-ok on my travels. I know it’s not the same as finding somewhere great local–but I’m usually tired and just want to eat something fairly healthy and have coffee that I know to be decent. And it’s good to *try* and be as healthy as possible and Panera/Starbucks show you the nutrition info!
3. Earplanes, earplanes, earplanes! Earplanes are amazing. They help pressurize your ears so that you don’t get awful plugged ears when you fly. Especially good when you have a short flight, or multiple legs of your journey.
4. Bring healthy snacks. If possible, bring the first meal of the day to the plane. (If I have a super early flight I have a snack at home with coffee and then bring a pb&j to eat later. Works wonders!) And drink lots and lots of water. Travel makes you thirsty and dehydrated! (Think about how dry your hands get when you fly? That’s what happens inside, too! Drink up!)
5. If your red-eye is not direct, don’t take a red-eye. (More information on my awful red-eye experience to come soon.)
6. Probiotics. I hate to sound like Jamie Lee Curtis, but take your probiotics. Travel wrecks havoc on your digestion and probiotics help. Seriously. No one wants to feel cranky from having messed up digestion when you’re on a trip. No one!
7. Always look up your directions before you get in your GPS. Because, sometimes, the GPS will lie to you. And you better know your way around! And never, ever, ever depend on the new iOs6 iPhone map. It will get you lost and tell you crazy things. It is horrrrrrrriiiiibbbbblllleeeee.
8. Walk when you can. If you are in a walkable city that is safe–walk as much as possible. It’s free and will help burn-off the calories from all the sitting and (inevitably) all the eating. Plus, it’s a good way to get familiar with a city (or at least see some of the city) when you’re traveling.
9. Make sure you have your hotel brand (I’m Hilton Honors Gold) and that you’re signed up for miles with your airline. I always try to take what is cheapest and direct, which means I don’t have status with an airline–something that is annoying depending on whom you fly. Southwest is great for avoiding the hassle of more “elite” passengers when you fly.
10. Remember if you are traveling for work, you are traveling for work! It’s easy to be tempted by awesome shopping opportunities and tourist attractions. But, unless you a) have the time and b) have budgeted to swing by that mall/5th avenue/museum/etc., don’t go. If you are in town to work, save your money and try to live as close to normally as possible–just in another city. By all means if you needed to buy a present for your Aunt and were planning on it anyway and you see the perfect thing, pick it up. But work trips aren’t about shopping or attractions. It’s about getting stuff done. And usually are pretty jammed packed and tiring!
There’s a lot more that keeps me sane when I travel, but I think I hit on some of the biggies. The part about traveling a lot that is most important is just getting into a routine. Being in a new city, going through airport security, those things all become normal. Believe it or not, when something becomes fairly “normal” it becomes easier and less stressful to deal with. Though traveling is always a bit crazy at some point–because there is so much that is out of your control!