Travelling for work—whether you’re employed by someone else or work for yourself—can be both exciting and stressful. The excitement comes from getting to see and experience new places. The stress comes from being on the road and away from family, friends, and home on a regular basis.
Finding ways to reduce that stress are critical for a road warrior’s enjoyment of his or her life on the go . . . and here are 12 life hacks designed to do just that:
1. Due diligence of the hotel/area you’re visiting. One of the first orders of business is to do due diligence of the area you’ll be visiting. This includes everything from where you’ll be meeting clients or customers, area hotels, nearby airports (if you’ll be flying), rental car options, and proximity to area dining and shopping. You’ll want to look into things such as internet connectivity, cell phone coverage (especially if travelling internationally), or whether your hotel offers laundry service (if you’re going to be staying a while), a microwave or fridge, and even a hair dryer. You’ll also want to check on the weather forecast for the area, or at least general climate data if it’s a region you’re not very familiar with. Is it hot or cold, rainy or dry?
2. Pack Wisely. Simply don’t bring what you don’t need. Your due diligence on an area will help inform what you’ll need to pack. If the weather promises to be hot, you can leave your jacket at home. If you’re in for a cold stretch, you probably don’t need to pack a week’s worth of shorts. Knowing what the hotel has to offer will help you determine what toiletries to bring, especially shampoo, conditioner, and hair dryer (and if you must bring a hair dryer, get a small, travel version). You’ll also want to consider whether you will be dining casually or formally (or both), how many pairs of shoes to bring, and how the amount of ”stuff” you bring gets impacted by checked baggage allowances/charges if you happen to be flying. Mobile Edge’s new Professional Backpack and Rolling Case combination provides a great option for packing your essential electronics and other personal items in one convenient mobile-friendly unit. And our SlipSuit Sleeves can lighten the load carrying your laptop to meetings.
3. Don’t leave home with a half-charged smartphone or tablet. Chances are you’ll regret it. You can avoid any such scenario by plugging in and charging your smartphone, tablet, laptop, portable chargers, digital cameras, etc. the day or night before you’re going to leave. Ensure easy retrieval and packing of your devices the day of your trip by designating an area of your home/office where you always charge them. You can also give yourself peace of mind with an immediate back-up battery power supply such as UrgentPower USB Battery Chargers.
4. Keep an eye on Prescription refills. Running out of prescription medicine while you’re away from home can be harrowing experience. Not only are you faced with missing doses of important medication, but the stresses of finding a pharmacy and coordinating refills with your doctor’s office can be significant. Always check your prescription bottles before and after every trip.
5. Do Your Banking online. There’s nothing more hassling than trying to remember when a bill is due and coordinating its payment with your travel schedule. Calendar when your routine bills are due, and to the extent possible register with various vendors, suppliers, utilities, and service providers to pay your bills online any time of day, no matter where you are (all you need is an Internet connection). Also keep in mind that most banks and credit unions allow you to make electronic deposits of check payments with your smartphone or tablet—which is extremely helpful for payments you may receive while on the road.
6. Managing your USPS mail. If you’re going to be away for two weeks or more at a single address for the duration of your stay, consider forwarding your mail to this location so you don’t miss important bills, payments, or communications. If you’re going to be away for shorter periods, have a friend or family member check on your mail every few days so he/she can flag anything urgent.
7. Bring a cash stash. Most of us like to use plastic on the road. It’s less bulky and, let’s face it, easier to swipe a card than to count out bills. But what happens if your card gets declined or there’s a glitch? Stash some cash in your wallet, purse, or travel bag as a contingency for those times plastic just won’t cut it . . . and be sure to include some small bills to tip sky cabs, hotel clerks, and housekeeping staff. For the security of your non-cash (i.e. credit and debit cards) invest in an RFID wallet, such as the Sentry Credit Card and Sentry Passport Wallets.
8. Bring copies of important documents/ID cards such as your health insurance card, AAA membership, and proof of automobile insurance if you plan to rent a car. While you hope to not need these cards while travelling, you just never know when you might need them.
9. Keep Track of those receipts. Chances are a good portion of your expenses while on the road are either reimbursable by your employer or tax deductible. If so, keeping track of receipts so you don’t miss anything is a vital skill. When possible, ask hotels to provide you with electronic receipts. That way you’ll have the necessary documentation emailed to you upon departure. If electronic receipts aren’t possible, designate a folder or pocket in your carry-on or laptop case for storing and organizing all trip receipts so you can retrieve them when you need to.
10. Bring some form of entertainment to pass the time on a plane, in an airport, or in the hotel room after a long day on the road. Smartphones and tablets routinely give you access to your music library, and you can watch movies and videos—and even log in to your Netflix account while you’re on the go.
11. Limit restaurant dining if/when you can. Most hotels offer rooms with refrigerators, microwaves, and coffee makers, which means you can escape the never-ending parade of cafes, diners, and restaurants. Sure, it’s fun to eat out once and a while, but any road warrior will tell you that restaurant fatigue is real. Stop by a local market or Trader Joes or Whole Foods and get some good eats for your hotel room, including bottled water, juice, and various healthy snacks. Your palette, stomach, and waistline will appreciate it.
12. Maintain normal routines. If you work out at home, work out on the road. If you go to bed and rise at certain hours each day, do the same when you’re on the go. If you eat and snack healthy at home, there’s no reason to switch things up when you’re away.
What tips do you have for your road warrior brethren? What lessons learned have you discovered through your own experiences? Share them here.