Travel, My Drug Of ChoiceOct 23, 2017
What does travel do for you?
It’s my personal drug of choice.
When I travel on my own for business, it also means time to myself. I might be surrounded by hundreds of strangers at the airport, or on an airplane, but I feel like I have uninterrupted time…unless it’s to take my dinner order, or ask me what I’d like to drink.
I travel to Japan a number of times per year, and some of those trips are only for 2 – 3 days at a time. From NYC to Tokyo is a 13-hour flight and I LOVE IT! During those hours I get to read, watch a movie or two, focus on work, listen to a podcast, or the current business book I’m enjoying on Audible, practice the languages I’m trying to learn, write in my journal, or get some sleep. On some trips it’s all of the above. Full disclosure: when I fly to Japan I travel in business class, so I’m fortunate enough to have my own little pod for the trip. I’m such a geek that I get giddy when I’m lucky enough to fly on Air Canada’s Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
We are all busy, aren't we?
I’m busy. I feel like in this day and age all of us are. Sitting on that aircraft, unplugged and unavailable, I don't have to be present for anyone but myself. I long for this time. For the productivity and the introspection.
Like most women, I put everything and everyone first in my daily life. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing as long as there is some balance and self-care integrated into the routine.
I understand that many people find traveling exhausting, inconvenient, expensive and frustrating – and I’ve personally experienced that myself, but the benefits and rewards surpass the fleeting unfavorable moments. When I haven’t been on a trip for a couple of months, I start to crave it. I need my fix. The biggest bonus is it allows me just to be.
Here are 5 tips for more mindful (and enjoyable) business travel:
#1. Always make a list
Making a list and checking it twice is a lifesaver. When I don't make one I forget something every, single time. You can easily have your "basics" list created on your phone or your computer to refer to - but I go through the ritual of writing it all down and then add anything additional I need to bring with me for that particular trip.
#2. Remember to make sure your frequent flyer number is attached to your reservation
You want to make sure you're collecting those points and you'd be amazing how easily something simple like that is overlooked. If you don't yet have a frequent flyer number and you fly with a certain carrier the majority of the time - it's time to get one! Airlines are very dedicated to their loyal customers, as are hotel chains.
#3. Wear layers or have a sweater or wrap in your carry on
Some planes are freezing, some planes are super warm - you never know what you're going to get in terms of temperature on a plane. Being prepared has allowed me to have much more comfortable flights.
#4. Sign up for Global Entry or Nexus
It makes life so much easier when going through customs. You breeze by the long line-ups which I really appreciate when I have to make a connection, or I've just come off of a 13-hour flight. However, if you travel with your family during some of your business trips, then make sure they're signed up as well.
#5. Don't be shy
If the hotel or the rental car counter doesn't seem busy, it never hurts to ask if they happen to have any free upgrades available. They may not, but when you ask politely with the casualness of "just thought I'd ask" you never know what they'll be able to offer you.
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