Startup Advice

How to plan a business trip that won’t kill you

Angela Castles /

Travel is becoming an increasingly key part of business life, yet it’s still a source of stress and discomfort for many.

Linden Schaffer is a wellness travel expert and consultant who has used this talk at Google HQ to provide tips for staying productive and healthy during business trips.

Pre-pack for every trip

Schaffer notes that much of the stress associated with travel comes from missing flights, rushing to the airport, delays and cancellations, all of which are “the travel experiences we internalise and remember”.

“As humans we are hard-wired to avoid negative experiences,” she says, explaining why travel often carries connotations of stress and discomfort.

She suggests pre-packing core travel items like chargers, earbuds and eye masks, business cards and adapters, and keeping them in a suitcase for every trip to eliminate packing woes.

She also suggests pre-packing workout gear and a skipping rope to encourage travelers to stay active and get at least 10 minutes of exercise when they get to their destination.

Establish a pre-travel routine to use 24 hours before your trip

Schaffer advises 24-hours of pre-trip self care, which includes a workout and stretching routine, as well as healthy, nutrient-rich foods such as salmon, spinach and quinoa.

“Stick to this routine, and you’ll already know you’re starting off from a place of health and wellness when you step off the plane,” she says.

She also advises to drink more water than you usually would to counteract the dehydrating effect flying has on the body.

Don’t use flying as a dead time

You’ve made it on to the plane which may seem like most of the battle, but don’t lose focus yet. Time in the air is a valuable chance to check in with yourself, relax and prepare for the meetings ahead.

“The time you spend on the plane is time to do things your way,” Schaffer says.

“Do work, get extra sleep, read: just plan your time so you can use it effectively.”

Reset and refresh

Once you’ve arrived at your destination, Schaffer says it’s important to “reset and refresh” before heading out for your first meetings.

She suggests the Dayuse app, which lets users rent hotel rooms for a few hours, rather than a whole night.

“Take a shower, have a nap, head to the steam room or sauna: take this chance to reset and refresh,” she advises.

Put aside one hour outside the hotel

Schaffer also advises setting aside one hour in the mornings to answer emails and make calls outside your hotel room.

She suggests heading to a nearby park, going to the beach, or anywhere with natural surrounds to complete these tasks and get you focused for the day.

Stay healthy

The key to remaining relaxed and focused during the hectic schedules of work trips is eating healthy options and staying hydrated at all times, Schaffer says.

Alcohol and coffee are hugely dehydrating, so she encourages travelers to drink “more water than you usually would” to counteract the late-nights entertaining clients and the early morning coffee runs.

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Angela Castles

Angela Castles is a former StartupSmart journalist.

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