4 tips to balance personal wellness with business travel
Travelling can take its toll. Especially in today’s climate with flight cancellations, Covid-variants and staff shortages throughout the travel industry. That’s why proper travel planning and self-care are crucial to a successful business trip.
So, we’ve put together the following tips to balance personal wellness with business travel and to help you avoid road warrior burnout.
- Pack wisely
- Eliminate stress by booking for comfort and efficiency
- Stay active and hydrate
- Add personal holiday time to your business trip
1. Pack Wisely
Most savvy jet setters use hand luggage as much as possible—lost luggage claims increased by 30% this summer compared to pre-pandemic times, so keep your belongings close if you can.[i] Baggage handling chaos has become such a burden recently that many are adding tracking devices to luggage to keep tabs on their belongings.
If you must check in a bag, make sure you carry the most important outfit with you and keep your expensive belongings in your hand luggage.
Give yourself bags of time
Another pro tip is to check in your bags early. This prevents your luggage from being placed on a separate flight. And if you’re a frequent traveller, investing in quality travel bags can be a lifesaver!
Love a list? Preparing a trip-specific packing list is also an excellent way to help you pack light and pack faster without forgetting any essentials. Include those all-important healthy snacks on your packing list to help you stay energised while travelling. And with Covid variants not going away any time soon, be sure to bring a mask, hand sanitiser and immune-boosting supplements. Take note of any items you missed on a recent business trip, so you can improve your packing list over time.
Get those zzzs
Getting enough sleep is a huge factor in staying healthy, so do not scrimp on items that help you sleep while at a hotel or on a plane. A savvy business travel planner doesn’t leave the house without noise-cancelling headphones, a sleep mask or a travel pillow! Studies show that the average person’s productivity after a long flight can drop by as much as 20%, mostly due to a lack of sleep![ii]
2. Eliminate stress by booking for comfort and efficiency
The rise in flight cancellations, long queues at the airport due to staff shortages and limited car hire inventory means that planning for efficiency and comfort is crucial. The travel industry has been heavily impacted by the pandemic and the return to travel is moving much faster than travel providers anticipated. Read more about how the current travel market can impact you here.
Travel regulations are constantly changing, so travel arrangers need tools and corporate booking technology to keep employees informed at every step of the journey. This type of support boosts traveller confidence and well-being when on the road.
Employers should support their employees to book non-stop flights to reduce travel stress even when the cost might be higher. Tight layovers increase the chances of lost luggage and possible flight cancellations... And did you know? On average, non-stop routes reduce carbon emissions by roughly 100kg per person compared to the next best connecting option.[iii] That is equivalent to the carbon footprint of driving for 250 miles.
Book the best, easily
Every corporate traveller will, of course, have personal travel preferences. Utilising your corporate booking platform app allows you to access hotel options based on your past booking behaviour. You can also take a look at accommodation in specific locations booked based on your co-workers’ recommendations. Reading peer reviews of the best hotels before you book can improve your overall travel experience.
Ideally, your corporate booking tool should also capture your itemised receipts, mileage and other expenses to help you stay organised and reduce stress during your trip.
3. Stay active and hydrate
Drink more water than you think you need. It comes as a surprise even to certain frequent flyers that some airplane cabins are drier than the Sahara Desert!
Airplane cabins range from 10 to 20 percent humidity. Some of the best travel advice is to drink 0.2 litres of water every hour you are in the air, as recommended by the Aerospace Medical Association.[iv] A great way to track your water intake is bringing a reusable water bottle, which will also reduce the amount of single-use plastic you throw away on your trip.
Keep on moving
If you can find some routine in your exercise regime, your body will thank you and your productivity will increase. Take advantage of the mornings is recommended since meetings may be delayed and unexpected happy hours can lead to dinner invitations. If your hotel does not have a gym, you can carry out some simple exercises in your hotel room.
A 20-minute yoga flow on YouTube or a few crunches and lunges can keep your metabolism going and help maintain your energy. And if you missed the opportunity to work out, walk as much as possible; remember you can always opt for stairs instead of a lift.
Listen to your body
When you are constantly on the go, there is a lack of certainty around diet and exercise habits. A recent Google Consumer Survey of 1,000 known business travellers reported that 44% of professionals are more likely to indulge in unhealthy foods while on business trips than they would be at home.[v]
Some common meal mistakes while travelling are skipping breakfast, eating oversized portions, not drinking enough water and drinking too much alcohol. The bottom line is, don’t feel the need to eat three full restaurant meals a day and don’t feel pressured into overindulging.
If you aren’t mindful of your choices, frequent business trips can result in negative health consequences.
4. Add personal travel time to your business trip
After two years of limited travel, 89% of business travellers plan to add personal holiday time to their business travel this year.[vi] Tacking on extra travel days before or after a business trip allows you the chance to process your trip and recharge. Planning a longer stay can be especially beneficial for international travel. You have time to adjust to a new time zone and relax, which can be key in avoiding burnout.
Before you incorporate some holiday time into your next business trip though, make sure you review your company’s travel policy and let your manager know. It’s also a good idea to check travel restrictions and plan a travel itinerary to make the most of your time. Many business travellers are inviting family members to meet over the weekend, so they can enjoy a getaway together. If you can’t extend your trip, find a way to fit a fun travel experience into every business trip. This will help you look forward to upcoming business trips in the future.
It’s also a great benefit…
Innovative companies are leveraging holiday extensions to business trips as a work perk to attract and retain talent. It’s not just about travelling for business but experiencing a different culture and making new connections. This results in overall higher satisfaction for corporate travellers. There are also potential savings due to airfares being booked on other days than the traditional arrival day of Sunday and departure day of Friday.
A note to employers: duty of care has changed
Duty of care has traditionally been defined as the legal responsibility for the safety of corporate travellers. But in today’s world, duty of care has expanded to include the additional facets of business risk, travel needs and traveller well-being. Employees need to feel confident that the travel risk for their business trips is minimal and that they’re fully—and authentically—supported from the time they start planning and booking to their return home.
To successfully compete in the global marketplace, companies need to show genuine empathy and concern for their employees’ well-being, which means considering new factors beyond just basic corporate travel safety to give their travellers peace of mind. The days of using a traditional travel agency are over. For example, it’s now common for travel programme managers to provide education on travel wellness choices, healthy flying, stress management and self-care.
Partnering with a corporate travel platform allows small companies to maintain booking control and access to essential travel services, such as to 24/7 travel assistance. This is a modern approach compared to relying on a travel agent.
Take a look at how to build a strategy and process to enhance traveller well-being here.