As an introvert, travel is both a fun exploration of the world and totally exhausting to be “on” for days or weeks at a time. In today’s post I want to share some of my personal reflections and hacks for surviving time on the road without burning out.
If you find travel tiring then the best thing to do is make plenty of time to rest before, during and after a trip. This might mean having space in the calendar for naps, building in some buffer for transit and ensuring some fun in between all the work.
It probably won’t surprise you that I have systems for traveling but, unlike my business systems, they’re much more flexible and geared toward fun!
When work travel is in my schedule I always plan on an extra day or two beyond what is strictly needed, not just to make the most of seeing new places and meeting people but also to settle in before work.
Getting into Toronto last week, I picked up my rental car and got a surprise upgrade to a Nissan Pathfinder and fell in love with the heated seats. It was great to have some warmth for those cold Canadian mornings because I am a weather wimp!
It might just be my fierce independent streak but I love getting a rental car and having options to get around town without relying on taxis, Uber or public transit. While you might pay more for the rental/parking/fuel, I find it allows me to explore more out of the way locales.
Explore Your Surroundings
I made the trek out to Niagara Falls, specifically to visit the Butterly Conservatory. I prefer parks, zoos and museums over tourist sites but make a point to check Travel Advisor and Pinterest for ideas before I go.
If my phone will be accessible while I travel, I simply create a single appointment with all the places and stores I want to visit (with addresses) so I can pick and choose what to visit when I arrive.
When I know that I’ll be working with people on site, meeting with clients or attending an event, I tend to spend the day before in solitude to preserve my energy for when its needed most.
It’s also fun to explore new locations whether that’s parasailing in the Gulf of Mexico or visiting the standing stones in Scotland.
Find Local Treats
Since I was traveling over Easter it was difficult to plan some things as most restaurants and stores would be closed on Sunday. Knowing this I made a reservation for brunch on Sunday to check out the maple run and “Sugar Shack Sundays” which several restaurants participate in through the season.
In the past I’ve found myself flying in, working, flying out and never experiencing the city that I’ve just spent a week in – no more! If you’re introverted like me then you don’t need to try to see everyone while you’re on the road, solo exploration can be just as fun and way less stressful.
Be Selective about Gifting
Maybe it’s because I’m borderline obsessed with Hoarders but I don’t like buying a lot of souvenirs either for myself or other people (to commemorate my trip?… ). Instead I look for things that are unique about the area, such as smoked salmon in Seattle, tequila in Cancun and maple syrup in Ontario. I picked up a couple bottles as gifts, including a trade planned for some Hawaiian coffee my friend brought back for me.
However. I try not to spend all my free time shopping which means rearranging my suitcase, packaging everything to survive the trip and then delivering gifts when I get home. Keeping it low key is helpful because I don’t like added stress when traveling.
Although, I did bring some gifts with me TO Toronto for my clients.
Enjoy the Work
Most of my recent travel has revolved around work and so there’s really no escaping it on the road. As much as I love my clients I try to stay in a hotel or AirBnB so I have some privacy to relax at the end of the day.
For this trip Natalie and I were working on videos for upcoming She Takes on the World TV episodes, launch videos and several new series. We also worked on upcoming launches, team planning, the upcoming retreat to Mexico and so much more.
Production takes a lot of coordination, including guests that came in for filming and making notes for strategy, campaigns and graphics needed to accompany the videos.
So if you’re not enjoying the work then travel will make it even harder. So have fun, be silly, do a ridiculous Periscope with your business buddies.
Although the week in Ontario was filled with work, I did make some time for networking with new friends over dinner. Thankfully all the organizing work was done by my friend Gwen Elliot who invited a handful of her awesome colleagues to a group dinner. It was low key and absolutely lovely.
I appreciated the opportunity to meet a dozen new friends, while not worrying about what restaurants are best, answering questions from other attendees or making arrangements with the restaurant ahead of time.
When possible I schedule these networking events near the end of a trip, both because the majority of the stress is done once the work/conference/event is over and also because it means heading home and not scheduling a bunch of follow up meet ups during the trip.
By this point in the trip all I need to do is make it home!
Home Sweet Home
Getting home can be stressful, especially if your Uber driver can’t find his way to the airport (#seriously). One of the ways that I make coming home easier is to clean my house before leaving so I don’t return to chaos. Of course, as soon as I begin unpacking all that hard work goes out the door as I catch up on laundry, try to get my office back together and set aside gifts for friends.
Depending on the length of the trip home and severity of the jet lag, I might take an extra day to rest or nap throughout the week until I’m back on a schedule at home. I’m sure those who travel constantly adapt much more quickly! As soon as possible I try to get back to the normal schedule including seeing my chiropractor (after long hours sitting on a plane), working with my personal trainer and working in my home office. Especially considering my next trip is just a few weeks away, it is worth the time to get back into the groove between trips.
What travel tips or hacks have you found for business or personal travel? Share in the comments below!