While traveling for any reason can be a stressful experience, the entire experience can be particularly trying on business trips. From added pressure to perform well at a forthcoming meeting to making sure you get to your destination on time, there are a wide range of added strains when you’re required to travel for business. If you feel stressed traveling for work, you’re not alone. A recent poll released by World Bank showed that almost 75 percent of those traveling for business reported high or very high stress.
While you may face a number of stressful obstacles as you make your way to the next out-of-town meeting, conference or tradeshow, the good news is that there are ways to remedy these situations and make business travel a little less painful.
1) Adjusting to Cultural Differences
Even traveling to the next state or region over can be a cultural shock in some parts of the world, and it’s natural that you want to fit in and make a good first impression, especially when face-to-face with a local client. Because of unfamiliar norms and/or new surroundings, the differences between your culture and a place you’ve never been may be a stressful experience.
In order to minimize any concerns and help make sure you are prepared, conduct some pre-trip research on traditional phrases, customs, attire and manners in the place you’ll be traveling to. This will help you avoid any faux-pas when you arrive at your destination.
2) Scheduling (and Maintaining) Itineraries
Researching flight and accommodation bookings is another stressful aspect of traveling for business, one that can be a struggle under the weight of complicated itineraries, untrustworthy booking sites and ballooning costs. And when on a business trip, the last thing you need is to be dealing with itinerary disruptions, like delayed flights and canceled hotel reservations.
Many large organizations partner with travel agencies or booking partners, but if you’re on your own, you should follow their lead. Find a trusted travel manager or a corporate travel agent to avoid costly logistical stress when out of town. If you’re looking for more of an in-house solution, you can hire an administrative position within your company where part of that role includes booking and optimizing employee travel itineraries. Additionally, you could try using a travel management platform which can manage a business trip in its entirety, allowing the road warriors to focus on the things that matter.
3) Getting Lost
Even the most veteran business travelers can get mixed up in new cities, trying to find conference centers, hotels, dinner get togethers, etc. – that’s perfectly normal. However, when getting lost causes you to miss important meetings, events or presentations, it can seriously disrupt your professional life.
To stay on course, use travel apps such as Yelp and Tripadvisor to help you find reliable hotels and places to eat, CamCard to scan and save all the business cards you collected, and Expensify to capture and itemize receipts, mileage, and other expenses. This will keep you organized and reduce stress during your trip, and will help you when you return and have to fill out that expense report.
4) Long Days and Tight Schedules
Especially if you are flying in and out of your destination in one day, business trips can bring long days filled with one event after another. It’s not uncommon for frequent business travelers to arrive at their home airport by 4 a.m. to catch a 6 a.m. flight in order to make a 9 a.m. meeting. Then, after sitting in meetings all day, return to the airport and catch your flight home, often arrive well past your normal bedtime – and that’s without any transportation hiccups or flight delays. That’s a lot to ask of even the most seasoned business travelers.
To bring stress levels down, it’s important to take advantage of downtime, no matter how small a timeframe it may be. Spending every moment of your trip doing work only adds to the stress of travel, so utilize short lulls in your trip to unplug and recharge, and even taking some time to yourself to enjoy the local scene when possible.
5) Time Away from Family
Those business travelers leaving a family behind may experience stress being away from their spouse and children, particularly on long stays or trips abroad. And, it’s no secret that when the demands of work and travel rise, more personal issues associated with travel will increase. So, not only may you be dealing with the guilt of being away from your family, travel also can create a strain on personal relationships.
To ease the pain of being away from those that matter to you, make sure you have a good data plan on your phone with video conferencing apps like FaceTime, Skype or Google Hangouts. Chat apps are also a good way to stay in touch, and some, like WhatsApp, are free to use internationally, so you don’t have to deal with outrageous data charges just to speak with your spouse or children.
6) Adapting to a New Routine
It’s challenging to find time to exercise or stick to a healthy diet when you are on the road, which means many business travelers sacrifice their health while traveling. Any traveling business person knows how hard it can be to stick with a healthy diet and exercise plan while out-of-town. From airline meals to happy hour libations to client dinners, it’s hard to avoid all the empty calories that accompany business trips.
Thankfully, there’s a way you can stay healthy no matter how long you’re gone. If you’re looking for a way to keep yourself in check on your business trips, check out our other post How to Maintain a Healthy Diet on Cross-Country Business Trips.
7) Flying Commercial
Even though the in-flight entertainment may be acceptable or you happen to be lucky enough to score an aisle seat with extra legroom, sitting through a long commercial flight can be a stressful undertaking. Add an extra dose of long check-in lines, security screening and a crying child sitting behind you on the plane, and flying becomes one of the most stressful elements of business travel.
To combat the stresses of flying commercial, always check out business-class or first-class ticket prices before buying coach, as they provide more spacious seating and fewer regular passengers (read: families with children). You may be tempted to opt for the cheaper seats in the back of the plane, however, investing in your comfort is a good way to keep yourself stress-free and productive while on a business trip. Just be sure to check with your manager to get the all clear before dropping extra company money on a ticket.
8) Lost Luggage
Another reality of flying commercially is lost luggage. When checking a bag with the airlines, there’s always a risk of misplacing your luggage, and thus important travel and business materials. You likely have a nice suit, presentation materials and a computer in your bag — it’s not ideal when you show up in a new city and don’t have any of your possessions. Plus, with so many other details to keep track of, whether it’s meeting times, flight itineraries or hotel addresses – all on top of the pressure to perform well in your job – lost luggage just adds to the regular list of stressors related to business travel.
Since you can’t control where your checked baggage ultimately ends up, taking a carry-on is the only surefire way to ensure nothing gets lost on your business trip. Of course, you could always enroll in flight school and fly yourself to your next business trip – that way you can bring what you need and it will always be with you in your plane. A private pilot license is a fun, affordable and fairly quick process that gives you the power to take control of your business trips and help minimize many of the risks and stressors that come with flying commercially for business.
Obtain a Private Pilot License and Take Control of Your Business Trips
Get in touch with the certified flight instructors at Inflight Pilot Training today and take control of your travel itinerary. With our premier flight training services, our team will help you obtain your pilot’s license so you can make every business trip an effective, affordable one.
For additional information on Inflight training programs, contact us today or call (952) 698-3000.