Up in the Air: How to Be Happy As A Career Traveler
For the majority of us, travel leads to sunny beaches, drinks with tiny umbrellas, grand adventures, and exploration of cities around the world. But for those who travel for their careers, travel may conjure up images of lifeless conference rooms, cramped airplanes, and impersonal hotels.
The life of a career traveler sounds glamorous, but in reality it can be rigorous and lonely. That’s why so many career travelers establish routines to help them to feel as comfortable as possible no matter where they are. The seasoned career traveler knows how to make themselves feel at home anyplace they lay their heads at night!
If you’ve just begun a new career that will have you traveling most of the time — or if you’re a seasoned career traveler but want to improve your routine — then this installment of Up in the Air is exactly what you need.
Find Small Pockets of Time Just for You
Going from airplane to hotel to conference room and back is a quick recipe for burnout. Finding small pockets of time just for yourself is imperative to achieving a sense of self during all that running.
One simple way to give yourself this you time is to wake up fifteen minutes earlier in the morning. Then settle in at your hotel room desk, the plush chairs in the lobby, or the hotel Starbucks. Grab a journal or a notebook and drink your morning coffee or tea in total peace and quiet.
You don’t have to write anything profound in your journal — just take a few minutes to reflect. Jot down some ideas you have around work that you haven’t had time to organize yet, write out some bullet points about how you’re feeling about things, or simply take notes on your goals for the trip. Journaling isn’t just for writers — anyone can utilize this technique to gather their thoughts.
Not a morning person? Switch that morning coffee or tea for dinner, appetizers, or a drink after your day is done. The great thing about hotels is they often come with comfortable places to sit and relax — use this to your advantage and grab yourself some quiet time. Just fifteen minutes can make all the difference in the world!
Find Your Favorite Activity in Each City
Work trips don’t often leave much time for sightseeing, but if you can steal away for a long lunch, then take that time to visit one thing. It’s a great chance to get your head out of work for a short time and actually connect with the places you go.
A life of travel can so often start to feel cold and impersonal. The more you get to know the places you go (and even find things you’ll want to return to later), the more these places will feel special to you. For example, I have a favorite coffee shop and book store in every city I visit. I chose these two things because they’re my favorite places to spend time in when I’m at home.
What’s your favorite thing to do at home? Whether it’s a certain type of restaurant, wine bar, sports bar, or anything else, chances are the places you’re going to have their own take on it. Make a habit of finding that in each city to prevent your work trips from becoming monotonous.
Work in A Small Workout
Between airplane dehydration, too much hotel and restaurant food, and sitting in meetings all day, traveling for work can take a serious toll on your body. No matter how busy your schedule is, it’s important to find a way to work in at least one small workout per trip.
There are many forms these workouts can take on, so do whatever it is that you like best. If you’re a gym person, make sure you book hotels that have fitness facilities available. If you’re the more outdoorsy type, rent a bike or go for a run to get some fresh air. Bonus: you could even ride a bike to see some of the sights you’re curious about!
Utilize Those Rewards
One extreme benefit to frequent travel is the rewards you can rack up. Don’t let them just sit there unused — frequent travelers can benefit from a lot more than free flights or hotel stays. Think upgrades, extra amenities, and other freebies that can all make your travel more enjoyable. Travel blogger and expert Jamie Larounis talks more about using rewards to upgrade your travel experience:
“The best way a traveler can ease their pain by traveling, in my opinion, is utilizing the elite status benefits of the airlines and hotels they frequent. Pick an airline and pick a hotel, then stick with it. Not only will you accumulate rewards points in those respective programs, but as you travel more, you’ll progress up the elite status ranks to earn more privileges that take the hassle out of traveling. Take for example American Airlines. As a top tier Executive Platinum member, you’ll receive complimentary upgrades, free same day changes, no charge on food and beverage when seated in the economy cabin, and much more. If you’re a Hyatt loyalist, for example, you’ll earn 4 confirmable suite upgrades a year, in addition to free breakfast every morning. Combining all of these perks separates the leisure traveler from the career traveler for sure.” — Jamie Larounis, The Forward Cabin
Creating a Home No Matter Where You Go
While the life of a career traveler isn’t always easy, it can be fun if you develop techniques that will help you create a home anywhere in the world. Carve out your own special time and activities and diligently work them in on every trip you go on. That way you can walk away from your experiences with good memories instead of blurred hotel stays.