So your flight has been delayed, the rental car you had broke-down, the meeting didn’t go so well, and the airport lounge is beyond capacity because everyone’s hunkered-down in there due to the blizzard that’s blowing through – what do you do?
Eviscerating the non-members who are using the lounge to overnight in because of the storm or sinisterly imploring the person behind the counter to specifically arrange alternate flight plans for you isn’t going to solve anything and will only make you a jerk. -Not that you’re likely to do any of these things but we’ve all been there or have had our share of unscheduled down time when we’re traveling for work.
When you’re in a situation like this it’s always a little more comforting if you have prepared for it or can find ways to utilize your time. Having a few extra hours of ‘me-time’ can be very good for you personally and professionally. Along with all the usual things like making sure to have all of your devices charged, your cords, extra batteries and all of your associated equipment so that you can get a little work done or Skype with your loved ones back home, you should bring along a few things that can occupy your time.
The book is always a go-to but you might want to consider packing some stationary or paper to hand-write a letter to someone. Maybe to your significant other, or perhaps to the president of the company that you just pitched a sale to? No one hand writes anything anymore and it is a great personal touch that might just seal the deal or remind your loved ones that you think of them even when you’re out there on the road.
Another cause for stress when on your business trips are the time changes, especially if going overseas. Drinking lots of water is always a good idea and believe it or not, as boring as it sounds, it actually helps you out during this period of adjustment. You’ll also want to consider bringing along a select few over the counter medications for what ails you. Rather than going to the doctor for a prescription sleep aid, which will often produce an unsettling phenomenon known as “traveler’s amnesia” in which you have several hours of memory loss, opt for one of the over the counter sleep aids/antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine (Benadryll). It works wonderfully as a sleep aid and has a few other uses that make it a good idea to carry in your kit. If you happen to have an allergic reaction to something you’ve eaten or come into contact with while you’re traveling, Benadryll will combat this effectively so long as it’s not a life-threatening reaction. Yet a third reason to carry Benadryll is that it is also anxiolytic due to it’s sedating nature.
No time for sleep and caffeine not doing it for you? Stop into any pharmacy and ask the pharmacist for some Primatene or Bronchaid tablets, which contain the stimulant and concentration-aid, ephedrine. They’re kept behind the counter to prevent theft so you’ll have to ask the pharmacist directly but one or two of those and a cup of coffee and you can deal with not having all of the sleep you’ve required. If you’re sensitive to caffeine or other stimulants, you’ll want to forgo this one and stick to getting as much sleep as you can. And of course, you’ll want to bring Tylenol, Advil or Aleve to deal with any headaches or aches and pains you get from trying to sleep on an airline seat or sitting in the terminal for seven hours while your flight is delayed.
If you can take some time for yourself to explore the city you find yourself in before you have to go back, do so! Use that ‘per diem’ to find a nice little hole-in-the-wall restaurant that’s a local secret or to take in some local culture. Download Minube on your smartphone and look at some of the thousands of user-generated mini-guides for the over 24,000 destinations in 200 plus countries to see what’s around town. Not only should Minube be downloaded to your smartphone, but there are a few others that are great for when you’re traveling. If you don’t have Evernote on your phone by now, you really should. You can record notes, pictures and voice and access them across all of your devices and the internet. J-Wire is an app that will show you where all the local Wi-Fi hotspots are at and directions on how to get there. Concur is a free app (30 day free trial, then $8/month subscription) that will manage and track business expenses and receipts and are gathered together so you can generate an expense report when you get home or allow you to submit them online.
There are a lot of ways that you can manage those parts of your traveling that are unexpected and stress inducing or those that are just intrinsic to travel. You just have to be prepared, be a little creative and make sure to take a little time for yourself – even if it’s only an hour or two a day to read a book, take a hot bath or find a nice little restaurant.