Travel is a part of many jobs, and while doing it on occasion isn't so bad, frequent travel can really take a toll. Not only can too much travel be a strain on your sleep schedule and personal relationships, but it can cause you to fall behind productivity-wise. If you've been logging an excessive number of air miles lately, or can't remember the last time you didn't spend part of your month sleeping in a hotel room, then it's crucial that you take steps to avoid feeling the impacts of a heavy work travel schedule. Here's how to start.
1. Bring a few personal touches for your hotel rooms
Homesickness can strike at any time -- even when you're a full-fledged adult who's used to traveling for work. If it's been getting you down, start bringing some small personal items on your travel that make you feel more at home, like a family photo or a favorite memento that normally lives in your bedroom. Granted, you shouldn't pack items that are too clunky or expensive for fear that they might get damaged or stolen; but a friendly reminder of home on your hotel room nightstand might go a long way.
2. Time your flights carefully
If you tend to travel a lot between time zones, you'll need to schedule your flights strategically to avoid a sleep deprivation scenario. To that end, aim to fly during overnight hours, when you're more likely to manage to fall asleep in the air. You might also consider bundling trips to nearby cities so that you're not traveling between time zones as frequently. For example, if you're based in New York City but often need to travel to San Francisco and Seattle for work, you're better off visiting both cities back to back and staying away a bit longer than scheduling two separate trips to that part of the country in the same month.
3. Find company for meals
Dining alone in restaurants (or in your hotel room) isn't always ideal, and can make an otherwise trying situation even more depressing. If you're traveling a lot for work, aim to find yourself some company so you don't feel quite so alone while you're away from home. If you're meeting with colleagues at a different company office, ask one or two out to dinner, even if you don't know them all that well. You can also aim to meet up with people in your professional network who live in different parts of the country or world, even if your relationship has mostly been limited to email thus far.
4. Ask your colleagues back home for support
Being away from the office can put you at risk of falling behind on different tasks that need to get done regularly. If you're worried about traveling a ton and coming home each time to a stack of paperwork, ask your coworkers for a little support. They might be more than willing to pitch in and help out in your absence -- especially if your frequent travel prevents them from having to do the same.
The occasional business trip can actually serve as a nice break from your regular schedule. But if you're traveling for work constantly, it can quickly become unbearable. Follow these tips, and with any luck, you'll have an easier time staying sane as you're rushing from airport to airport.