I’m heading back to Cincinnati today on Delta 229 with a suitcase full of laundry, and a selection of Danish cheese, Irish whiskey and Belgian chocolate. I’ve been moving around Europe for the past 2 weeks meeting with strategic partners, setting strategy and identifying new ways to transform the way we are doing business at P&G. It has been an exhausting and exhilarating couple of weeks!
When departing from Paris, I always avoid the morning traffic by staying at the CDG Airport Sheraton. Last night I Ubered out of the city of love with some colleagues and we had a good laugh sharing our travel pet peeves. Seems we all agree that the French really don’t understand the value of a good blow drier and 2 working treadmills in the hotel fitness center would be so much better than one! Thankfully all of us had made it to this point without getting sick! Travel can be quite stressful so staying healthy is a top priority. After 20 years of international business travel, I’ve gathered a few tips and techniques to keep my brain fully engaged and my body fully functioning. Here’s my Top 10; I hope that a few of them will keep you fit for your next meeting abroad.
- EXERCISE!!!! When traveling from the US to Europe, you lose several hours of sleep. There is no better way to reset your body to a new time zone than by getting some exercise early on the day of your arrival. I always ask for the early arrival option at the hotel (before I leave the US) and most times the staff can accommodate me. Instead of taking a nap, I hop on the treadmill, then take a nice cold shower. Typically this helps me power through the rest of the day and sleep soundly.
- Have a SLEEP STRATEGY! Sleep is my second highest priority when traveling. Being on another time zone and frequent late night business dinners makes this a real challenge. Studies have shown that light and noise disturb sleep so years ago, I trained myself to be able to sleep with a mask & ear plugs. So, even if the duration of my sleep is shorter, the amount of deep sleep I get is sufficiently restorative to help me through the day.
- HYDRATE – The dry air on the plan is deadly for your skin and sinuses. Plan ahead by over-hydrating the day before you travel and refill your water bottle from the water cooler in the fitness center. Many airports have filtered water fountains specifically designed to refill your portable water bottles so arrive empty and refill after you have passed through TSA.
- Always eat BREAKFAST– Years ago, European & Asia hotels included a simple breakfast with your stay. These days the hotel breakfast option is pretty expensive but in my view worth every penny. Unless there is a boulangerie near the hotel, pay the price or pay the price. Remember, your body is under stress so don’t stress it further by making it wonder where it will get its next meal.
- Fresh AIR – There is nothing worse in my view than the musty smell of a hotel room and opening a window is not always an option. I save room in my luggage for a Travel Diffuser and mist the air with DoTerra On-Guard.
- SAVE your BACK – travel light. I always plan my outfits around my shoes and struggle to limit myself to 2 pair (plus my sneakers). Carry along a travel sized bottle of Febreeze so you can wear slacks and tops more than once during your stay. Folding your clothes with tissue paper keeps things from wrinkling.
- Save $$ on Travel Sizes. Did you know you can even refill little travel toothpaste tubes? Try it – simply put tubes end to end and slowly squeeze the full tube. All you need is a steady hand and a little patience.
- Avoid BAD HAIR – Those annoying European hair driers that require you to keep the power button depressed always give me a hand cramp and a bad style. I bring along a little Velcro strip to keep the on button on!
- PRINT before you depart. Having a printed itinerary and boarding passes takes the stress away from a drained battery or fumbling at TSA while other passengers wait for you to find the right screen. And add your destinations into your contacts for easy access when you need to put your destination into GPS or the Where to box on Uber!
- And finally NEVER, EVER check your luggage! If you pack lightly and get TSA pre-check, there is no need for you to run the risk of not having your bags so you can make a quick exit and be on your way. Or, avoid arriving in China and being without something to wear to your next day business meeting!
Will you try any of these tips on your next business trip? I’d love to hear your advice for staying healthy when traveling so please let me know what you think!