While the jet setting lifestyle may seem glamorous to those who never hitch a ride out of town, for frequent fliers, it’s simply part of their job description. Whether they are crossing the country for a client meeting or taking a double-digit flight to try to bring in new business, it’s one takeoff and one landing after another. It can be thrilling to wake up in a new city and to figure out cultural norms — and it can also be taxing for our bodies.
Not only are we away from the familiar routines we have developed but the temptation of carb-heavy foods and copious amount of alcohol are difficult to resist. If you are a business traveler who can’t figure out the right balance, consider these tips from those leaders who have mastered it.
Choose Airbnb over hotels
Airbnb can be a smart choice for budget-mindful families — and for professionals who are staying in a different place for a week or longer. Not only do they often have more space, but having a home-away-from-home makes healthy eating that much easier.
As Kelly Chase, the director of marketing for Fracture explains, cooking can make a big difference when you’re on the road. She works remotely from her home in Cleveland, Ohio but travels to her company’s home base in Florida one week every month. She’s discovered that when she’s at an Airbnb, she cuts back majorly on calories because she has better control of her diet.
“I make a point of arriving early enough in the evening that I have time to hit the grocery store on the way into town so that I can stock up on my usual healthy staples,” she explains. “The more you can make the healthy choice the easiest choice, the more likely you are to stick with that.”
Time block your calendar
Every few months Danny Taing, the founder and CEO of Bokksu travels to Japan to meet with current and potential vendors, as well as his employees. This helps the company remain relevant but also ensure he develops relationships that bode well for business.
Considering he’s battling jet lag and a major shift in his schedule, Taing insists on some time blocks that help him stay focused on health. Some of these non-negotiables are a three-mile run every other day and at least one to two free evenings sans-business.
“On these nights, I can catch up with an old friend or unwind with alone time. Not feeling the pressure to schedule work 24/7 allows me to refresh my mind and keeps me sharper during the next meetings,” he adds.
Prioritize your immune system
If you want to find where plenty of germs lurk, just take a look at your seat the next time you hop on a flight. Because these confined spaces have stale air and are not deeply cleaned frequently, many people get sick after a long flight. To ensure her immune system is safe, the CEO and founder of Cruise Planners, Michelle Fee packs smartly by bringing travel-sized antibacterial wipes.
“I whip them out to disinfect my seat, seatbelt, entertainment screen, tray table and seatback pocket before takeoff. They’re also handy for wiping down hotel doorknobs and TV remote,” she explains “In addition, I carry hand sanitizer or gel in my purse to use if water and soap isn’t readily available and will use it before every meal.”
Keep your routine as much as you can
For the past 14 years, the president of KWT Global Gabrielle Zucker has been telecommuting, living in Phoenix but working in New York and responsible for their London and Toronto offices. She travels every other week, making her a real pro. What she’s discovered helps the most to remain diligent away from home is keeping a routine as much as possible. This means not going too far off track by eating poor foods or skipping workouts.
She warns business travelers from picking up snack boxes on airplanes since they are packed with sodium and won’t hydrate your body. And if you aren’t a gym-goer, she suggests finding a workout program that’s available wherever life takes you so you stay active, no matter where work takes you.
Keep breakfast consistent
Every traveler knows to expect the unexpected. Flight delays, unpredictable weather, schedule shifts, and other hurdles are always a possibility, and it’s always in your best interest to roll with the punches. With business travel, you have a bit more control — or at least you can try to if you take wisdom from the CEO and founder of Explore Sideways, Joshin Raghubar.
His South African wine tour company recently expanded to Portugal, and he’s flying from Cape Town a few times a month, mostly on 8 (or more) hour flights. In addition to exposing himself to natural light and staying on the move, he also keeps one thing consistent: his breakfast.
“Avoid going for the overpriced hotel breakfast and find a local coffee shop for added steps,” he recommends. This means no matter what the day throws his way, he has one meal that’s healthy.
As the president of Tauck, Jennifer Tombaugh is on the road every six weeks, traveling throughout the United States and Europe. She tries to maintain a balanced wellness routine that energizes her body and keeps her mind fresh — and part of that is saying ‘nope’ to alcohol.
“There is often an open bar or cocktail reception at many events, and meals are often accompanied by wine. Sparkling water helps both fill you up and give you something in your hand during the mingling,” she explains. “I find it’s also easier to be smarter about eating and ordering when there’s less wine accompanying it.”
Considering his company is fully remote, the founder and CEO of The Lonely Entrepreneur Michael Dermer is on the road up to three times a month, for at least a week at a time. These travels send him from Dubai and Croatia to Mexico City and beyond. One of the ways he’s found to keep up with the pace and give his body TLC is to jump right into it. Quite literally, actually — into the water!
“Many good hotels have pools and whether you wake up at 6 a.m. and swim 100 laps or just spend some time in the water, the water can be quite invigorating. Being in the water can stimulate your senses, reduce stress and make your body relax,” he shares.