Business travel is just a little bit different in the age of COVID-19, but practicing safe travel habits can help you enjoy healthy, fulfilling trips.
The past year has been difficult around the world, but especially for the travel industry and business Travelers in general. This Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to love yourself and to love others by developing and practicing safe travel habits. Here are 5 things you can start doing this Valentine’s Day to ensure that you enjoy the safest, healthiest business travel experiences possible.
1. Pick Your Trips Carefully
In 2021, start developing safe travel habits by choosing your trips carefully. At JTB Business Travel, we’ve always believed that the best way to save on travel spend is to avoid unnecessary trips. As COVID-19 continues to spread around the world, it’s even more important now to deliberately and carefully choose when to travel.
First and foremost, ask yourself whether or not the meetings you would hold by traveling can be conducted virtually. Second, ask yourself if the trip could possibly be delayed until a vaccine is more readily available. Finally, determine whether or not you are the person who needs to go on the trip.
If the trip is still necessary after you answer those 3 questions, that’s wonderful. Narrowing down your business trips to only the ones that are most essential will help you stay focused on practicing safe travel habits — and it will keep you fresh for the next important trip.
2. Pack the Right Things
By now we all know the essentials for travel during COVID-19: hand sanitizer, masks, etc. And these things are undoubtedly important. But avoiding COVID-19 is just one aspect of staying safe and healthy while away from the office. To further promote safe travel habits, pack the following things:
- Noise-canceling headphones that help reduce stress when used for brief periods of mediation or relaxation
- Sneakers for a walk or run around your destination city — to help you stay fit while traveling
- Healthy snacks that help you avoid not-so-healthy food options
And remember: It’s not enough to pack these things. You need to use them, too. Those sneakers, for example, won’t help you stay fit if they remain in your suitcase for the duration of the trip.
3. Practice Patience
Let’s state the obvious: Travel can be stressful. Trips get disrupted. Plans change. You sometimes return home wondering if the journey was even worth it. But, if you go into the trip with a focus on patience, you’ll be able to travel safer, healthier and happier.
In addition to patience, try the following 3 things to mitigate travel disruptions and to lessen the related stress:
- Be Early: Get to the airport earlier than you think. This allows you to navigate check-in and security lines without worry. The same holds true when you reach your destination. Be early to the office or event that you’re attending. Again, this allows additional time just in case the unexpected occurs.
- Have a Backup Plan: As noted above, things can change suddenly and without warning when you’re traveling for work. So have a backup plan. Taking clients to dinner? Make multiple reservations, just in case a restaurant is unexpectedly closed due to a coronavirus outbreak in the kitchen. Do your best to anticipate things that can go wrong on your trip, and you’ll have an easier time working around them.
- Practice Kindness: When you’re early and when you have backup plans, you have the time and flexibility to practice kindness. You can let the clearly frazzled Traveler rushing to his or her gate step in front of you in the security line. You can take a few seconds to thank the TSA agent for his or her service. And you can ultimately feel good about yourself when you return home from a trip.
As noted above, travel-related stress is real and it can affect your mental health. When you practice patience, especially during the pandemic, you’ll find yourself healthier mentally and less stressed by travel.
4. Love Yourself
We’ve written before about the ways that business travel can be bad for your health. While these things are prevalent among business Travelers, each is highly avoidable. Love yourself this Valentine’s Day, and throughout the year, by focusing on avoiding:
- Obesity: It’s hard to make healthy food and drink decisions while traveling for work. It’s essential that you plan ahead to avoid bad foods and the obesity they can lead to. As noted in the packing section above, take healthy snacks on your trip so that you’re less likely to eat fast food at the airport. Also, look online for healthy restaurants around your hotel so that you can plan on getting takeout that won’t add to your waistline.
- Anxiety, Stress and Depression: We’ve already touched on stress reduction above. Take it a step further by creating manageable itineraries for yourself that help reduce stress. When you make business travel simple and straightforward, it’s a much less stressful and anxiety-inducing experience.
- Smoking and Alcohol Dependence: Smoking and alcohol dependence are prominent among business Travelers. In fact, smoking and drinking are so commonplace in business travel that it’s easy to get swept up into these bad habits. Awareness is key. There’s nothing wrong with having a drink or two with clients or colleagues, but set limits for yourself and be aware that all business Travelers are predisposed to smoking and drinking in excess.
- Sleep Issues: Avoid staying up late when you’re traveling. Emphasizing a good night’s rest can help ensure you feel your best the next day, even if you have to get up early. Having a hard time falling asleep? Try melatonin or blue light glasses to help mitigate the effects of changing time zones and staring at screens all day.
5. Love Others
Yes, it’s important to love yourself. And, after you commit to loving yourself, commit to loving others, too. A simple smile or “thank you” can go a long way right now as people throughout the travel-industry are stressed by their jobs and the health threat they can pose. Take time to be gracious and to share love in small ways.
And don’t forget about your loved ones back home. It’s easy to get caught up in a hectic schedule while away from the office, but take time to FaceTime your spouse, your kids, and others special people back home.
Make the Most of Your Business Trips
Safe travel habits are important to the business travel process, and it’s equally as important to have a travel management company that can support your business. At JTB Business Travel, we work with companies large and small, helping them optimize their travel spend while supporting Travelers before, during and after their trips. Behind everything we do is a common-sense approach to business travel.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can support you and your business.