10 Tips on How to Reduce Stress During Business Travel
business travelers are wired -- in more ways than one.
Plugged into voice mail and e-mail, hovered over laptops far into the night, business
travelers have nowhere to hide from the pressures of work. Other stresses such
as crowded highways, overbooked flights and unexplained delays can make just getting
to a destination downright miserable -- it's no wonder today's road warriors are
seeking ways to relax.
to the Travel Industry Association of America's National Travel Survey, 197 million
trips were taken in 1998, with each business traveler taking an average of 5.4
business trips a year.
So how can the nation's road warriors cope with all of that travel? Here are 10
tips that just may take the edge off business travel.
1. Take a mental
vacation. That's what nearly all business travelers do when
they're traveling by plane. Ninety-five percent do not consider work their first
priority during flight, according to a poll conducted by Harris Interactive for
Delta Air Lines. Leisure, rather than work activities, is mentioned more frequently.
In fact, more than half (55 percent) take advantage of onboard entertainment and
64 percent use the time to sit and think. A whopping 81 percent read for pleasure,
topped only by the all-time favorite activity for business fliers -- looking out
2. Escape in a book. If you're among those who enjoy reading to relax, Country Inns & Suites By Carlson
has an in-hotel library program called Book It And Return that lends guests free
books such as The New York Times best-seller "Tuesdays with Morrie." "With more
than 80 percent of business travelers reading for pleasure during their trips,
we encourage our guests to borrow a book from the in-house library. When they're
finished with it we ask that guests return the book to any Country Inns & Suites
North American property upon their next visit," says Yvonne La Penotiere, vice
president of sales & marketing, Country Inns & Suites. "For each book that is
returned, the company will make a $5 donation to Laubach Literacy, up to a $20,000
3. Get some exercise.
After sitting in meetings and seminars all day, it's not unusual to feel the need
for exercise and fresh air. More than one fourth of U.S. travelers have used a
fitness center or gym while traveling. And last year one in eight played golf
while on a trip of 100 miles or more away from home, according to the Travel Industry
Association of America (TIA).
4. Find another outlet.
Is shopping your sport? It is for many travelers, including those on business
trips. Outlet shopping malls are becoming major attractions, with 55 million travelers
visiting them annually. And while the shopping experience isn't necessarily the
primary reason for most trips, many consider it another diversion from the daily
grind. After all, walking around a mall is a form of exercise, too.
5. Create your own
spa. A business trip is the perfect excuse to pamper yourself. Why
not turn your hotel bathroom into you own personal spa? Pack some scented candles
into your overnight case. Fill up the tub, throw in some bath oil and wallow in
self-indulgence. Paint your toenails pink. And no one will see you if you use
a bright blue facial mask.
6. Eat anything you
want. When you're tired, stressed and frazzled, a club sandwich won't
do. Splurge on room service and order a thick, juicy steak. Top off your meal
with chocolate mousse and strawberries. Or forget the idea of a balanced meal
altogether and have hot, buttered popcorn for dinner, and watch the in-room movie
in your PJ's.
7. Tune everything
out. Late night revelers keeping you awake? Bring along a sound machine.
You can find portable battery-operated or plug-in models in gift and gadget stores.
Some units even have cartridges for special effects, so you can drift off to the
restful sounds of ocean waves, crickets or rain showers -- there's even a "white
noise" version based on the sounds of a mother's womb.
8. Ask for it --
they just might have it. Many hotel chains are following U.S. lodging
industry trends that point to customized hotels for business travelers. According
to www.countryinns.com, you can expect
a variety of amenities, ranging from in-room coffeemakers and irons, to a "Did
You Forget?" program that offers guests more than a dozen personal care items,
from a toothbrush to a sewing kit.
9. Bring the family. If your business trip takes you away from the family, bring them with you. More
travelers are taking family members along with them on business trips, and extending
their business travels into leisure vacations. Two out of 10 business travelers
(21 percent) combined business and vacation on their last business trip, according
to the Travel Industry Association of America.
10. De-stress the
drive. An often-overlooked segment of the business travel market includes
people who drive to their destinations. If you're among them, you're not alone.
According to D.K. Shifflet & Associates, a Virginia market research firm, U.S.
business people spend 1.1 billion days a year on out-of-town trips, and more than
62 percent of the journeys are by car. While in the car, Americans bring a variety
of tech toys with them -- as many as 57 percent, according to a survey by electronics
retailer Best Buy.
Among the gizmos designed to take the bite out of travel, a surprising 16.5 percent
of the survey's respondents, including 70 percent men, said they would choose
a global positioning system (GPS) as their most desired product to bring along
on a trip.
No matter how much things change, some travel truisms stay the same: When it comes
to coping strategies, it seems most people would rather use a GPS than ask someone