I’ve been traveling professionally for the past seven years. I used to be gone almost every other week for three of those years, which now I can admit was a lot at the time. But I lived it up traveling for work, and in fact I thrived. In the simplest of explanations, it instilled in me a passion for exploration. I remember being 20 years old, and going on my first business trip to New York City, I had never been and the idea of being able to go there for work seemed glamorous. Of course, my role was to work tradeshow and events representing my company, so there were lots of long, hard hours, standing and talking to counter the thrill of being in a new city, but it was a key that I had gotten my hands on and it’s something I haven’t quite let go of.
The reaction I get is often split, on one hand people are envious of the travel, which I don’t blame them, being able to afford to travel is a luxury, let alone being able to frequent as many places as I have for the sake of my job. The other side is people feel bad for me, they express how travel has kept them away from their family, social experiences, and hindered them building true routines when they’re home. And while both sides are 100% accurate, I do think traveling has it’s ups and downs just like everything else and it’s how you master traveling that puts you in the pilots seat.
I can’t say that I’ve always felt positive about having to travel, these days I don’t do it as frequently as I used to, so I more or less enjoy my trips and thanks to my travel hacks have mastered how to travel and maintain some sort of health and wellness balance. But there really are things that can help make your trips more enjoyable, and I think it just comes with practice.
I started this blog as a result of the nature of my where my job took me. Dinner parties in Toronto, lunches in Chicago, I was at the epicenter of hosting and entertaining as part of my job as a Global Manager of Events, and I excelled at it. I would take every opportunity to scope out the city beforehand, dig up the coolest places to eat, see and explore and I would invite whoever was with me on that trip at the time client, or co-worker. I spent many nights eating, drinking, and indulging in the very best of every city I visited. Where it began to take a toll on me was I had absolutely no balance, I was eating everything, and not working out, and on an off sleeping pattern due to all the timezones and I was just operating out of an unhealthy state of mind. But I was in Los Angeles! Or Paris! It would eventually get back to normal? Right?
It didn’t get back to normal till I made it a point to add balance back to my life. This didn’t happen overnight either, and it’s still something I balance today. Just like everything in life, we’re presented with choices. To get up, to stay back, to take a shot, literally 🙂 and I just had to learn that just because I’m on the road, those routines don’t have to sacrifice. Obviously have fun, know your limits, and remind yourself that you’re worth investing in every day, not just on the days you’re “home”. So without further ado, here are 5 quick ways for you to master the art of professionally traveling with wellness in mind:
- Fitness: Make time to move! It’s as simple as that, if you already get it in your mind that you’re going to stick to your routine, that’s half the battle. Do the research, does your hotel have a gym. Are you staying downtown near fitness classes, can you take advantage of something like Studio Hop? Do you prefer an at home gym routine, maybe you follow BBG or Blogilates. Whatever it is, do the research before hand and have a game plan. For me, personally I need to be in a group fitness environment. Even if my hotel has a gym I’m not super likely to use it unless my sister (who is a personal trainer) is with me motivating me. So I look for studios near my hotel and honestly a lot of them offer first class free. Usually my trips are only a few days so I’m able to go to some classes for either free or not a lot of $ for a drop in class.
- Food + Snacking: Especially for the airplane and hotel, I try to pack some go to snacks that fit within my diet. Again, look at what you are trying to accomplish and what your body likes to eat. I personally don’t eat junk food and hate the prices that airports charge, and I’m lucky if I come across a Whole Foods or Trader Joes. But I always travel with an apple or two, cut up. Some RX Bars, and Chomps for protein. And a Lara bar or Two for a sweet snack. Other great things to bring, nuts, almond butter packets, anything that can give you something to replenish nutrients without being chips or candy! Re food: do some research, again, sometimes you’re traveling for work and you cant pick where you go eat. But you can pick what you order, just because you’re in Chicago and they’re known for deep dish doesn’t mean you need to eat it every day. Indulge where it makes sense, and then fuel your body with what makes your body feel the best. I personally love looking for the best vegan ice cream shops in whatever city I’m visiting, then I know before hand where I’m going to get my sweet tooth met (since I’m paleo and no dairy).
- Packing: What you travel with matters. Think of your travel gear as your baseline for how you want to set yourself up for success. I recently acquired an Away bag (which has a lifetime warranty on ALL their luggage). I went with the bigger carry on because of how frequently I travel, any time I can eliminate checking a bag (or waiting for a bag at baggage claim) is time saved for something better spent. However, once you have the bag– what exactly should go in it? Again, for me, I know that fitness is just going to happen and so I pack enough clothes to get me through my workouts. In a carry on that space is extra valuable, and so it’s bonus motivation for me to wear everything that I put in my bag! I also recently purchased some packing cubes from Target, which you can honestly get from anywhere for same/cheaper pricing. But these will help you pack more into your bag. Obviously clothing aside, some other things I like to pack for wellness are as follows: Face masks, CBD oil, ear plugs, eye mask, small candle, sleeping pills, ginger chews. Some of these are self explanatory, you can’t value a good set of ear plugs and eye mask until you don’t have them. Face masks and small candles help me just relax after a long day on the road, maybe the new geography wrecked my skin, I enjoy putting on the robe and just kicking back even if it’s for 20 min. CBD oil is a godsend, it contains NO THC, and with the appropriate dose will either help relax you and alleviate stress, or in my case with a little higher dosage, helps me knock out! I don’t travel anywhere without a vial. The other things are just to remind you to pack a mini pharmacy, whatever you think you may need to feel 100% make a list and buy travel sizes to fill your dopp kit. Mine is always fully stocked with all the essentials and is the ONE THING I CAN’T TRVEL WITHOUT!
- Technology: I travel with 2 portable power banks at all times. Power is something I never want to be without and so having fully charged, and charging cables is a necessity for me. Another investment I’ve made is in wireless headphones, I recently bought the Apple pods, and they are a game changer for me. Aside from not having cords, they’re super intuitive to Apple phones, and allow me to stay in the game while on the road. Whether I am going for a quick run around the neighborhood, or taking a conference call in the airport, they are great for multiuser. Another pair of headphones I will not be caught dead traveling without are the Bose noise cancelling headphones, they LITERALLY cancel out the noise on the airplane, allowing me to fully disconnect and either get some work done, catch up on a Netflix comedy special, or just pass out. I think investing in the right tech for travel is invaluable. Headphones are not just headphones, power for your smart devices literally can help you stay connected whether you’re trying to work on a project on your computer, or snap photos with your phone. Invest in the tech that will help you operate at your best!
- Airlines/Hotels/Perks/Memberships: This is a touchy one with lots of varying pieces of advice so I won’t pretend to be an expert. What I will say is this. Invest in Global Entry/ TSA Pre-check. These alone have helped save my ass countless times from just getting through security faster, to eliminating the nuisance of having to take my shoes off and electronics out of my bag. And for the record, if you do Global Entry you auto get TSA Pre-check, but it is more for global travelers vs TSA Pre-check is more for domestic travel. But it’s also good for 5 years so just take the time and go get it done, you’ll be so glad! Additionally, the way in which you travel and stay can make an impact. I realize not everyone gets to benefit by being loyal to one particular airline or hotel partner. For reference, I try to fly Southwest domestically and United for everything else. I for one, want my points, and two, I’ve learned how those airlines run and operate and it is just one less thing I have to think about. Regarding hotels, I try to stay at Westin’s wherever I can. I love that they are one of the first major hotel chains to really incorporate wellness whether it’s offering a more mindful approach to their menu with more vegan and gluten free options, to partnering with Peloton and TRX to offer those types of solutions for fitness already at the hotels. Another hack if you can’t choose the same hotel chain always is to book with things like Hotels.com where you can get points back that add up to free nights for you!
I make city maps for a lot of the cities I visit, in addition to top restaurants to check out, I also include fitness studios, sights and attractions to see, and healthy food spots as well- check out my list of With Shayda City Maps!