7 habits for stress-free business travel

By Peter Economy | 

While the jet-setting business life is often romanticized in Hollywood films, the reality of business travel is often quite different. Late flights, canceled flights, overbooked airplanes, lousy food, long lines, lost hotel reservations, nonexistent taxicabs, and all sorts of similar problems are something every business traveler has experienced at least once in his or her life.

And there’s one thing you can be sure of: All these travel troubles lead to an awful lot of anxiety and stress.

The good news is there are many ways you can make your business travel less stressful. Give the following a try and see if your next trip isn’t a whole lot more relaxing — and enjoyable.

1. Take advantage of flight alerts.
Finally, a smartphone notification that’s actually useful: Travel alerts about flight delays or changes can help you avoid frustration at the airport and make your travel experience more enjoyable. Just last week I received an alert from Southwest Airlines that my son’s flight was going to be canceled because of bad weather in Chicago. As a result, I was able to immediately book him on a different flight for the same day before it sold out.

2. Avoid Monday morning flights. 
Don’t let yourself get a case of the Mondays. Mondays are, in general, a notoriously bad day to fly because every other businessperson in the world is trying to get somewhere on the same day. Try a Tuesday or Wednesday flight instead and enjoy a less-stressful airport and travel experience.

3. Keep an eye on the bottom line.
There are plenty of apps and online services available now to book flights, hotels, rental cars and more at the lowest possible costs — use them! And if you travel often enough, find a good corporate travel agent you can trust to get you the best possible deals.

4. Ship your baggage. 
Carrying a suitcase through the airport and then having to wait for it at baggage claim (and wondering if it’ll actually arrive) can be an unwanted and unnecessary pain. Avoid this headache by using a baggage shipping company that will ship your luggage to your destination (and back home). No more schlepping your heavy bags through the airport terminal and trying to jam them into an already-packed overhead storage space on the plane.

5. Give yourself extra time between connections — and in the airport.
I’m a huge fan of arriving at the airport at least an hour before my flight is supposed to take off to allow plenty of time to get through security and deal with any last-minute delays or disruptions. It beats worrying about missing your flight. I also make sure I have at least an hour or more between connections (more is better) in case my arriving flight is late. The last thing I want to do is run from one end of an airport to the other hoping I’m going to make my flight.

6. Make your health and well-being a priority.
Eat a healthy meal before you arrive at the airport and avoid buying junky candy and snacks in the gift shop. Most airports now have carry-on food options that are way healthier than anything you’ll be able to buy on your flight. Avoid people who are obviously sick — and use hand sanitizer liberally.

7. Don’t forget to hydrate.
Drinking water is something we may forget to do while we’re running around an airport trying to catch a flight, but we all need plenty of water to feel at our best. Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. You’ll feel refreshed while everyone else is irritable.

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