Photo by Frank Vex on Unsplash

Let’s face it: business travel can be stressful. Especially when it’s last-minute (an impromptu meeting you have to attend, for example), travel can be taxing and the circumstances surrounding it can impact your performance. 

Minimizing stress, therefore, is a wise investment. Here are four tips to help you reduce stress and make your business travel experience smoother and more enjoyable:

1. Remember that your health comes first

There’s nothing worse than getting sick when you’re travelling for business. You can ill afford spending a day or two missing meetings when you’ve travelled hundreds or thousands of miles to be there.

So after confirming your travel date, it’s a good idea to schedule an appointment with your doctor or clinic to have basic tests done. The doctor will clear you for the travel, depending on the condition you’re in. If you need to take any medication, make sure you have enough to cover the days you’ll be on your trip. It’s also important to get plenty of sleep before you travel, and have a few immunity-boosting supplements on hand. If you’re travelling to a more remote destination, know the best medical centre available in the country you are heading to, in case of an emergency. 

2. Avoid excess luggage

Packing light makes your life easier in a number of ways. It eases the strain on your back and shoulders when you’re traipsing through airports, and helps streamline your experience on trains, trams, buses, and other forms of transport.  

Of course you need the essentials, such as business cards, your laptop and phone chargers, and a memory stick. What you don’t need is too many items of clothing. Instead, invest in comfortable, foldable professional clothes that are made to be wrinkle-free, like these work pants for women that fit like yoga pants. Remember, too, that you can take advantage of laundry services at your hotel, and same-day drycleaning if you’re in a major city. Pare down to level up. 

3. Meet new people

Research shows that commuters are far happier when they talk to a stranger on their daily commute, rather than just reading the news on their phone (or other solo activities). 

The same goes for you. Loneliness is real, especially when you’re in a new place, and combating it is just as important to your health as eating healthy food. So talk to the person next to you on the airplane, or shuttle bus to your hotel. You might discover that the person is travelling for the same business conference as you, or that you have connections in common. Even knowing just one person in a room can substantially reduce the stress of being alone in a new place. This will also make your experience over the business trip more pleasant and rewarding.

4. Do your homework on the best places to stay

One of the major stressors business travellers face is booking accommodation in places that aren’t convenient. Before you book a hotel, gather information. Use customer-review sites to get a sense of what you’re in for. Take advantage of the local service people, as well — ask them about the area and what to expect. These can include taxi drivers or local security workers. Often, these people can be the best source of information on local restaurants and amenities near airports.

Travelling for work can be a source of stress, yes, but it can also be an exciting and uplifting opportunity to create new connections (with both places and people). Treat it as an adventure and be open to all kinds of opportunities coming your way.