Early morning flights, late night arrival at hotels, dinner from the mini bar (gulp! we’ve all done it), conferences fuelled by coffee and carb loaded food… the list goes on. I lived this life for many years and it takes it toll. Took me a while to work out how to look after myself and I didn’t always stick to it.. but here’s my best 10 tips to keep you out of the mini bar!
1. PLAN, PLAN, PLAN for a healthy journey. Spend equal amounts of time on packing for your wellbeing as much as packing the right reports. It’s not being selfish at all. In fact, it will make you happier and hence more productive. Only stay at hotels that allow you to live well. You don’t need 5 star facilities to stay on track.
2. Create a “travel survival kit” that works for you. Commit to traveling with it. Don’t use it at home or you will have to reassemble it every time you pack for a trip. ie. favourite workout outfit, shoes, water bottle, heart rate monitor, resistance band, skipping rope, a few workout routines written down.
Trying to jam it all into a carryon bag and tempted to take your running shoes out? Don’t even think about it unless you are 100% committed to doing barefoot sessions such as yoga. You’ve just nixed your reason to get outdoors. Use the ten minutes wait at the baggage carousel to check your emails.
3. Join a group. Meet some new people. Look up Bootcamps, outdoor groups, yoga classes, running groups etc that accept drop-ins close to your hotel. Call them. Make a commitment. If you need one-on-one time to get you on track, find a local PT who will do an outdoors session for you near your hotel or workplace. Call them. Make a commitment.
4. Hit the ground running. At check in, ask the front desk for a map of local run/walk tracks. If the hotel staff doesn’t know, speak to the manager and ask them to get their act together! As soon as you get to your room, change your gear and head out for some exercise. If it’s late, do 30 mins of lunges, squats, pushups followed by stretching in your room. Early morning is always the best time to workout. Let it be known that it’s your time, don’t let anyone take it away from you. Sometimes it’s unavoidable because of travel times, but make up for it in the evenings if that’s the case.
5. You need your sleep. Hide the remote. Hotels make it easy to watch television from your bed. Don’t make it a habit.
6. Buy fruit. Have it in your car. Take it to your hotel room. Take it to the office. It’s your snack buddy and possibly a light breakfast rather than hotel buffets or muffins!
Staying for a few days? Go shopping. Resist the mini bar!! Find the closest supermarket and do a survival shop. Stock the hotel fridge with yoghurt, fruit, power bars. Anything that will stop you from the temptation of Pringles and Toblerone!
7. Swap the coffee travel mug for your sports water bottle. Take your water bottle from your “travel survival kit” everywhere. Hiring a car at the airport? You’re not ready to leave until the water bottle is in the drink holder. Think of it as an accessory; so treat yourself to something chic.
8. Socializing for work is important. However it can be a trap. No drinks before dinner. That’s your time to get out and get active. Limit the alcohol at dinner. Choose small portions. Best to “eat like a prince in the morning and a pauper at night” Big meals late at night are deadly.
10. Celebrate! Life is for living. Reward yourself for sticking to it. Whatever makes you happy…. book yourself in for a facial or a massage when you are on the road. Don’t wait until you get home. Business travel shouldn’t be about deprivation, make it work for you and the business.