Many of us are required to go abroad for work purposes from time to time. I know a lot of people that have traveled across the globe but never really got to enjoy it. They went from meeting room to meeting room, and the whole thing was a stressful experience. That’s a shame, though, as going abroad on any occasion should be an exciting one. There are ways and means of still getting to do the activities you enjoy, as well as sticking to the rigid schedule.
Knowing how to reduce your stress levels while having a good time is important, so let’s look at a few tips to help you.
STUDY THE PLAN DETAILS EXTENSIVELY
To try and eliminate stress as much as possible, you need to study the plan details ahead of time. You’ll normally get some kind of itinerary well before you leave the country. Every minuscule detail should be taken into account, from hotel room numbers to flight times. Not only do you want to make sure you’re ready for business matters, but study the country too! Find out where you’re going and what’s in the local vicinity to where you’re staying. That’ll give you a chance to plan your downtime activities instead of rushing around while you’re there. Understanding the plan is incredibly important.
CAN YOU WORK DURING THE FLIGHT?
Wherever possible, it’s a great idea to try and get some work done on the flight. If you know that the alternative is getting work done as soon as you’re off the plane, why not get it done now? The flight will likely be a long one, and there’s not a whole lot else you can do while you’re waiting to land. Unless you feel excessively tired, and you need some rest, this is as good a time as any to get the laptop out! Remember that you won’t be able to use the internet, so plan ahead of time for this. Download any cloud-based work to your hard drive so you can access it offline. Find work that you can do without needing a constant connection like responding to emails.
USE DELAYS WISELY
It’s a fact of life that many of us have to deal with flight delays from time to time. You can’t do anything if this happens to you, so don’t stress about it. Instead, use that time wisely. Inform others that your flight has been delayed before doing anything else. Then, think about how you can make the most of your free time. Maybe it’s a case of getting work done so you can relax later? You might even want to visit a restaurant at the airport and get a good meal. That’ll save you needing to do so later, and it’ll give you a boost of energy. Alternatively, you could even catch up on some much-needed sleep. Just don’t miss your flight.
TRAVEL LIGHT WHEREVER POSSIBLE
The last thing you want to deal with when traveling abroad is lost baggage. As a result, it’s best to try and travel as light as possible. If you can manage with hand luggage, that’s a big plus on your part. Still, that’s very difficult to do in many cases. Think about the amount of clothes you’re going to need. Remember that this is a business trip, and business wear might be a necessity to convey the right image. That said, you shouldn’t have to go over-the-top. Reevaluate your business dress and think about what you can leave at home. You can find some great info from The Alternative Daily about what you shouldn’t have to wear when it comes to work. Pack light and your trip should be a much easier one.
FIND ROOM IN YOUR SCHEDULE TO HAVE FUN
Who cares if you’re there for business? How many times will you get another chance to be in a different country? Business matters come first, but you won’t be forced to work and be in meetings all day every day! When you’ve got some downtime to yourself, use it wisely. You shouldn’t neglect things like getting proper sleep, but don’t just sit reading a book all night. There’s a time and place for that sort of activity, and you’ll regret not making the most of it if you waste your time. Discover the local attractions. Take plenty of photos and enjoy being somewhere different. You might only ever do this once.
GET A GOOD PAIR OF HEADPHONES
For occasions where you want to work on a plane, train or any other form of transport, noise can affect you greatly. Kids crying and loud chatting is enough to drive you insane! Once you get to the hotel, things can be even worse. Work being done on the roads is one thing, but noisy neighbors are something else. That’s why getting a good pair of headphones before you set off is crucial. You want some that can cancel noise and give you a way of getting your work done in peace. You can find these from all sorts of online retailers, and you’ll even find them in the airport if you wait until the last minute!
PREPARE FOR UNSEEN CIRCUMSTANCES
We’ve already mentioned some of the unforeseen circumstances you could face. What if your bags get lost? What if your hotel room isn’t ready? What if the flight is delayed? These are all possible outcomes that you need to be prepared for. In fact, you should schedule this into everything you do. Plan for all of these things to happen, and find a way to fit everything else into your intended schedule. Then, if you find that they don’t occur, you’ll have even more free time to get everything done. That eliminates the need for stress.
COULD YOU BRING FRIENDS OR FAMILY?
Some people opt to bring friends and family on business trips from time to time. It isn’t something that is done on a regular basis, but the circumstances might just call for it. Always make sure to check with your business before doing something like this. Having familiar faces around will help you to de-stress and remain calm. This isn’t a holiday, though. Make sure they know that before they start thinking you can spend all your time with them. You might be able to spend some time, but this is a business trip first and foremost. To avoid arguments, it needs to be perfectly clear that this is the case.
DON’T NEGLECT YOUR HEALTH
With the tight deadlines and stress of traveling, business trips can lead to a lack of healthy living. Don’t let that happen to you! It’s very important to eat a good meal rather than snacking on unhealthy foods. That will only solve a temporary issue, and it won’t make you feel good in the long run. Taking the time to sit down and eat a full meal will recharge your batteries in the evening. Similarly, don’t go overboard on the amount of alcohol you consume. Your business colleagues will surely ask you to go out with them in the evenings, but make sure you hold back on the drinking. This is a business trip, not a casual one.
FORGET THE TV
Listen, I love TV as much as anyone. I’m guilty of going abroad and watching TV far too much, and then regretting it afterward. It’s an addictive box of joy that is the easiest way to sit back and relax of an evening. You’re in a different country, though. What seems like ten minutes of television can turn into two hours, and suddenly, you’ve wasted all your free time. Instead, try and force yourself to stay away from that remote. If you can avoid the television, you’ll be amazed at how much more you can get done while you’re abroad. Go and explore the country while you’ve got the chance.
MAKE PLANS WITH BUSINESS COLLEAGUES – OR DON’T
It’s likely that your business colleagues will want to spend some time with you in the evenings. They might invite you to go out to eat, or go and watch a local sporting event! You should definitely take this chance to enjoy yourself if you feel that way inclined. On the other side of the scale, though, don’t feel pressurized. We’ve mentioned how this is a potentially once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience the country. Do what you want to do with your free time. Let your colleagues down gently if you’d rather have some alone time.
TALK TO OTHERS IF YOU’RE FEELING ANXIOUS
There are a vast number of people on this planet who are nervous travelers. It’s very difficult for them when they are with friends and family, and even harder in a scenario such as this. Some people don’t like the idea of being on their own in a foreign country, either. They haven’t got that immediate support system around them like they would when traveling with close friends. If this is the way you feel, reach out to other colleagues. You’ll find that the good ones will go out of their way to make you feel more comfortable. Don’t suffer in silence.
Follow these tips, and make your next business trip a successful one.