According to Tourism Economics’ latest business travel Q2 ’22 survey, “81% of US business travelers expect to take at least one trip to a conference, convention or trade show in the next six months.” And every one of those trips is likely to have stressful situations that you’ll have to deal with—from lost luggage to canceled flights, not to mention the added stresses of everyday life.
This guide will help you prepare for your upcoming trip so you can manage your stress levels, reduce anxiety about your trip, and have a better time overall! We know a thing or two about de-stressing business travel so you can reduce burnout and maximize employee productivity.
Why is business travel so stressful?
Business travel can be exciting, but it can also be stressful—especially when you have international travel, multiple connecting flights, and a tight schedule. All of these things can affect your well-being. And if you’re already prone to workplace stress, it’s important to be prepared in advance to manage travel anxiety so you can take care of your mental health and keep stress levels low. You can experience a lot of stress when you travel, so read on to learn how to reduce stress when traveling for business. Here are some potential sources of stress you may encounter when traveling for business:
- You have a middle seat for the entire 10-hour trek, because you haven’t been able to choose your own seat and your back is already hurting thinking about it.
- You may lose your luggage, but more likely the airline will lose your luggage.
- You may not be adequately prepared for the additional costs of airport, hotel and travel to work, so keep these costs in mind as well.
- Your flight may be delayed or canceled and you may miss an important meeting.
- You may have to call customer service or stand in long lines that can take a long time to resolve a business travel-related issue.
- Your expenses and booking process can be a pain.
- There may be a problem with your hotel booking.
And these are just a few things that can go wrong. Stress management during travel is an important way to reduce travel anxiety and protect mental health. Employees need to be rested, well fed and at their best when arriving at the office or client meeting. We’ll cover self-care strategies and best practices for business travel. Read on for ways to manage stress levels before, during, and after your trip.
Combating stress and anxiety during business travel
The best way to deal with all these key-ifs and protect your mental health is to be prepared before, during and after your business trip. We’ll describe some of the best ways to deal with stress during your travels. Here are some top tips on how you can reduce stress levels and anxiety during business travel:
Ways to Manage Stress Levels During Business Travel (Before You Go)
- Make sure you pick your airline seat in advance and book early so you get the seat you want.
- Get a good night’s sleep before your trip, especially if you have an early flight
- Pack an extra carry-on bag containing toiletries and an extra piece of clothing in case your checked luggage gets lost.
- If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you have chargers and adapters for all your electronics.
- Map out your travel itinerary so you have a good idea of how long each leg of the trip will take.
- Pack snacks in your carry-on! This will save you time standing in line and also help you reduce your expenses.
- Download relevant travel apps and keep contact information readily available in case of any problems during travel.
Ways to manage stress levels and protect your well-being while you travel
- Snap photos of receipts as you go, or upload them while shopping during your travels.
- Make time for self-care while stretching on your flight, drink lots of water or use a sheet mask on your face (trust us, do it!) We don’t recommend painting your fingernails on the plane, but when you’re traveling and A little self-care can do wonders when battling those stress hormones.
- Get some physical activity! Find a gym or take advantage of a morning walk before starting for the day. Regular exercise gives you endorphins and lowers cortisol levels, which will boost your mood and combat stress and anxiety. Too much cortisol can also have a negative effect on your nervous system.
- Drink tons of water! In fact, keep a reusable water bottle with you everywhere on your trip. Airports have water fountains where you can easily refill your water bottle.
- Try to eat as close to your normal diet as possible and avoid fast food.
- Try breathing exercises! Use deep breathing techniques or meditation when you feel your stress levels starting to rise, as these are tried and true relaxation techniques for managing stress. This is another great way to lower cortisol levels, which increase blood pressure, heart rate, and release the stress hormone.
- Check-in with emails at work to stay on top of changes so you don’t have to do so much when you return to the office or your home office.
- Take lots of notes and summarize what you were able to do on this trip.
Ways to manage stress levels after your business trip
- Make your expenses as soon as possible so that you can pay quickly.
- Be sure to exercise regularly after your trip, as it helps manage stress.
- Write down what stressed you about this trip, so you can take proactive steps to avoid it the next time you travel for business.
- Don’t rush back home and back to work. If you can, work from home one day before returning to the office.
- Leave hotel reviews if you can, especially if it’s a favorite of your employer as it helps your colleagues know if it’s a good place to stay, taking the pressure off them.
- Share notes and summaries of what work has been completed with clients and relevant colleagues. This is especially nice if you attend a conference, so you can share new ideas and how to apply them to your business with your colleagues.
What employers and employees can do business travel less stressful
In addition to providing feedback about the travel experience with your employer, you can also bring up areas where you think they can improve. For example, the current travel program your business uses doesn’t have a great app and makes it difficult to submit expenses during your travel.
Or maybe they don’t offer enough flight types, so you’re stuck with two connections on what should have been a direct flight. That’s why you should look for a business travel platform with flexible options and a large inventory. For example, TravelPerk, the leading travel management platform, is the world’s largest bookable collection of low-cost flights, boutique hotels, Airbnb, trains and more – all bookable through a single app with the best user experience. Here are some other things employers can do to make business travel less stressful:
- Allow employees to self-book travel (TravelPerk’s app allows this feature.)
- Set automated rules in travel programs to make travel policies easy to understand and adhere to
- Use a travel program that has 24/7 support with real-time chat feedback so your employees can get quick help while traveling (without bothering the travel manager!).
- Encourage employees to seek additional health care or help if they find business travel too stressful. They may have an anxiety disorder or other health complications that need to be checked out.
How TravelPerk can help you manage and protect yourself from stress mental health the time business travel
There are many things you can do individually to relieve stress and anxiety while traveling for business, and we hope you’ll find that using the right travel management program can help reduce stress, too! Dissatisfied with your current travel program? TravelPerk is a stress-free business travel platform with 24/7 real-time support, great integration with the tools your company already uses, and a smooth user interface to simplify and simplify travel booking and management.