Growing up, my dad traveled for work, a lot. I’d always look forward to him coming home. He’d usually be wearing a suit, and I’d rush the door looking for the presents he certainly brought me which usually included a few bars of chocolate and a bag of honey roasted peanuts from the airline. Only after I began traveling for work did I realize that my dad was certainly exhausted after every trip. Spending 5 days on the road and coming back to house chores and rowdy kids is not so awesome.
Today, I travel 80%+ of the time. There are certainly some perks to it. I have elite airline status, I never wait in security lines (TSA Pre-Check is worth every penny) and I have enough rewards points to stay with Marriott for 30 free nights. I’ve also seen more of Americana than most and have eaten some seriously epic meals in great cities. That’s the glamour part of traveling for work and I can’t deny, the perks are excellent, but it comes at a cost.
1. You will be exhausted almost always. I took 10 flights in 5 days last week. Airplanes will sap the lifeblood out of you.
a. Do NOT drink booze or sugary drinks on planes. Avoid the salty snacks. Just drink water. When you get to the hotel, stretch your lower back and legs. Roll our your neck and shoulders in big circles.
2. Your digestive system will be changed forever. Kiss mom’s home cooking goodbye. Imagine eating out for EVERY SINGLE MEAL. It’s fun at first and then it sucks. Nowadays, I will drive 30 minutes out my way to find some kale.
a. I always ask for a minifridge in the hotel and instead of eating out, I’ll stop at a grocery store and get some pre-packaged salads and fresh proteins. The Sushi at Whole Foods is pretty good. I load up on nuts and fruit.
3. It’s lonely. Sure you'll be with clients and colleagues, but you always have to be on your game. You'll start to miss your family and friends. The social sacrifice is real. Depending on how much you travel, you may lose touch with life at home. Don’t ask me to turn on the A/C at my home. I don’t know how to…because I’m never home.
a. Make time to video chat your family and friends at home. It helps to see faces. If you travel to the same place often, look for meet-up groups to get to know your fellow traveler. Internations.com is great for that.
4. You will get out of shape, really fast. You will be sitting too much, eating too much and always craving comfort. For me, comfort is really bad (but tasty) food. If I see a Chik-Fil A, In-n-Out, Wendy’s, Carl’s Jr, 5 Guys or Raising Cane’s, it’s like a moth to a flame. I can’t resist. What’s worse is hotel gyms rank up there with airport bathrooms and baggage claim. No one looks forward to a great workout at the hotel gym.
a. Keep some healthy snacks on you at all times. Most of the time, I veer towards fast food b/c I’m starving and it’s super convenient. If you get really hungry, chow down on that protein bar to curb you until you can get a good meal. Look for alternatives to the hotel gym that allow you to experience the destination. Ask the concierge for a running map and get outdoors. A little sweat and sun goes a long way.
5. When you get home, life still goes on. You don’t have the luxury of just chilling out and sleeping in. Everything you left at home on Monday is waiting for your return on Friday.
a. I got nothing. I’m still figuring this one out!
Although this sounds pretty negative, it’s actually a fair reality for the life of the frequent business traveler. So if you are thinking about taking that job as a consultant, sales person, or the like be sure to understand the pro’s and con’s of life on the road before taking the plunge.
See you on the road!
The Sweat Social Team