This article was originally published on EventMB & reprinted here with permission.
Does traveling always seem to stress you out? Don’t forget that you are an amazing #eventprof! Unpack those skills and do a little planning to make traveling smooth and enjoyable!
Plan to Stay Healthy
Whether it’s watching what you eat, drinking more water, conquering the ever-elusive hotel fitness center, or doing it all, plan to stay healthy when you travel. It’s tough to stay healthy when traveling. Your routines change. Your exercise habits change. Your eating habits change. Your stress levels change. While these changes are inevitable, they do not have be negative changes.
Begin with some pre-planning and pack your workout clothes and shoes, or even a swimsuit. By planning to work out (and hopefully continuing the routine you already have at home), it will motivate you to actually do it while you are out on the road. Just like at an event, you sometimes have to roll with the punches. Think of the change in routine to mix up your workouts and do something different. If running is your thing, use the travel as an excuse to run a new route or try the hotel treadmill. If you like the pool, find some time to take in a few laps at the hotel.
Regardless of how you exercise, a quick 30-minute workout will keep you motivated and “in the groove” for when you get back home.
Don’t Forget To Plan For Yourself
Just as you need to plan for yourself and your staff at an event, you also need to plan for yourself while traveling. When traveling, eating habits are easily altered. When all of your habits change, your body can easily freak out and revolt a bit. To keep up your positivity and have the mental fortitude to roll with the punches (in other words - so you don’t get cranky!), pack some healthy snacks with you. Whether you need a little boost or a snack to hold you over until you land at the next airport, bringing healthy snacks will be much more beneficial than jumping for the $10 candy bar in the hotel mini bar!
Water is also important to remember! To keep your body regular and healthy, especially while traveling, you need to make sure to hydrate yourself properly. While you can’t bring your own water from home on a plane, you can plan to purchase a water bottle in the airport instead of that large coffee or soda. Water can also help prevent jet lag! Packing an empty, refillable water bottle to have with you once you arrive at your destination can also help you stay in control of your hydration.
If you are traveling with family, take them with you! Use your traveling as a reason to explore the city around you for new adventures.
Plan to Have Fun (and be comfortable)
Don’t let traveling stress you out. Regardless of where you are going, or why you have to be there, plan ahead of time to make it fun! You’ve already packed your workout clothes, so go ahead and add some comfy clothes, too. You may need to use a slightly larger suitcase to fit extra clothes, but it will totally be worth it. If you are traveling on business, be sure to pack some casual clothes as well. If all you have are dress clothes, you will be less to likely to explore the city during any downtime.
Take some time to pre-plan and investigate the city you are traveling to. If you know your schedule before hand, you can pre-schedule in some down time at local parks or museums. If you find that making restaurant choices are difficult and cause disagreements, review the area restaurants before you go and choose the ones you want to try. Depending on the restaurant, you may even be able to make reservations. If you end up in a busy tourist spot, use a little pre-planning and event planner savvy to navigate the area with ease, avoiding the pitfalls that the typical “tourist” falls into. You understand how people act. You understand how people react. You understand how people think. You understand egress and ingress. Don’t simply follow the crowd. Use your event superpowers for good!
Plan to Stay Connected
Traveling often forces a disconnect with friends and family. In a previous post, we talked about ways to include your family into your event professional life. Once you have found the best methods that work for you and your family, take an inventory of your personal “tool box” and ensure that you can keep up those connections while you travel. There are lots of different ways to stay connected with your family. My family uses a shared calendar to keep us all on track, as well as messaging apps and video calls to stay connected. Sometimes, a quick 5-minute “Goodnight, I love you” call can make a huge difference in my day! There are plenty of messaging and videoing apps to choose from in the various stores. Different time zones can make things difficult, but with some clear guidelines, expectations, and communication, it can make traveling much more enjoyable.
Be sure to check your data plan before you leave. Keep in mind that you will not be on your normal WiFi networks and could eat through your data quickly. Even though most hotels and venues have WiFi, you often have a stronger (and sometimes more secure) connection by using your data plan instead. You may need to upgrade your data plan for a month or two to avoid excessive data overage charges. If you are traveling out of the country, be sure to check with your carrier to see if your phone can even be used, and what you may need to do to to update your device.
As you use all of your devices, don’t take power for granted! You won’t always have access to power outlets, so make sure you stay charged up! Some airlines have power outlets under the seats (I love this!), but many don’t. Be sure to pack battery chargers for your devices to extend the battery life to last the entire flight! Since it is a rare miracle to find an empty outlet that is not being used in a hotel room (and that you can actually reach!), I always pack a power strip in my luggage. Having to only find one plug, and charge all of my devices, makes things so much easier! If you are traveling out of the country, be sure to plan and pack the appropriate power adapters. Make charging up a nightly routine to ensure the next day goes smoothly once you need all of your devices. (Unless you are off to an exotic island paradise. Then turn the phone off.)
Plan for the Unexpected
When unexpected issues arise during traveling, remember to stay calm about it. Just like a normal event, unexpected “bumps” may happen. Take a step back to analyze what is happening and begin to troubleshoot. Use you event planner skills and knowledge to solve the problem, just as you would do for a client. If the situation is out of your control, look on the bright side and improvise. If you are stuck in the airport an extra few hours, accept that there is nothing you can do about it, and make the most of your time. Use your planning skills and improvise activities to entertain yourself (or your family if they are with you).
You are an #eventprof. You are awesome. Just because you are traveling and not in event-mode does not mean you are no longer a planner. While taking a break from planning can be nice, sometimes it can also be refreshing to use your superhero powers for yourself. Remember that you are the boss this time and can adapt with the best of them! With some simple planning, traveling can become much more enjoyable, and could even become a fun adventure!