Productivity

5 Ways To Cope With Frequent Travel

 

I always thought that people who had to travel for work were super glamorous. That was until a few years ago, when I had to start travelling to Sydney from Melbourne at least twice a month and I realised that it’s not glamorous at all, it actually just really sucks. It’s time-consuming, tiring, expensive and really disruptive to my circadian rhythms. And my… erm… digestive rhythms. I just got back from another trip to Sydney, which has been my third interstate trip in three weeks and I’m really starting to loathe the sight of airport security who always seem to think I have a bomb packed in my bag. I think deep down we’re all creatures of habit and we need to develop a few coping mechanisms for those times when we’ve been away from our favourite pillows and our local supermarket for just a little too long. Here’s how to cope with frequent travel…

cope with frequent travel

Sleep On The Flight

I have a travel eye mask and the second I get on a flight and I’m settled in my seat, I pop my eye mask on and nap for the whole flight. Even if I’m not that tired, just having an hour or two of eyes closed rest in between manic packing and airport transfers makes a huge difference to travel days. You can buy cheap eye masks for about $6 at most airports which is a tiny investment for a few sneaky hours of fairly decent rest. I even use my inflatable neck pillow. I look like a total loser but I don’t care. It’s the perfect way to arrive relaxed and refreshed at your destination.

Never Eat Food At The Airport or On a Plane

I made a rule last month that I’m not allowed to eat anything at airports or on planes. Everything is loaded with sugar and salt and it’s also really expensive. I pack little boxes of almonds or dried fruit if I’m really desperate but other than that, I don’t go there. Most domestic flights are only a few hours long at most, which is a perfectly reasonable amount of time to go with out food. I’d just much rather wait and have a delicious meal when I arrive at my destination than feel disgusting from eating dried out airport sushi.

Avoid Checking In Your Luggage

Packing only carry on luggage is a major time saver. There’s nothing more frustrating than hanging around at the luggage carousel after you’ve been travelling for 3 hours straight. With a small carry on bag you can be out the door and first in line for a taxi in minutes.

Think of Your Needs When Choosing A Seat

If I’m in a rush, I request an aisle seat near the front of the plane. If I’m exhausted, I request a window seat so I can rest my head against the wall and have a decent snooze on the plane. Hot Tip: If you check in at the airport instead of online, they usually ask you what seat you’d like. Whereas if you book online, you often have to pay to select your seats. Just something to consider, especially if you’re a frequent traveller.

Avoid Alcohol

I know it’s hard but it makes all the travelling so much worse and your recovery time harder to cope with. If you have an event, stick to one or two glasses max and call it quits early. Try to avoid drinking on the plane as well. There’s something about trying to metabolize alcohol at 30,000 feet that just doesn’t seem to work for anyone.

Do you travel frequently for work? How do you cope with your hectic schedule?

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25 Comments

  1. Rebecca B. Bird 9 years ago

    Another tip regarding napping on the plane… bring earplugs! You never know when there’s going to be a screaming infant or loud talker seated near you. Eye mask + earplugs = actual chance of getting some rest

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      I always take ear plugs on long hauls and WISH I had taken on my last flight. Sqawking baby! 🙁

  2. Michelle... 9 years ago

    Oh yes!

    I bounce around NZ a lot (just back from a conference in Wellington this weekend) and these are awesome tips.

    My flights are often on a tiny, noisy plane so noise-cancelling headphones are an absolute must for me.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Noise cancelling headphones are very high on my list of things to buy!

  3. Madeline 9 years ago

    I started travelling two weeks out of four for work this year, and it’s taken a while to work out how to make it all slightly less painful. My number one tip is to buy a second set of stuff that just stays in your suitcase: phone charger, toiletries, glasses etc. I loathe packing, so this takes some of that pain away. I also bought lounge membership for the airline I fly most with, and it’s been the best few hundred dollars I’ve ever spent. Hanging around airports for hours before a flight sucks, but at least now I can hang around in a comfy chair with free wifi and food.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Mr Smaggle is a Qantas club member and it’s THE GREATEST THING IN THE WORLD!!! I’ll have to up my yearly turnover before I can afford it, but it will be at the top of list when I do!

      • Sally 9 years ago

        Only a couple of hundred to become a secondary member on his card. I refuse to be lounge-less without my husband!

  4. Alex Sangston 9 years ago

    OK, CJ, I’ve travelled domestically for at least once a week for the last 5 years.

    I can’t sleep on planes (even business class on long-haul), so keeping that in mind, here are my tips:

    1 – Have a permanently packed roll-on packed very light. No aerosols. Don’t take any toileteries that hotels will give you for free. Always carry panadol.

    2 – Never check in luggage (that’s the reason for 1)

    3 – Check in online beforehand. If you leave seat selection to the airport, you’ll get a bad seat.

    4 – Minimise transit time. If you have a lounge access (and if you’re a frequent domestic traveller you should), eat in the lounge. You’ll have to be in the airtport for at least 30 minutes anyway, so you might as well have a meal and sleep in for an extra 15 minutes.

    5 – Noise cancelling headphones (not ear-buds, the whole ear covering kind)

    6 – figure out which of your shoes don’t set off the metal detectors and wear them always

    7 – Routine is everything – Watch ‘Up in the AIr’, particualrly the scene where Clooney goes through security. That’s what you’re aiming for.

    8 – Save time at security – Put all metal items in handbag/roll-on/etc en route to airport, then transfer to jacket pockets pre-flight.

    8B – Anything that needs to be separately removed from your roll-on should be
    easily removed (and removed BEFORE you get to the conveyer). Ipads/tablets don’t need to be removed, just laptops and aerosoles (and you shouldn’t have any of those)

    9 – Guys: travel in a suit. It means you can pack very light and easily dressed up/down. Give your jacket to the flight attendant for hanging when you board.

    10 – Board early. On commuter flights, there are a lot of roll-ons jockeying for overhead lockers.

    Pet bug-bear. If you have to check in luggage, there is no need to stand right at the conveyer to pick it up. Stand back and move forward when your bag arrives.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Ha! I’m a huge conveyer hoverer! You’d HATE me! I’ve had to leave checking in till I get to the airport twice this month and got ace seats! If I book online I have to pay extra to choose a seat otherwise they allocate me a shit one. Interesting!

  5. Anonymous 9 years ago

    Oh my goodness these are all so key! I do short trips domestically all the time, 5 out of the next 6 weekends I won’t be in my city, and it can be so stressful! I’d also add buying little travel sized bottles of luxe shampoo & body wash to make packing so much easier & to feel a bit more glamorous on trips, and to keep up to date with your laundry & housework during the time you are actually at home, again packing is so much easier when everything is organised & clean, but when you get home you feel much less overwhelmed by everything that needs catching up on because you’ve been away.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Mr Smaggle made me pack my stuff away the second I got home last night and while I had a little grumble about it I’m so glad he did!

  6. Nikki | Styling You 9 years ago

    I now always have a toiletry bag packed and ready to go with skincare and makeup so I don’t have to pack and unpack each trip. The eating thing is a good one – there is so little GF wise on any of the airlines. The only food that I do at airports are Sumo Salads (the Sydney one you can specify and create your own) and sushi (Sydney airport again, you can get brown rice sushi). Flying in and out of the Sunshine Coast it’s generally around lunch time, so if I don’t factor that in then often don’t get food until dinner.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Got the make up tip twice! Good one! Sumo salad is pretty bloody good actually. Well played Sydney airport.

  7. cilosophy.blogspot.com 9 years ago

    good tips from you and the readers.
    Agree ++ re lounges.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      I’ve never been a member myself but travelling with Mr Smaggle is always awesome! Gold qantas member!

  8. drstumpy 9 years ago

    I always listen to a guided mediation on my iPhone. Even if you don’t sleep it blocks out the noisy baby and you do feel more rested.

    • drstumpy 9 years ago

      Opps I mean meditation…. mediation less relaxing

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Ha! Yeah, guided mediation would not be very fun!

  9. Rachel Pierce 9 years ago

    While I’m not a regular traveler, I have moved cross country a few times and still manage to ride on my dad’s coat tails occasionally as he’s a frequent flier and an American Airline platinum member. (Jezz, I sound like a spoiled brat, I swear I’m not)

    Always pack carry-on. I’ve even done long (think 2 months) trips in carry-ons and it’s a beautiful thing. Until you get on an international flight and they make you check it anyway. 😛

    My other big thing is being ready for security. I use time spent waiting in line to take off my shoes and get out my ID, mentally prepare myself for as much speed as I can manage when it comes for my turn at the conveyor belt.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      Also don’t wear ten thousand metal bracelets that need removing! Put your jewellery in a little case in your handbag and put them on after you’ve gone through secruity!

  10. Carla 9 years ago

    Argh! Your seat selection tip has just saved my life! I am endlessly frustrated with waiting when I just want off the plane, and could do with a nap on flights home, this is perfect! Booking with work means always choosing a seat for free in advance, also, which is wonderful. THANK YOU.

    • Author
      Smaggle 9 years ago

      It makes such a big difference depending on what you need at the time! x

  11. I used to fly to Sydney for work on a regular basis and my husband thought it was glamorous. Now he is the one doing the travelling for work and he has quickly realised how very unglamorous it really is. I agree on the carry on luggage and great advice on avoiding the crappy airport food – always leaves me feeling horrible.

  12. Imogen 7 years ago

    I pause to collect my bags from the security conveyer belt to let others past me for the bomb/chemical screening people, once they’ve all been stopped, I then walk on right past. I have always been a magnet for being stopped here. It does require some luck and being well-timed.

  13. Tan 7 years ago

    I’m a security check magnet too..I now offer up myself for the check as I figure eventually karma will reward me – so if you see a late 40 plus female at Melbourne, Sydney or Gold Coast airports looking quite happy having her bags checked- that will be me! You’re welcome

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