Health and Wellness

Plan A Stress-Free Business Trip

Traveling on business can be a great job perk, but it doesn’t come without its share of stress. From last-minute arrangements to getting lost (and being late for a meeting), there are many variables that could account for a snag in your plans. Here are some foolpoof tips to help you prepare for and enjoy your next business trip!

1) Travel Early In The Day

Early flights are less likely to be delayed, and you’ll end up at your destination with time to tackle whatever job lies ahead.

2) Be Prepared

Give yourself ample time to prepare for your day; remember, you’re in an unfamiliar place with its own unique pace. Arrange for a cab or car service to meetings the previous day so there’s no last minute planning to be done. Familiarize yourself with your hotel’s location, with attention paid to any meeting areas you’ll be visiting, as well as places to dine with and entertain clients.

3) Take Care

Nothing derails your daily schedule like a cold. Be pro-active – stay hydrated, get some exercise, and wash your hands regularly.

4) Use Your Free Time Wisely

Enjoy your down time by sightseeing; business trips can be taxing on your nerves, and the best way to unwind is by taking a long walk and taking in the sights. Book a massage at your hotel to clear your head, or purchase tickets to a show for an evening of relaxation.

5) Don’t Overconsume

Wining and dining is usually part of a business traveler’s itinerary, but too much revelry can leave you feeling sluggish and unproductive. Getting a good night’s sleep and delivering a professional, memorable presentation will be more impressive to your host than going overboard on a night out.

6) Stay In Touch During Your Travels

Brightroam recently launched its new USA SIM Card and USA Cell Phone Bundle, making it easier for you to call, text or surf the net from anywhere in America. Save up to 87% on voice and 97% on data every time you use your Brightroam SIM or Cell Phone!

Keep your passport safe

Last week I almost lost my passport while in Las Vegas and I thought it would be handy to offer up a few tips I’ve heard over the years on keeping your passport safe while you travel.

1. On route – don’t let your passport out of your sight! Don’t let the hotel front desk or tour company take your passport away to photocopy it without knowing where they take it. Don’t leave your passport sitting on your seat on the airplane when you walk to the washroom. Don’t turn away from your bag while looking for cash or reading a map. Keep your passport with you at all times when traveling from departure to arrival.

2. Keep a copy at home! Passports can get stolen or lost no matter how hard you try to keep track of them. Keeping a copy of your passport at home will ensure that you have the information in a safe place just in case you misplace it while on the move.

3. Share your secrets! Make sure someone you trust has access to that photocopy in your home or a digital copy on your PC so that they can send you the information if needed.

4. Better yet – travel with a photocopy! If you lock your passport in a safety deposit box at a hotel or local post office while traveling, carry a photocopy with you at all times. That way if anything happens, you have the information immediately on hand.

Good luck and safe travels.

Environmentally Friendly Hotels

Recently I was stuck in Boston for three days in a snow storm and I stayed in a hotel that won numerous awards for its “green policy”. It’s great to see that environmentally conscious hotels and resorts are popping up across the globe. Some of them go all out like the ones included in the Forbes Traveler article 10 Best Luxury Eco-resorts but for the rest of us, here are some other good things to look out for.

An environmentally sound hotel may include:

  • The ever-polite request to hang your used towels on the towel rack if you intend to use them more than once. Plus, the request to use your bed linens for more than one night. This saves the amount of water the hotel needs to use to change the linens in every guest room, every day.
  • Shampoo and moisturizer dispensers in the rooms save the environment from the thousands of little plastic bottles that they used to be packaged in.
  • Individual recycle bins in guest rooms for bottles and plastics
  • Room lights that are activated by the room key so that they are shut-off when the room is unoccupied

Hotels are also more eco-friendly if they purchase products and foods locally and take into account the surrounding environment in their architecture and style. Check out these websites to see some hotel chains that are making a difference:

Government travel advisories

How seriously should we take government travel advisories? I think it depends how familiar you are with the places you travel. I am always apt to check advisories for places I have never visited and of those that I know have whacky weather or political strife. Travel advisories offer information on important travel issues such as crime, security, laws, customs, entry requirements and health conditions.

If you aren’t on top of it, entry requirements can change in a heartbeat, like new airport fees or passport restrictions. I was just researching a trip to the Dominican Republic and discovered that upon arrival you are required to purchase a $10 USD tourist card when going through immigration. There is not a bank machine and they don’t take credit, so if you don’t have $10 USD in cash, you’re out of luck. Definitely a tidbit worth knowing.

Health checks are always a must, especially if you are traveling to regions with limited health care or unique diseases that you only hear about on late night TV documentaries. This website, Global Health Map, uses Google Map technology to pinpoint all sorts of health issues. It is very up to date, often more so than the official government sites.

At the end of the day, be smart and safe, don’t throw cash around or eat food off a dirty counter.

Government Travel Advisory Sites

Get over it, jetlag tips

Your eyes are burning, feet swollen, legs sore – yup, it’s been a long flight and now you have to suffer through jetlag. Jetlag can include tiredness, dehydration, disorientation, swelling of limbs, colds and flu. From a three hour to 13 hour time difference jetlag is a reality.

According to Wikipedia, “When traveling across a number of time zones, the body clock goes out of sync with the destination time, and so it experiences daylight and darkness contrary to the rhythms to which it has grown accustomed. Jet lag occurs because the body cannot immediately realign these rhythms.”

So how do you get your body back in sync? Like everything else, it will entirely depend upon the individual. If you’re a teenager who can drink all night and still get up at 8AM for class, well chances are your clock is off track anyhow. But if you are like the rest of us, try some of these tips:

The British Airways Jetlag Advisor

This is a nifty little tool BA has created to help determine what your sleep patterns are, what time it is in your hometown vs. where you are staying and what you need to do to set your clock right. It depends highly on the theory that jetlag is primarily caused by daylight and darkness. Test out the BA Advisor.

Adjust your in-flight experience

This is by far my favourite solution and is recommended on many travel website. Rob from the Gorp exert advice panel recommends you set your watch to the time of your destination as soon as you board and adjust what you do on the place to match it. For example, if it’s midnight when you board and will be morning when you arrive then sleeping the whole flight will align your clocks better. If the opposite is true, then stay awake for as much of the flight as you can. It is also recommended you align your meals to your destination time. Read full article.

Take a pill

There is a drug for everything. No-Jet-Lag is a homeopathic remedy, a herbal tablet developed in New Zealand that remains popular. Simply chew one tablet before take-off and again at landing. Visit No Jet Lag to find out more.

All about wrinkles. Pack, steam and hang your clothes

I hate ironing. I hate it so much that I actually only have an iron in the house for when my mother comes to visit. However when you travel a long distance with your clothes stuffed in a bag, even the most wrinkle free clothing needs help. Here are some of tried and true methods for keeping your clothes wrinkle free when you travel:

Shower steam it

I’ve seen this many times and it works wonderfully for shirts and dresses. Simply hang your outfit in the bathroom while you take a shower and leave it in there for a short while afterwards with the door shut until the steam subsides. The steam from the shower will help work out any wrinkles or folds in your outfit. This is a simple and practical way to quickly give your outfit a fresh look.

Travel steamer

While the shower steam method is simple and convenient, it doesn’t work out all wrinkles. If you are very determined to eliminate all wrinkles, a Hand held Travel Steamer might be right for you. These handy tools fit nicely in your suitcase and offer you excellent control to work out wrinkles and refresh your clothes on the road. Here are two popular ones:

The hotel iron

Still the most effective is the hotel iron. Most hotels have irons in the room or certainly in housekeeping. Ironing is a pain but there is no question it works.

Hang your clothes

One of the best things you can do when you arrive at your destination is hang your clothes! The sooner you take them out of your suitcase and let them hang, the better they will look when it’s time to wear them.

Pack Smart

Keep your clothes in good shape by packing them right. Check out these handy websites for packing additional tips: