No matter how desirable the job does or how stimulating the destination you are going to, traveling for work can be truly challenging. The airport-to-plane-to-hotel slog will eventually wear you down, as it is not easy to navigate a strange city or live out of a suitcase when you are on your own.
You can ask anyone who has traveled for work: it is not as glamorous as it may seem. While it is true that at times you get to explore new spots, meet remarkable people, and rack up flyer miles for your personal vacations. The fact is that you are also yanked out of your usual comfortable routine, spend a lot of time standing in airport lines, and while away you will be miles away from the people who know you well. Thus, the initial excitement can wear off very easily—and many lone worker travelers are left feeling rather lonely.
A study carried out in 2015 found out that there are several costs— psychological, social, physiological, and emotional —to frequent lone worker travelers. The study calls this the “dark side of hypermobility.” In the study, fifty percent of the respondents stated that the most stressful consequence of being away is missing their families.
The prospect of your first business trip as a lone worker might seem intimidating. You will also need to deal with the additional stress of going through airport security and navigating a new city by yourself, and you will be facing any potential setbacks all by yourself.
If you miss that important meeting with your client because you got lost, it will be solely your responsibility to handle. If your airline loses the luggage, you might end up needing to wear whatever you had on in the plane.
However, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way. Traveling as a lone worker also presents an enviable chance to see new places on the company dime. With an open mindset and some thorough planning, you will be astonished by what you can actually discover with a few hours between client meetings. But how? While potential hazards or small threats may arise while traveling alone for work, most obstacles can be reduced or avoided altogether thanks to some planning.
Schedule and plan what you want to do in your free time
Spice up an otherwise dull trip with just one bright spot at least. Get some recommendations in advance for an excellent restaurant and book a table. Stay at an amazing hotel. Or make an extra effort to see that old friend in town.
Assess downtime and plan accordingly
First of all, assess the available downtime. In case you are traveling somewhere new for a few weeks, you definitely want to give yourself a schedule of how you will be spending your time, particularly during weekends, so that you don’t end up sitting in your hotel room working—the fact is that this can end up happening easily.
Anticipate health issues
It is of the utmost importance to plan for illness – particularly when traveling to foreign countries. When planning for overseas trips, speak with your doctor and find out about water safety and potential foodborne illnesses at the city and country that will be your destination. Make sure also to arrange it with your company so that they can provide you with a lone worker tracking device, so in the event of anything would happen, they can keep track of your whereabouts.
Being away from friends, family and your usual routine are hard at times. Coordinate with your beloved ones so that you can connect with them through Skype or WhatsApp while you are traveling. In case you are traveling overseas and do not plan to pay for roaming or data plans, WhatsApp itself is the perfect tool for texting or calling over Wi-Fi.
Do not work from your hotel room
It is very tempting at times to stay squirreled up in your room while wearing your pajamas, but it’s definitely better to get out as much as you can. If your accommodation doesn’t offer co-working premises, accommodate yourself in the hotel lobby or find a local coffee shop.