When travel is a big part of your job, there’s a certain amount of hustle involved in getting yourself from point A to point B, and sometimes it can feel like you’re on an endless treadmill of rushing to airports, wasting time in lounges, and spending way too many nights eating takeout on a hotel bed. Making a conscious effort to upgrade the whole business travel experience can seriously impact how you feel about your work-life, and make things feel much more civilized. Here are seven ways to make business travel less of a chore, and increase your happiness when on the road.

Have a standard packing list. Dumb as it may be, not packing that essential charger/ hip-flask/ the eye mask that always enables you to sleep anywhere can really be upsetting. By making a standard list of things you always need to pack, and either taping it to the inside of your case or having it in electronic form somewhere you know you’ll check, these minor annoyances will not ding your mood once you get to the hotel and realize you’ve forgotten them… again.

Be realistic about what you’ll get done in the air. ask yourself, am I really productive when my laptop is jammed against the seat in front of me? Or am I just creating a two-hour long frustrating nightmare where I don’t actually achieve anything? If that’s true for you, then know that the flight will be for sleeping/ watching a movie/ reading your book and enjoy that scarce time when you are disconnected. You’ll be more productive later for giving yourself a break to decompress on the flight.

Upgrade your travel tools. Still toting a busted-up carry-on or using the free earphones you got on a flight once? Treat yourself to stuff that will take away the little frustrations that come with using sub-standard equipment. Invest in a decent case that won’t have you cussing and swearing every time you need to zip it back up after security rifles through it, and splurge on proper noise cancelling headphones that will mean your flights are a much more civilized experience.

Plan for fun. If you know that you’ll have downtime wherever it is you are staying, then find something fun to do there in advance so you don’t just end up sat in the room watching Family Guy reruns during dead time. Search online for the best breakfast place in the city, or where you can do a pizza/ history/ architecture tour (or whatever floats your boat), or whether there’s a comedy festival etc happening. That way you can look forward to new cities instead of resenting the fact you have to go there.

Forget about loyalty programs. When you obsess over accumulating miles and extra nights, it stops you from experiencing different types of properties and airlines. Why not break from the mould sometime and stay in a fancier hotel in an area you’d like to explore, or get a flight on an airline that offers a better experience? Treat yourself occasionally, and be a happier business traveler because you did.

Take nice shampoo. Yes traveling light is great, and there’s always shampoo and conditioner in your hotel room, but let’s face it, sometimes the products in hotels are just horrible. Take travel sized quality shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel so that you feel more at home (and smell and look the way you prefer to).

Take fewer electronics. If you’re toting a tablet, smartphone, laptop and numerous other gadgets with you on every trip, then consider taking less in an effort not to weigh yourself down and potentially reduce the amount of time you spend glued to your devices. Constantly checking devices is stressful, and the more you have to hand the more likely you are to be constantly on them. Pick up a book, of the paper kind, to reduce your stress levels and actually increase your smarts, instead.


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