10 Travel Hacks to Help You Stay Sane
You know that moment when you wake up and for a moment you think you’re home? Then, a minute later, you realize that you’re actually far from home. Part of your brain kicks in at that point and says, Oh yeah, I’m traveling.
I travel so much as the CEO of GlassView — more than 200 days a year — that I’m losing that default frame of reference. My brain has gotten to the point where waking up in a strange place is the default.
This is a wonderful opportunity. I have seen all of the continents. I’ve done the tango in Argentina, seen Tokyo at dawn and haggled with vendors at open-air markets in Budapest. Traveling can also be a soul-crushing exercise that can feel like a form of punishment.
I’ve found you can’t sustain the wonder that you feel when you first travel. Your 15th trip to Australia isn’t going to be as fun as your first. But you can take steps to enjoy it as much as you can and stay sane in the process. Here are 10 hard-won tips for traveling a lot without losing your mind:
1. Keep the same schedule wherever you go. My schedule is admittedly extreme, but I get up at 4:30 or 5AM wherever I am and no matter when I came in the night before. Keeping a regular schedule helps your body adjust as quickly as possible to the new circadian rhythm of the place you’re visiting.
2. Build in personal time. No matter where I am, after I wake up, I do my hour-to-90-minute morning routine, which includes prayer, meditation and exercise. Both help to center you and get your body used to the new time zone.
3. Drink lots of water. Dehydration sneaks up on you. It can manifest itself in the form of a headache, nausea or just a general “off” feeling. Planes are dry places though. Cabins usually have a humidity level of 10–20% versus the standard 30–65% you typically find indoors. Airlines are stingy, so bring your own supply.
4. Don’t drink alcohol. I don’t drink, period. But I’ve seen how it can intensify the feelings of grogginess and disorientation that come after you exit a long plane flight. Alcohol also dehydrates you.
5. Get some sleep. Since I get up so early, I don’t really “do” dinners. I encourage business partners to meet me for lunch instead. Even if you get to sleep late though, try to at least give yourself a shot of getting seven or eight hours. You’ll feel a lot better the next day.
6. Take morning flights. If you want to cut your time waiting in lines, then take the early flight. Early morning flights have fewer delays. Lines also tend to build throughout the day.
7. If you’re flying to Europe or Asia, come in on Friday. This way you have the whole weekend to recover from the long flight and time zone changes.
8. Don’t watch movies or TV on the plane. Read a book or listen to a book on tape instead. I don’t always follow this. Recently, on a flight to Asia, I watched a few movies in a row. I got to my hotel room and was still very wired.
9. Bring your own food. Airline food is bad and bad for you. I load up with a huge breakfast and then bring a salad with me to eat on the flight.
10. Tell yourself it’s temporary. At least in my case, what keeps me sane is knowing that this phase of my life will come to a close at some point. I won’t be traveling like this forever. This helps me to appreciate my travel and put it in perspective.
No matter what, if you travel a lot there will be times you get the blues. It’s hard to be away from family and loved ones and embarking on another 15-hour plane flight can fill you with dread. If you’re traveling for business though, this goes with the job. On a personal level though, don’t waste this opportunity. You are visiting places that other people only dream about, even if it doesn’t always feel like a dream.