I see travel as a huge privilege; it exposes us to new perspectives, cuisines and scenery; it expands our horizons. But there’s no doubt that hours spent sitting on planes, trains and in cars take their toll on our bodies and our minds. In my role at Reebok, it’s rare for me to spend an entire week in the UK head office, which I call ‘home’.

Adi Dassler, founder of the adidas brand, once said, “Be creative, independent and take responsibility for your actions,” and being responsible for our health and well-being on the road is crucial to the service of our athletes and partners globally.

I found that, most often, strenuous travel situations fall into three categories: sleep, food and exercise (body and mind). Here are my go-to strategies for coping with each of them.

Sleep

©iStockphoto.com/fizkes
  • Spend time winding down in the same way you would at home. Whether it’s reading, listening to music, etc., try to avoid electronics 20 mins before bed to switch off your mind.
  • Lavender spray in a travel size bottle can help you relax if you find it difficult to sleep away from home.
  • Hotel chains work really hard to make sure each of their hotels creates the same experience, from the mattresses they use, to the scent they put in the air freshener. If you are able to stick to a particular hotel chain, familiarity will help you drift off more quickly.
  • Overnight flights can be the worst culprit for travel woes. Wear comfy clothes with layers so that you can adjust to any temperature. Put your seatbelt on the outside of your blanket no matter what – there is nothing worse than being woken up by an air steward just trying to keep you safe by checking your seatbelt.
  • Invest in the best noise-cancelling headphones you can afford, you won’t be disappointed.

Food

Preparation is everything! If I know I will be on the road for a long time, I will have food with me for when I arrive late at hotels, get caught out between service stations or for when I’m just plain starving. ©iStockphoto.com/kupicoo
I carry tupperware with me everywhere, I recommend something that stacks or something with a really good lock! Tupperware means you can take advantage of breakfast buffets for to-go snacks. ©iStockphoto.com/anakopa
Try to cultivate colleagues and friends with a similar mindset on food and drink. It’s much easier to make good decisions as a team. ©iStockphoto.com/SolisImages
Limit your treats while you’re away. Denmark might have the best pastries in the world, but wait until Saturday morning, savor and enjoy it over a coffee, rather than indulging every morning at the breakfast buffet. ©iStockphoto.com/mediaphotos
Avoid alcohol as much as possible. A lime & soda gives the appearance of indulging but without the hangover. ©iStockphoto.com/bhofack2
A refillable water bottle not only saves the environment, one plastic bottle at a time, but will ensure you always have water with you on the road. When I’m travelling to hot places where I know I will be outside a lot I always carry re-hydration salts with me. You can get them from most supermarkets and they are much better than heat-stroke, that’s no fun at all. ©iStockphoto.com/Leonardo-Patrizi
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 Body and Soul

  • In the morning, try to do some form of exercise. I like to train in the morning because I can’t be distracted. No one is going to call a spontaneous meeting at 7am, but 7pm can be different. This is infinitely easier if you’ve played the fool-them-with-lime-and-soda game!
  • If you’re a CrossFitter then use www.map.crossfit.com to discover new places to train and meet people. As a courtesy, always email/phone ahead to ask their drop-in policy, do their workout of the day, THEN do your own extra work if you want to, be a part of their community, cheer for others as if they were in your own gym.

Being on the road is not an excuse for not exercising; it’s just an opportunity to get creative.
  • Spend 10 minutes sitting quietly by yourself, without your phone in order to recharge your thoughts for the rest of the day.
  • Spend 10 mins, half a day or as much time as you can spare learning about where you are. Learn one new thing that makes you more interested in where you are, and then tell someone else what you’ve learned. Taxi drivers, doormen, restaurant owners, tour guides all have so much to say. Try these simple questions I’ve found to be really effective at teasing out information:
    • “What’s it like to live here?”
    • “What do you like to do when you’re not working?”
    • “Where does everyone always go?”
    • “Can you recommend somewhere for [dinner/drinks/lunch/a walk]?”
    • “I’ve got [an amount of time], what should I not go home without seeing/doing?”

No matter what industry you’re in or where you’re headed, I hope these tips can help you re-energize, re-fuel and recharge for the most successful trip possible!

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4 COMMENTS

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by Basar 31.08.2016
Great article and very useful tips! I will adopt them in due time. Thanks.
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by Ellie Carter-Silk Basar 04.09.2016
Thanks Basar I'm glad you like the tips!
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by Hemantkumar 03.09.2016
I must confess, I read every bit of this post and am satisfied with what I read. My goal is to implement every step on me. Thanks :)
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by Ellie Carter-Silk Hemantkumar 04.09.2016
Thanks for your kind words! I hope the tips can help in your own travels.
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