Other smart garments include vests with elaborate hidden storage systems, scarves with savvy pockets, and ExOfficio's insect-repellant button-downs (perfect for a trip that takes you from indoors to out). Convertible bags will also extend your wardrobe and lighten your carry-on load; this option from Tumi converts from a flight-friendly backpack to a tote bag for everyday use.
"Make sure you check international airlines to ensure your primary airline will gain the miles from flights on international carriers. Many of the perks afforded on your primary carrier will transfer over to these international carriers. In many cases, international carriers will actually treat you better than domestic US airlines in terms of free baggage, upgrade or access to their executive lounges. Almost all international carriers offer free meals and alcoholic beverages on their flights."
Here's a novel idea: Leave some of your toiletries behind and use the soaps and lotions provided by the hotel. "I love to try the new shampoos and conditioners when I travel," says Kelly Vrtis, packing expert and travel spokesperson for The Container Store. "My hair enjoys the break from the usual routine." Besides, adds Christopher Elliott, ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler and columnist for MSNBC.com, "the one thing people tend to forget is that there are stores where you're going and you can always buy those items once you get there."
While the external stresses of travel are often outside your control, how you manage them is completely within your control. If you let an unplanned delay throw you into a state of panic or rage, travel can become unbearable. When faced with anything from unending delays to slow-moving crowds, pay attention to your stress levels and take a deep breath, listen to music, or otherwise maintain your calm, and you'll find travel much more bearable regardless of what's thrown your way. This is especially important in unfamiliar environments. I've been threatened with deportation, found myself in Beijing back-alleys and completely lost, extorted, and dropped off at the wrong location with no way to communicate with my driver, but a deep breath and a smile ultimately allowed for recovery.
When in doubt, technology can help you out big time here. Apps like FitStar, Daily Burn, and Yoga Studio can help you put together your own personal workout. However, what more and more business travelers are turning to are digital fitness trackers like Fitbit. These work not only like pedometers, but actually keep track of when you step, and encourage you to take a short walk or do some light exercise after long periods of immobility.
We love this TSA-friendly recipe for stone-fruit oatmeal squares. Filled with natural fruit flavors but not overly sweet, they can serve as a quick afternoon snack or ready-to-go breakfast treat for an early-morning flight. Even better, they can be baked and frozen in advance so you won't have to scramble to prep right before you depart. Just take one or two out of the freezer as you head to the airport and allow them to thaw on your way. The recipe is also quite versatile. You can use any stone fruits, such as nectarines, peaches, or plums, making the squares especially ideal in summer (though pretty much any fruit, including apples and berries, can be substituted as the seasons change).
Reversible clothes can add color to your travel wardrobe and give you plenty of options, all in one garment. Look for pieces that have bright patterns on one side and basic neutrals on the other for maximum use. The reversible V-neck pullovers from L.L.Bean are great for winter getaways, while tank tops with neckline options, such as this one from Anthropologie, add versatility (and endless outfit permutations) to an otherwise basic garment. For men, we like this plaid jacket from yoga outfitter Prana.
A common mistake many people make is to ignore or shy away from the importance of social customs overseas. Be open to accept hospitality and engage with respect and patience and understanding of the challenges inherent to life in their country. Try the local food, seek out conversations with varying members of the community, and take the time to sit and listen. This type of focus on business trips has helped me learn about the culture and people with whom I would eventually manage an international charity empowering hundreds of women.
I love getting to explore a new place during a layover, and will almost always extend my travel day so that I can spend three or four days in a new city. Some of my layover highlights from the past five years include 48 hours exploring the Golden Circle in Iceland, spending a few days getting lost in Muscat, and when I spent 24 hours in Abu Dhabi just so I could take photos of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.
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