Back in my corporate travel days, I had to help book a few interesting trips but there was one that simply baffled me. It was an executive for a pharmaceutical company that was traveling to Stockholm, Sweden. That wasn’t the part that baffled me. It was that they had a return flight booked just four hours after arriving.
I have had some pretty tight turnarounds but a four hour trip to Sweden seems pretty excessive. With the changes in technology, I can’t imagine that in-person meetings like that are as crucial anymore but there are still plenty of reasons for a long flight with a short stay and I’ve learned how to best survive them!
As an automotive writer, I’m often invited to press trips highlighting a new car that’s being introduced. It’s actually a pretty sweet gig because it’s usually in an location that makes for a gorgeous backdrop for any car photos and stories. The downside is that many of these locations are in California.
Although I love California, living on the East Coast makes my typically short trip to the West Coast quite an endeavor. But I’ve done it so much that I’ve learned to survive and thrive on these trips with a few simple tips.
Always carry your bag.
I’ve spent years trying to avoid carrying my bag on the plane. I often fly Southwest just so I can take advantage of their free baggage check. Who wants to be bothered with 3 oz. containers and struggling to find overhead space on the plane?
Well, when you’ve got a short turnaround time, you need to get off the plane and get right to where you’re going. If the bag is delayed or doesn’t show up at all, it will probably have a major impact on your wardrobe and might not even be found before you have to turn around and fly back home.
This carry-on from American Tourister gets me looks wherever I travel!
Bring a comfortable travel pillow.
I don’t sleep on planes. It’s not that I don’t like sleeping on planes. It’s just that I can’t sleep on planes. But if you’re traveling on a long flight (especially east to west coast) and you can sleep on planes, it’s worth the investment to bring one that will help you feel fully rested when you arrive.
This travel pillow is my current favorite.
Bring your electronics (and don’t forget charging cords and/or portable chargers).
This may seem extremely obvious but the chargers may not seem as obvious. Don’t pack them away as many airlines now offer power outlets at every seat! If you don’t have power outlets available, a good portable charger will keep your handheld devices easily charged for the entire flight.
Unfortunately, Amazon has stopped selling the AmazonBasics Portable Power Bank that I bought earlier this year (and love) but this is supposed to be a similar and recommended alternative.
Download your favorite movies and shows.
This is why you need all the power you can muster. It’s not to pull out your laptop and get work done (although, when I do, it’s usually the most productive work time I have!). It’s so that you can catch up on all your shows!
Many people don’t realize that you can download a lot of content from Netflix and Amazon Prime to your devices so that you can watch (on the plane or even in the hotel) without needing wifi. Just be sure to bring some earbuds or headphones.
Keep on your same sleep schedule.
This really only works if you’re traveling to an earlier timezone. When I have a long flight to California, I stay up late, but not too late, because I know I’ll probably be waking up around 5am. And I let myself. That way, when I return home, I don’t feel jetlagged after such a short trip.
Here’s my personal tip. My iPhone automatically syncs to the current timezone. My Fitbit does not – I have to prompt it to sync. I usually leave my Fitbit with my home timezone and my phone with my current timezone. That way I stay on track wherever I am!
A fitness tracker is never a bad idea when traveling anyway. You spend a lot of time sitting so the reminders to get moving are also helpful. The Fitbit Alta is my current fave!
Other common sense tips include drinking lots of water (travel dehydrates and so does elevation) and not eating too much. Something about travel makes me feel bloated so I try to eat a little lighter than I normally would.
If you’re a frequent traveler, we’d love to hear your tips for dealing with a long flight and short trip (and staying sane!)
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