How to avoid feeling tired on a business trip

While many of us enjoy the opportunity to see new places and experience different foods, travelling regularly for work has its challenges in terms of keeping energy levels high and a regular routine in check, says group marketing manager at Protea Hotels & African Pride Hotels, Nicholas Barenblatt, who tells TAM that he has learned a few strategies that help him cope.

The biggest factor is the time zone. “Being based in South Africa means being dead centre in the world in terms of time zones. If I have to go to the US where our parent company Marriott International is based, I must cross quite a few time zones. And the same applies for Australia,” says Nicholas.

He says it takes some time for our bodies to adjust to the change in time.  As exciting as it might be to explore a new city or destination, travellers must be cognisant of adjusting to the local time, and must listen to their body and get their mind-set into the local time rather than thinking of what time would it be at the origin of departure.

“A simple thing like making sure that there is natural light around during the daytime helps. I always open curtains in meeting rooms, for instance, and I try to get outside the building to stretch my legs and get some fresh air and vitamin D during the day.” Nicholas adds that it is not a good thing, however, to have bright lights on when it’s dark outside.

He says light can act as a stimulant. “The same applies to stimulants such as nicotine, alcohol and caffeine. Because the chemicals in these items stay in one’s body for a long time, travellers can wake up at night even if they used these much earlier in the day.  It’s best to limit them as much as possible.”

Further, he points out that exercising helps when travellers are tired after a long flight. “I concentrate much better in meetings the day after I’ve arrived in my destination when I try to keep to an exercise routine similar to what I would do at home.” 

Nicholas says the easiest way to do this is to pack a pair of running shoes as they don’t take up much space in luggage, and you then have the ability to run on a treadmill at the hotel gym or outside.

Another tip is that it is important to have a few solid nights of sleep of at least seven or eight hours before leaving on a trip.  “To ensure that I have a good sleep the night before I leave, I make sure that everything is packed and ready well in advance of the trip so that I don’t have to scurry around the night before I leave getting everything ready,” he says.