So quick life update: God provided a new job the very day I was due to be made redundant. I didn’t even have to interview for it, and they matched my current package. Awesome.
Much like my old job, my new one means regular business travel. Not to the same extent as some people – I have a friend who recently landed a work trip to the Caribbean hashtagJEALOUS – but I am often on the road within the UK, usually solo, and often with overnights too. It’s not always convenient or agreeable due to the way it can interfere with my personal life, but the travelling in itself doesn’t always have to be a chore. Here’s five ways how you can optimise your life on the road!
Optimise your location
Being away from home for work can often mean long office days and early starts, so it may not always be practical or a priority to go sight-seeing! But are there small ways you can enjoy a night in a new city? One evening in exotic Birmingham, when I was in the market for a wedding ring, I took to my feet and walked around some of the independent boutiques in the Jewellery Quarter for some window shopping. No big adventure, but I got a feel for the city and a better understanding of it. For me, walking the streets is the best way to get my bearings in a city (and remember them when I return!).
Optimise your breaks
While I prefer the train, practically I have to use the car for 90% of my travel. Usually I like to beast out my journeys and try to avoid stopping, and often I don’t have time to! However when the journey goes beyond 3 hours, I do find a quick coffee break can be necessary to keep up my concentration and energy. Services are rarely packed, and most have decent coffee shops now, so a cappuccino and a comfy seat are easy to find. In these cases, I try to be sure to pack a book in my bag. It’s a small pleasure, 15 minutes of quiet reading with a hot beverage, but I’m sure it’s one most of us rarely make time for, so it can be a great excuse. I have even been known to buy a book at the overpriced services bookstore in times of great need!
Optimise your dead travel time When you’re stuck in the car for hours, any CD can get old real quick, and radio adverts soon begin to grate. Podcasts are the way forwards! ‘Revolutionised’ is a big word, but these have definitely changed my long commutes for the better. I use the podcast app on my phone, and either search for a particular topic I’m interested in that day (say, a country I’m planning to travel to, or a person I’d like to know more about), or else revert to some old favourites. Top suggestions from me are ‘Dear Sugar Radio’ (the thinkers agony aunt, with Cheryl Strayed, author of ace book Wild), ‘Death, Sex and Money’ (relevant issues and insightful interviews), and TED Talks (of course). Audio books are also something I’d like to try.
Optimise your means of travel
Keeping your automobile in good order is always a good idea, but even more so if you rely on it for work. Rubbish can soon mount up as you eat and drink on the go, so a dedicated rubbish bag is always useful (check out Pinterest ones for some neat ones to make). I also try to keep some essentials at the ready – a road map, phone chargers, breakdown cover details, perfume, umbrella, pens, and sunglasses. Emergency provisions are also good to have such as a thick jacket, torch, food etc, especially in winter time. Stating the obvious, but ensure you have your regular car check ups and look into any error lights! Delaying my annual service once found me at a Services halfway to Liverpool, googling how to refill my oil. Having basic car skills like that though are also a huge help. Women – we don’t need to rely on the men to do these things for us!!
Optimise your hotel
I say this as an employee of a company that has a budget of £60 for a hotel room. That’s not a lot! You may not be at the Hilton, but you still get a free dinner and maybe a quiet night in. There’s no need to mope about lonely in your hotel room, when there’s facepacks, pedicures, or moisturising to be done! This is key body maintenance time, people.
Oh and get up early for breakfast. Seriously, you will never get that buffet at home.