5 Tips To Be More Mindful When Travelling


I travel a lot for work. Almost every week I make the trip to the heathrow in the early morning, get on a plane to a foreign destination, meet with the clients and then fly back to London (most of the days on the same evening and sometimes it is a 2-3 days trip).

When my friends hear about my hectic travel schedules, they always ask me how I manage to do it. I have to admit only in the last year or so I start to take some small actions to appreciate the journey more.

1. Give yourself some “me-time” on the plane/train 

We have all gone through this before. You prepare the client presentations / pitchbooks the night before and feel exhausted the morning after, not to mention having to catch a flight at 7am.  Rather than reviewing the business plan/meeting material on the plane, allow yourself some time to relax and clear up your mind, or simply do things that you always wanted to do but otherwise didn’t have time to do whilst on the ground (without interruptions!),

I always bring my kindle with me whilst travelling so that I can get to read a few chapters of the book I didn’t have time to read. Sometimes I simply close my eyes and do some meditation by focusing on my breath, which always bring me back to the present moment (don’t worry the cabin crew wouldn’t disrupt you for drinks/food as they typically think you are asleep!).  You can also bring a laptop to work on your side project if this is something you have been putting off due to the workload you have or simply didn’t have the time and focus to start off.

2. Being more present and embrace your new surroundings 

I particularly enjoy the taxi journey from the airport to the hotel as you get a chance to see the scenery, infrastructure, architecture and people on the road. Unless I have urgent emails to deal with or conference calls to join, I tend to leave work related matters later when I get to the hotel and fully appreciate the beauty in front of my eyes.

During the last 12 months, I have been to 5 new countries whilst on business trip (Poland, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Luxembourg). Whilst the travel schedules and workload could be hectic most of the time, but I am truly grateful of the opportunities my job gives me to visit these beautiful countries,  get to know the different culture on how people live and do business there.

3. Connect with people you meet on the road 

Here I am not talking about the people you are supposed to meet on your trip (e.g your clients or local colleagues) but those people you (randomly) meet – the custom border officer who is the first person to greet you upon arrival in the new country; the coffee shop waiter who gives you a free coffee because you are flying to the city he is from (I really appreciate this from the Polish guy at the Pret shop at Heathrow Terminal 1!), the taxi driver who picks you up and proudly introduces you the city on your way to the hotel; the friendly hotel receptionist who kindly give you a surprising upgrade and ask you to come back to visit for a holiday; the waiter at the local restaurant who serves you so quickly and professionally so that you can finish in time…

Whilst we are on the road, our mind can so easily be occupied with all the work we need to do, the next meeting we need to attend or the conference call awaits us to join whilst trying to find the boarding pass in the suitcase!  Rather than rushing through the journey and waking up not knowing where you are (this does happen to me once!), making true human connections allows you to be more present in the moment.

4. Pack something that can make you relaxed and comfortable 

I always pack a little bottle of lavender oil with me when travelling overnight.  It never fails to refresh my mind after a long flight or make me feel relaxed in a hotel room ready for a night’s good sleep. Think about anything that you can carry easily that make you relaxed at home, whether it is an essential oil, a small exercise kit (like a travel yoga mat or a resistance band) that can relax your body, or a music CD you always enjoy  – it would do the same trick whilst you are on the road.

5. Use spare time to explore the city or try something local 

I know it is not easy to squeeze time on the road but I always try if I can to explore the city I am visiting if I can. Sometimes it can simply be a walk in the city centre, a taste of the local delicacy or a brief break in a local coffee shop. I recently visited Bilbao in Spain for the first time – that day was one of the most of the hectic travel day I ever had – think about I was in Barcelona, Bilbal and Madrid on the same day (different times of course!). We arrived in Bilbao a bit earlier so my colleague invited me to try a local dish (txanguro as they call in Bilbal) for the lunch before the client meetings in the afternoon – it might be they did so out of guilt (thinking about the tight travel schedule they put me through) but I thoroughly enjoyed it and the short stay in the city . The little local snack almost made my day and I am even thinking about going back there for a holiday!

What tips you have or small actions you take to make your business trip more enjoyable? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Until next time,



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