Most meeting planners acquire a deep appreciation for the ancient saying, “Travel is travail.” Long lines, cramped quarters, unforeseen delays, and endless logistics to juggle along the way can easily hijack the energy you need for the conference or event at the other end. To better understand the causes of—and cures for—travel fatigue, Elite Meetings consulted seasoned road warrior Sandra Paton, a traveling medical writer, yoga instructor, and author of The Stress-Free Traveler, now available on Kindle.
Q. What does travel do to your body?
A. It’s a combination of lack of exercise, water, and fresh air. And, it’s more than just physical; it’s a state of mind. On one trip, I had a five-hour layover. Rather than sit and fume about it, I bought a pizza, and soon people started gathering around me. Before long, I had a table of ten, and people started talking. Time flew and it was a wonderful five hours.
Q. How do you overcome travel fatigue?
A. When you’re captive on a plane, the goal is to move around. You can tap or punch your thighs or lift your knees to your chest; anything to improve circulation.
Q. What about stomach ailments?
A. Water, water, water! You have to practically drown yourself, but it’s the easiest way to recover. If you become extremely dehydrated, go to a hospital and get saline. If you become sick in a foreign country and don’t get better, see a doctor because you may have picked up a parasite.
Q. Any hygiene tips?
A. That’s a tough one. The fact is, when the cabin door closes, you’ll be breathing the same air as your fellow passengers. So, carry wipes and hydrate. At the hotel, I always hang my bag; I put nothing on the floor except my shoes. I also carry symbiotic colostrom, to boost the immune system, olive leaf extract to ward off viruses, and Manuka honey lozenges from New Zealand, a natural antibiotic.