(ARA) - Companies have been pumping the brakes on business travel, but as the economy improves, employees are hitting the road again, realizing that investing in in-person meetings is worth the cost. As business travelers become acclimated again to a steady life back on the road, their next challenge is maintaining that illusive work-life balance.
While productivity remains a priority, 61 percent of business travelers say time with family and friends is the biggest sacrifice they make while on the road, according to a recent survey conducted by the Business Travel News Group (BTNG) and Country Inns & Suites By Carlson.
Now more than ever, the pressure is on employees to keep productivity high while traveling, which can be tough to do when a normal routine can easily be replaced by a string of late nights, all-day meetings and drive time. To help stay centered the next time you are away from home, try these easy tips:
* Stay connected without breaking the bank
It's smart to be price-conscious when booking travel, but don't sacrifice productivity. Most business travelers find that a comfortable work environment enhances their ability to keep up with business demands according to the BTNG survey results. Look for hotels that add value through amenities you need such as free high speed Internet access and business centers. These amenities can help you stay connected to both work and family while on the road. Taking the time to check in with home or sending texts of unique things seen during travel can help you feel less distanced from family.
* Don't skip meals - especially breakfast
If you want to keep your energy high, you have to fuel your body. Make sure you start your day with a good breakfast. Look for accommodations that take care of the first meal for you, like Country Inns & Suites
' complimentary "Be Our Guest Breakfast," which offers a rotating menu of hot breakfast options and easy grab-and-go items for those on the run. This allows you to stick to a healthy routine or indulge yourself with a delicious, freshly made waffle to mix things up a little. Make sure to eat throughout the day as well so you don't crash during a meeting or overeat when you finally grab a meal.
* Enjoy the ride
Take a walk around the neighborhood where you're staying or explore the city a bit - you'll appreciate the time you spend there more if you learn something about the local culture. Research the area or strike up a conversation to get the locals' recommendations on restaurants, local attractions and other things to see while in town. You may even wow your clients by knowing some hidden gems in their area.
* Don't just work - work out, too
For those who exercise regularly, skipping a workout can throw off the entire day. And even if you're not a huge fan of fitness, taking some time for physical activity can help clear your head and release built-up stress. Remember to pack workout clothes or swim gear to take advantage of hotel fitness centers and pools. If you can't get yourself to the fitness center, a quick in-room stretch can help improve circulation and recharge your body.
Traveling for business can be exhausting, but it doesn't have to take over your life. By following these tips, road warriors can maintain some of their normal routines and get a little more enjoyment out of their next business trip.