Business Travel 101: Dealing With Loneliness

January 13, 2011

Business Travel 101 is a weekly series about making that first business trip as easy and successful as possible. Packing, security, comfort, and etiquette are all factors that, with a little planning, can contribute to a smooth and efficient trip. If you think of a topic I should include, email me at RoadWarriorette@gmail.com.

It can happen to the best of us. You’re chugging along: flying to your destination, in the office all day, getting your work done….and then you get to your hotel room. You’re alone, without your spouse, kids, pets, or stuff. For some people this is a dream come true, and for the people who are glad to get away, more power to you.

For some of us, however, this is when the loneliness starts. I know that when I am traveling a lot I tend to get really homesick. For some strange reason flying at night can make me sad, which is not a good thing when I am on a multi-destination trip! But even when night flights are not involved, long trips can cause me to feel lonely. Here are a few things I do to work through it.

  • Set Skype dates. When I was in Manila last January, Home Warrior and I had Skype conversations every morning (night time for him). It was great to be able to see each other, catch up on our day, and it helped me feel less lonely. This was especially important since I was in a foreign country, which can feel isolating in and of itself. With Skype dates,  you can say goodnight to the kids, which makes them happy and makes you feel less isolated. Also, don’t forget about friends and family. If you talk to your best friend or sister or mom on a regular basis, give them a call. Just because you’re not home doesn’t mean you can’t maintain your relationships.
  • Keep to your home routine as much as possible. Try to go to bed and get up at the same time you normally do, or maybe even go to bed earlier and get extra sleep. Bring your skin and haircare items from home and maintain your beauty routine. If you typically read for twenty minutes, or write in your journal, or watch Letterman, try to do those things.
  • Pamper yourself a bit. If at all possible, I love getting rooms with a separate shower and tub. I will lay in the tub for an hour, reading and relaxing. If your hotel has a spa and you have some extra time, get a facial or a massage. Or get your nails done. Something that is fun and makes you feel special. During a long week away for a conference, I spent an amazing evening in the MGM Grand spa. I felt like a new person, and was ready to power through the rest of the week!
  • Bring books and magazines. I always bring several books on my Kindle or magazines when I travel. It gives me a chance to catch up on my reading, and passes time in the hotel room (and the airplane!).
  • Exercise. I know it’s a cliché, but exercising really does improve your mood. Whether it’s running, yoga, or swimming, getting your endorphins going through movement will help banish the loneliness.
  • Get out of the hotel room. I can feel super lonely if I stay cooped up in a hotel room whenever I’m not at the office. It’s so easy to do! Working, realizing it’s late, and saying, “It’s easier to have room service than to go out.” Make an effort whenever you can though, because even just taking a walk outside can lift your spirits. I often try to eat dinner at a local restaurant. It pampers me a bit, distracts me from my loneliness, and gives me a taste of the region.
  • Bring pictures of your loved ones. Bring physical photos of your kids, pets, spouse, your last vacation, whatever. Or if it’s easier, make sure there are some on your computer or phone. This way you can see their shining faces whenever you feel sad. It will remind you what you have to go home to!

Readers, do you get lonely while traveling? What are your best tips for beating the blues?

  1. hotel centre rome said,

    thanks for information about long trip.
    i know it is necessary for long trip.
    we must plan for a trip Packing, security, comfort.

  2. Sylvia said,

    I force myself to be social by setting up dinner or coffee in advance of travel, either with folks I already know at the destination, or I email the various groups I belong to about my visit.

  3. bkjones said,

    may sound corny but if in town over weekend, i go to church. i am United Methodist and no matter where i go i will feel ‘at home.’

  4. Carolyn said,

    Hi
    I 100% completely, absolutely agree with you that business travel can be both lonely, boring and in some cases intimidating. That was exactly why I started http://www.maiden-voyage.com a business womens travel network to enable women to meet up whilst they are travelling, perhaps to have dinner or coffee and just a nice chat with other like-minded women.

    I’m sure we will have plenty of resources that you might like to use, such as female friendly hotels etc. Feel free to drop by and give us your feedback.

  5. Sara said,

    I spend quality time picking out, writing and sending postcards to friends and family. It helps me remain upbeat telling them about my trip as well as gives us lots of starting points to talk about when I return.

    And definitely get out to go eat. I often will take a book or a crossword puzzle with me and just relax at the restaurant. It keeps me distracted from just waiting on my food to arrive.

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