3 tips for dealing with loneliness during business travel

You’re feeling like a boss—managing meetings, customer requests, and traveling away from home. Then you get to wine flightyour hotel room and realize you’re alone, without your family, friends, pets, or any of your stuff. Sometimes it’s great to have some time away! Other times the loneliness can really take a toll. Here are my top three tips for dealing with loneliness during business travel.

  1. Stay connected. It sounds like a no-brainer, but when you’re dashing from airport to meeting and back again, it can be hard to keep in touch with your loved ones! I have found that even when I’m super busy, the loneliness sneaks up on me during the quiet moments. The things that help: a quick text, photos or videos from home, FaceTime or a phone call when time allows. These things seem simple but can make you feel connected to your family’s life even when you’re thousands of miles away.
  2. Get out of your hotel room. I feel the loneliest when I’m…..alone. Shocker, right? Eating room service while toiling away in my room can feel efficient, but it’s also boring and not fun. Go somewhere for dinner, even if it’s just the hotel restaurant. Chances are you can still get some work done, and you’ll be able to talk to someone (even if it’s just to order another glass of Pinot!).
  3. Pamper yourself a bit. If you’ve got the time, take advantage of any amenities that your hotel provides. A few months ago I got snowed in and had to stay an extra night in New York—on my birthday! I was pretty sad, but snagging a massage from the awesome hotel spa did a lot to help ease me through the time away. Get your nails done, enjoy a wine tasting (pictured), or go shopping. Don’t feel guilty for enjoying some pampering (or extra sleep. Or being able to eat with both hands, for that matter!).

Readers, how do you beat the loneliness during business travel?

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  1. Tell me about it. One week to go on a 7-week trip to the boonies of China. Work 6 days/week, 8 hours per day, not counting the 1-2 hours each way in a car to the site.

    Never eat Room Service. Try to go out (but the language barrier can make that difficult). 2 nights ago, in the hotel restaurant, they had a full “western” menu, but the only thing available was “Spaghetti Bolognaise; it came with about 1/2 gram of TUNA as a topping.

    This year I missed our anniversary, my birthday, and will miss labor day.

    It sucks, but it beats unemployment.

  2. @Darth Chocolate: Ouch, 7 weeks in rural China, yeah, I’d be lonely! That said, it’s not difficult to feel lonely when one puts their mind to it: first, drop the self pity. Revel in the feeling of being able to read a good book, take a walk, and take a breather. Private time has become a rare commodity in many people’s hectic lives, and when they do find themselves alone the adreneline takes time to fall. RELAX! You’re an adult, you can keep yourself occupied. But rural China? Did that in Taiwan, and so, yes, there are limits (like 48 hours!). I was thinking of a business trip in say, oh, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.

  3. I was on the road for 5 years and I didn’t think of this until the last 6 months but it was really great – check meetup.com for interesting social events on the road. For example when I was in Billings Montana I went to a talk about the political philosophy differences between Star Trek and Star Wars. Sure I’m a nerd but it was great and the people were friendly and welcoming.

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