How to survive 32 hours of travelling for business

I have certainly learnt my lesson this year. Just because the schedule looks ok on paper doesn’t mean it’s ok. On paper (or on screen if you’ve gone totally “e”), things are only 2 dimensional. It doesn’t take into account that 2 overnight flights in a row are going to wipe you out even if you can sleep on planes or that a 5 hour tour of a city (see my Istanbul post) in a 9 hour window means you are on the go for the entire time or that 3.5 days in Cape Town really IS just enough time for your body to adjust before you yank it back to North American time zone and you have to readjust again. So, here’s what you do if you have to go to a conference halfway around the world:

  1. Do NOT schedule a 5 hour exam the day before you leave (I passed, by the way)
  2. Do take your own travel pillow with you even if travelling business
  3. Do drink loads and loads of water, not alcohol or soda/pop, in addition to the gallons of caffeine you will be consuming
  4. Do NOT expect to land after 22 hours on a plane, 3 takeoffs and landings and 32 hours travelling and go to a briefing session
  5. If you do make it to the briefing session, do NOT expect to stay awake
  6. Do take extra time for your body to adjust to the new environment and take a moment to relax before shoving your body back in a tin can (the plane) rather than travelling for 63 hours and only spending 96 hours on the ground
  7. Do boost your immune system because you will be breathing in so many things on the flight you just don’t even want to know
  8. Do sleep whenever you can, but preferably not during the plenary session when sitting at the front
  9. Do bring your paitience and humour with you and leave everything else at home

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