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For Those 'Road Warriors' Who Aren't Mel Gibson

May 18, 2006
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There's a reason frequent business travelers have earned the nickname "road warriors." Business travel can be stressful - dealing with increased airport security; being in a new city every week; feeling pressure to get the sale; having no time to eat right or exercise; spending restless, sleepless nights in noisy hotel rooms.

But experienced men and women develop their own ways of dealing with these pitfalls so that they can enjoy a productive, successful business trip. Here are some tips to help make your next stay more enjoyable:

• Get packing. Carry-on luggage is the way to go. It lets you get out of the airport and on your way much more quickly. To make the most of limited packing space in carry-on bags, buy portable-size containers of all your favorite personal-care products.

Develop a travel wardrobe of clothes that resist wrinkling and that can serve double-duty. Men can have the dry-cleaner box their shirts instead of hanging them; this makes it easier to pack. Women can use accessories like scarves to change the look of an outfit.

• Rest easy. Choose a hotel where you know you'll be comfortable. After a long day on the road, having a spacious room and a friendly face to return to can make all the difference. And when you're heading out the next morning, a free cup of hot coffee and a quick continental breakfast get you off to a good start.

A good night's rest is important, too. You might not give much thought to how your hotel of choice was built, but it can make a difference in how quiet the building is, and therefore, how well you sleep.

• Stay in touch. While you're on the road, it's important to stay in touch, both with the office and your family. Before you book a hotel, make sure it provides the services you need. Will you have access to a fax machine? A printer and photocopier? If you need to hold an impromptu meeting, is there space available in the hotel?

A business traveler's computer and cell phone are lifelines when they're on the road. Make sure you will have Internet access, and make sure you know how much it's costing you. Also, you shouldn't have to unplug the desk light to have access to an outlet for your phone or computer charger.

• Stay healthy. Eating on the road can be hazardous to your health. Living on fast food or rich restaurant meals can mean added pounds and other problems. Sure, that breakfast sweet roll looks good, but oatmeal and fruit juice will give you more energy throughout the morning. And see if the hotel can package you a brown-bag lunch with a sandwich, salad, piece of fruit and bottle of water. Also, try to fit some type of exercise into your day, whether it means taking the steps up to your hotel room instead of the elevator, or spending some time in the pool or on the treadmill.

This column was prepared in cooperation with ARA Content.

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