Employers are becoming more attuned to the realities of stressed-out employees, with some of the more forward-thinking companies offering stress-relieving amenities such as workout rooms, ergonomic office chairs, and even napping pods. But what the most active road warriors will tell you is that the most stressful part of work is often business travel.

Collaboration tools and videoconferencing may eliminate the need for some face-to-face meetings, but the realities of a heavy travel schedule still persists for many. Veteran road warriors have adapted their lifestyles in some surprising ways to eliminate some of these stresses – and the most common method is to combine business with pleasure, carving out a little personal time on a business trip after all the meetings are done, deals are made, and contracts signed.

But road warriors aren’t the only employees who are stressed out. Research commissioned by hotel price comparison platform HotelsCombined also noted that overworked employees often take time out for solo trips, even if they’re not travelling on business. The survey notes that 39 percent of Americans traveled alone in the past year because they felt burned out at work, and needed some alone time to rejuvenate.

According to Chris Rivett, travel expert at HotelsCombined, “Work-life balance is an increasing priority for many people, particularly millennials, and the results show that Americans are using solo travel as a way to deal with the stress and demands of the working world.”

Other business travelers found it helpful to keep personal time a priority during trips. According to entrepreneur Jane McIntosh has a solution that helps those travelers spot some relaxing opportunities for personal time. “I found business travel extremely stressful until I realized that I was keeping myself on 24/7. It made all the difference when I started making a point of switching into personal mode, even for shorter periods. Our new website, ArtGeek.art, didn’t even exist when I was doing a lot of business traveling, but would that it had! Now, no matter where in the US one finds oneself, it’s easy to find out what’s on at nearby art museums, to down-shift even just for a short period of personal time.”

Russell Hannon, author of the book “Stop Dreaming Start Traveling: The Ultimate Guide to Traveling More and Spending Less,” also uses business travel as an opportunity for funding personal trips. “Having done a lot of corporate travel, I pay all business expenses with my personal credit card (which offers points per dollar spent), and later claim those expenses to my employer for reimbursement,” he says. “I also sign up to loyalty programs of any airlines and hotels I use for business travel to collect points for all my bookings. This single strategy earned me enough points to take two free short-haul trips each year when I was traveling 40 percent of the time. That is on top of mixing pleasure with business by taking advantage of the opportunity to see places I traveled to for work.”

Ken Mastrandrea, COO at Preferred Hotels & Resorts, accumulated over 550,000 miles in 2016, visiting a total of 76 cities – a grueling and intense schedule for even the most seasoned road warrior. “Getting outside one’s comfort zone and getting exposed to new ideas, perspectives, and cultures is the aspect I appreciate the most from my business travels,” says Ken. “Specifically, I always look forward to having opportunities to learn and understand different ways of thinking, participate in distinct travel experiences, from the culture and natural wonders of Africa, to business practices and protocols of Asia and Latin America.”

Preferred Hotels’ President and CEO Lindsey Ueberroth always takes time to experience the local charm of each new city or country she visits. “I am a big believer in infusing business travels with a dose of a personal vacation vibe,” she says. “I always recommend arriving a day early for business trips to ease jet lag, have time to get acclimated to a new destination, and do some exploring. On my most recent trip to Australia, a colleague and I arrived a day early and got to spend the day exploring Sydney like a local, from checking out the local market to traveling around the suburbs via a sidecar motorcycle. That put the trip to a much better start than had I arrived in time to only see the inside of my hotel on that first day.”

Taking time for a little pampering, and Marco and Dejou Marana, co-founders of travel company CountryBred, like to take time to enjoy the best each destination has to offer, finding a little extra luxury to be a big stress reliever. “We are finding more fine dining and pampering options available at the airport,” said Marana. “It is also very satisfying when after a long day of meetings, we are fortunate to still be able to stumble upon something truly unexpected and satisfying. This is really the magic of Europe. You turn a corner and slip into a non-descript bar and end up discovering the label of a new winemaker, and you leave excited because you know you’ve found something special. Leaving time for this type of unexpected inspiration reminds us to take a pause and look around with wonder, instead of just getting caught up in the business of doing business.”

These travelers have discovered what might be the biggest, yet simplest secret to relieving the stress of business travel, and that is simply, to not make the business trip “all business.” A little extra time to oneself, an extra personal day after business is done, or just a little extra side trip at the end of the workday can make all the difference, transforming that stressful business trip into a fulfilling experience that goes beyond your business goals.

Author's Bio: 

Dan Blacharski is managing editor of SpotlightingNews.com.