Hitting the road is a reality for many entrepreneurs. Personally, I take six flights a month and am on the road nearly every day. When my whole life seems to be spent traveling, it's crucial that I carve out time for self-care and pursuits that don't involve the bottom line. If I don't, I'll miss opportunities for personal growth—or worse, risk burning out.
Here are six ways which can help business travelers achieve that elusive work-life balance.
1. Dive into unfamiliar surroundings.
Rather than hole up in my hotel room, I scope out new locations, whether that's a popular barbecue joint, a beautiful park or an iconic landmark. On a trip to Chicago, for example, I stopped by a famous pizza restaurant because I'd heard good things about it. The pizza lived up to the hype, and now I have another good option for dinner next time I'm in Chicago.
2. Take advantage of perks.
By using a rewards credit card, I not only earn miles for future travel, but also get access to lounges in the airport. Being able to find a comfortable place to get things done during layovers is great, but the best part is that most programs offer concierge services. Their counselors always help me find unique experiences on every trip, providing restaurant recommendations and advice on cool spots to check out.
3. Take a hobby along.
Every time I go somewhere for business, I take my guitar or ukulele, because playing music relaxes me. Sports are a good option, too. Joining pickup basketball games at a local court or hitting the golf course are fun ways to meet new people and learn more about the area.
4. Don't forget about health.
When traveling, it's easy to take up eating as a hobby—experiencing new food being one of the joys of visiting new places. But to make sure it doesn't jeopardize my health or my waistline, I take along workout clothes and make it a priority to stay active. Ultimately, health is a key driver of success; it shouldn't take a backseat on the road.
5. Keep loved ones close.
Spending time away from loved ones is a big sacrifice frequent business travelers make, but making an effort to keep up with friends and family while I'm away makes it easier to feel at home wherever I am. I use the long hours spent in transit to catch up with them via phone calls, Facebook and text messaging. And, for my fellow travelers with kids, video chat is a prerequisite. Being able to give their sweethearts a virtual goodnight kiss can make traveling entrepreneurs feel more at home, mentally.
6. Pause, breathe and reflect.
Travel time offers plenty of opportunities to think about what's going well and what I could be doing differently in both my business and my life. To find more time (and reduce headaches), I got approved for the Transportation Security Administration's PreCheck. For less than $100 a year, I can speed through security lines without removing my shoes, belt, laptops or liquids.
Don't let the stress of business travel get in the way of living. Remember: Home is a state of mind. Do whatever it takes to make your temporary residence and your time on the road as comfortable as possible. Whether that means staying in a nicer hotel or taking along your own pillow, when you make an effort to prioritize your emotional health, it will help your business benefit.
For more tips to help you achieve a better work-life balance, watch the exclusive video series, made in partnership with MSNBC: Work-Life Balance: Tips from the Trenches.