Tag Archives: business travel

Dating a Frequent Traveller: How to Make it Work

TagAlongTravelAn interview with Deborah Zanke, spouse of a frequent traveller and author of the Tag Along Travel Blog.

Being a frequent traveller, I know all too well what it is like to date someone who does not travel for work which I discussed in my previous post “ Love and Romance En Route: The Unique Challenges Frequent Travellers Face in Dating and Relationships.”

In my experience, I have always preferred to date fellow salesmen or men who are frequent travellers because they inherently understand business travel and do not have a problem with me going away for extensive periods of time for work and vice versa.  My last relationship with a non-traveller proved disastrous.  He was completely insecure and became so jealous and suspicious of my every move because he just didn’t get it.  He turned into a complete control freak.   If I didn’t respond to every text or phone call, he thought I was cheating on him which was never the case.  I was just busy, working.  I didn’t have the time or patience to deal with this type of behavior and annoying false accusations and hence why the relationship ended.  Based on my experiences, I was sure that romantic relationships where both partners travel for work was the only way it could work, but I have been proven wrong. As  it turns out, dating insecure and emotionally unstable people makes it impossible.

So I digress…

I recently met Deborah Zanke, the owner of a Marketing and Public Relations Firm and author of the Tag Along Travel BlogIn her blog, she discusses the ups and downs of being married to a frequent traveller and her experience tagging along on his business trips.  Her spouse of 20 years only recently embarked on a new career that involved a significant amount of travel and that change she says, required a significant amount of adjusting on her part.

Debora’s husband is away on business travel nearly 40% of the time.  In the past year alone, he has travelled on over 100 flights in 11 countries.

What are the biggest challenges of being the spouse of a frequent traveller?

Deborah admits that it took her time to get used to him being away.  Initially he would be away on business for up to 3 weeks at a time and logistically it wasn’t possible for him to come back home on weekends which created tension in their relationship.  He then moved to a different position where he is only away for usually 1 week at a time at most but nonetheless, still travelling for a significant amount of time.

Other challenges of being the spouse of being a frequent traveller  Deborah says are coping while they are apart, missing each other, dealing with things that go wrong while he is away (condo repairs, car troubles, etc.) and being out of synch when he returns.  When reunited, may they be adjusted to different time zones and set in different routines.

How did she overcome these challenges?

In order to adjust to her husband being away so frequently, Deborah realized that she had to be more independent.

A huge perk of Deborah’s business is that she can work remotely which means it’s possible for her to accompany her husband on business trips.   When she does this, while her husband is working she works on her own business during the same business hours as her hometown and spends the rest of her time essentially travelling solo.  She describes a recent business trip of her husband’s to London which she tagged along on. During the day while he was in meetings, she would go sight-seeing and dine alone and if he was working in the evening, she would work on her own business at night since it was still regular business hours back at home.  Occasionally she would accompany him on business dinners but that was not commonplace.

The key to their success is that there is a mutual understanding that if she tags along on one of his business trips that his business is the priority of the trip.  She has the strength and independence to essentially go on the trip as a solo traveller and not interfere with his business.  She enjoys being able to take advantage of his super elite status, hotel upgrades and the opportunity to explore new places that she otherwise never would have even thought of.

When she isn’t able to tag along on one of her husband’s business trips, they maintain their intimacy by communicating regularly by text message, skype and facetime.  They even had the great idea to do a “virtual date” whereby they watch a movie and order pizza together over Skype.  Such a great idea!

Overall, in speaking with Deborah, I have learned that although it may not be easy at first, it is possible for a non-traveller to have a healthy, loving and fulfilling relationship with a frequent traveller which she achieves by being:

  1. Self-confident and secure
  2. Not afraid to travel solo
  3. The owner of her own business and one that can be done remotely
  4. Comfortable making the best of her time alone when at home, enjoying things such as binging on Netflix
  5. Understanding that her husband’s business is a priority while he is on business travel and doesn’t try to interfere
  6. Able to find unique ways to communicate and maintain intimacy from a distance

So fellow frequent travellers, there remains hope for maintaining a romantic relationship with a significant other who does not travel frequently for work.  And for all of you who are on the other end of the spectrum and are dating a frequent traveller, be sure to read the Tag Along Travel Blog or follow Deb on Twitter  for tips on innovative ways you can best utilize your time together and apart and make it work.

Safe travels my friends and good luck in love.

Cheers,

TSW

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Medical Marijuana Users Should Butt out Like the Rest of us Cigarette Smokers

marijuanaMarijuana Can Now Be Smoked Anywhere in Ontario: As a Cigarette Smoker and Frequent Business Traveller, I Disapprove.

Smoke on a plane? I don’t think so!

The Ontario government here in Canada recently passed a new legislation legalizing the smoking of medicinal marijuana in all public places where cigarette smoking is not permitted. As a cigarette smoker and frequent business traveller, this completely enrages me.

In Ontario, it is legal for anyone over the age of 19 to buy cigarettes but not smoke them anywhere however under this new law, if you have a license for marijuana, you can smoke it anywhere. This includes restaurants, offices, stadiums, movie theatres and “any other places where cigarette smoking is prohibited”. Does this include taxis? Airports? What about airplanes? Are they off limits if they depart from Ontario? How about police stations?

I have been a cigarette smoker for over 20 years now. It’s not something I’m proud of but rather something I’ve chosen to live with and it is an addiction. We all need some sort of vice right?

As a smoker, I am vehemently opposed to smoking indoors. I have never smoked in my home because it is disgusting just as I find the smell of smoke while I am eating completely off-putting. I find the smell of marijuana even more repulsive than cigarette smoke.

Being frequent business traveller who smokes cigarettes can be quite challenging.  If you’re travelling all day long on flights and within airports, you cannot smoke unless you exit the airport and have to re-enter security.  I have almost missed flights trying to do this.  The last time I connected through Denver and had 2 hour stopover, I thought that I had plenty of time to go outside and come back in through security however I was wrong.  Fortunately a security guard allowed me to bypass the over hour long security lineup (there is only 1 in all of DEN!!!!!) with my Nexus pass so I barely made my flight.

When booking hotels, I spend a lot of time searching for ones that have balconies so I can easily smoke outside.

When renting cars, I am careful not to stink up the car.

It is a lifestyle choice and I don’t have a problem with that. I put a significant amount of effort into abiding by the laws and keep my smoke out of the way of others. I

But now with these new laws in place, anyone with a medical marijuana license can smoke their stinky cancer-causing weed anywhere and we are all just supposed to suck it up?

What if you have children? In Ontario it is illegal to smoke cigarettes in your car if you are driving with a child under the age of 16.  What kills me (no pun intended) is that our government has a “Smoke-Free Ontario Act” devoted to “protecting children and youth from the dangers of smoking” and yet under this legislation, a parent with a medical marijuana license can legally smoke away even on playgrounds.

I studied toxicology extensively in university and know full well that second hand smoke from both cigarettes and marijuana contains all of the same toxic compounds. In particular, over 150 of the same carcinogenic polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been identified as being present in both cigarette and marijuana smoke.  

A good friend of mine who was a heavy marijuana smoker (but not cigarette smoker) developed lung cancer.  Why? Because it contains all of the same if not more carcinogens as cigarettes never mind 30 times the tar content.

That being said, I’m sorry but just because you have cancer (which you probably don’t since most of the people who get these medical marijuana licenses do not have cancer), doesn’t mean it’s OK for you give other people cancer.  Be respectful of your environment just as us cigarette smokers do.

I smoke cigarettes and that is my choice. I don’t impose this bad habit on others. I stay out of the way. If I am in an area where I am unable to smoke I either hold off until later or chew Nicorette gum.

If you have a medical marijuana license, do us all a favor and just like us smokers who either refrain from use or use cessation aids, how about you pack a marijuana brownie or cookie and chew on that instead?

Under this legislation, business owners do have the right to overrule medical marijuana smoking and prohibit in their workplace, so if I am in a restaurant and someone lights up a joint or “vapes” next to me because that business owner thinks this is acceptable, I will leave the restaurant. Same goes for any other business establishment.

If a sales representative smoked marijuana in front of their client, how do you think that would go over?

If someone lights up on an airplane or in the airport, they should be arrested just as a cigarette smoker would be.

This double standard should not exist. Our government should be focusing on more pressing issues.

So that’s my rant of the day.  Now that I have shared how I really feel, how do you all feel about this topic?

Would you allow your workers to smoke marijuana in your workplace if they had a medical license?

If you were allowed to smoke marijuana in your workplace, would you?

TSW

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Top 4 New Vehicles for Sales Representatives

BusinesWomanInCAr

Having a sales territory that encompasses the entire country of Canada, it’s only inevitable that I do my fair share of driving. I routinely drive quite far from my home base in my own car but I will not drive across the country.

When I fly to Western Canada for example, I always rent vehicles.  For someone who is regularly in the market for a new vehicle, this is a huge perk because not only am I exposed to so many different types of vehicles that I otherwise wouldn’t have thought of but I also have the opportunity to drive them for extended periods of time.

When most of us are purchasing a vehicle, we may only spend 10 minutes giving it a test drive.  In my opinion this is not enough time considering the amount of money you will be spending nor is it sufficient for deciding whether or not the vehicle is suited to you and your needs.  If I will be spending over 1/3 of my day in a vehicle, I want to make damn sure that it is:

  1. Safe (i.e. drives well in the snow, has a sufficient number of airbags, performed well in crash tests)
  2. Comfortable
  3. Functional (i.e. has enough power outlets storage space, compartments, etc.)
  4. Affordable (both in terms of payments and fuel economy)
  5. Has Sufficient Storage Space (for literature, equipment, personal items etc.)

*Note that the above criteria are not necessarily in order of importance.

When you spend 10-20 minutes test driving a vehicle, can you be assured that that vehicle meets all of those criteria?

So, all of that being said, based on my experience driving several different types of vehicles for extended periods of time in different road conditions, this is my list of the best new cars for sales reps or other road warriors. I say ‘new’ because most companies require their sales reps to drive relatively new vehicles and therefore I will not include reliability in the criteria because new cars all come with a standard warranty.

Top 4 New Vehicles for Sales Representatives <$50,000:

***Note: I kept the figure below $50,000 because I am of the belief that if you are in sales your car should look nice, but not be too flashy and expensive. Your car is an extension of you and the company you represent.  You want to look professional, sharp, savvy but NOT flashy or cheap.

4. Toyota Rav4 AWD

Toyota-Rav4This is a solid all-round vehicle that is comfortable, affordable, roomy and drives well in the winter. The Rav4 used to be my #2 choice, however in recent years its quality and functionality has declined. Recent models performed poorly in crash tests and the handling is noticeably looser making it feel more unstable.  The other setback which applies to us road warriors is that there is only a single power outlet, so good luck if 2 of your multiple devices needs a charge!

3. Chevrolet Impala

Chevrolet-Impala-2015Out of all the cars I’ve rented, I have driven these the most.  They are comfortable and very spacious which is great if you’re setting up a mobile office.  Fuel economy has improved over the years but isn’t the best in its class which can be a pain if you do a lot of driving and need to fill up every day. Although it is only a FWD, it is quite front heavy and drives very well in the snow if you have a good set of winter tires. The Impala has recently been redesigned to give it a more polished look which I find appealing. It no longer looks like you borrowed Grandpa’s car.   Overall, this is a working man’s car that functions very well and is safe.

2. Jeep Compass 4×4

2015_Jeep_CompassI never thought that I would include a Jeep on my list because of their historical poor reliability and bad reputation for being gas guzzlers, but after driving this vehicle for 3 days, I completely changed my mind.  The biggest shocker was the fuel economy.  I was pleasantly surprised to get approximately 600km on a single tank.  It was also extremely comfortable to ride in. The dash was nothing fancy, but it was functional and had multiple power sources which is essential for any mobile office!  There is a tremendous amount of storage space although the vehicle itself is quite small and handles extremely well in tight situations as well as in the snow.  The 4×4 option is a huge plus if you drive in the winter.

  1. VW Passat TDI

VWPassatTDIThis car is by far the best car for sales representatives and needless to say, that is why purchased one.  Aside from the luxury look (both interior and exterior), it is extremely comfortable, spacious and most importantly, you can’t beat the fuel economy!  As you can see in this photo below, I got 1000km (approx 621 miles) on a single tank (actually only using 54L or 14.5 gallons) without the fuel indicator warning going off.

VWDash1000km

Diesel is still cheaper than gasoline here in Canada, so that is an additional savings. The handling is far superior to any Japanese or American vehicle.  The steering is tight and solid. Although it is only a FWD, it is excellent in the snow when equipped with snow tires.

The biggest shocker about this vehicle is the price.  Even though it looks and handles like a luxury car, it is cheaper to run and maintain than a Honda Civic!

Honda Civic Sedan:  Base Price $28,500 CAD. Driving Range: I was filling up every 350km at a cost of $45-50CAD

VW Passat TDI: Base Price for Comfortline (model I have) $29,000 CAD. Driving Range: I fill up every 950km at a cost of $55-60 CAD

In a perfect world I would have a 4×4 or AWD Diesel vehicle but unfortunately, it is impossible to find one for under $55K CAD.  So in the end, I opted for the most fuel efficient “luxury-looking” vehicle that performs well enough in the winter with a good set of snow tires.

If you’re a road warrior who is in the market for a new vehicle and are looking for an unbiased opinion on different models, feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to help.

In the meantime, drive safe fellow road warriors!

Cheers,

TSW

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How to Keep Fit While on the Road

road-trip-exercise-art

Are you a road warrior and struggle to keep up your fitness routine while en route?  Do you tell yourself “I just don’t have the time.”? Or “My hotel doesn’t have a gym so I can’t work out.”?

Well, it’s time you stop lying and making excuses to yourself.  The truth is you CAN make time for exercise and you CAN do a full workout without access to a gym.  The same goes for eating healthy on the road, as some of you might recall from my previous article on “How to Eat Healthy on the Road”.  It’s all possible.  You just have commit to it.   In this post, I will provide some helpful hints on how you can make time to keep fit and work out even if you do not have access to traditional exercise equipment.

HOW TO MAKE TIME TO EXERCISE:

  1. Wake Up Earlier in the Morning

Assuming you don’t have to hit the road really early (and by really early, I mean before 6am), in my opinion, this is the best time to work out.  Working out in the morning has several benefits including but not limited to:

  • Waking you up!
  • Increasing your energy level and metabolism throughout the day.
  • Give you a great excuse to have a full, healthy breakfast before you hit the road. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Don’t skimp!
  • Forcing you to go to bed earlier which will reduce the amount of snacking and alcohol consumption you may otherwise do in the evenings.
  1. Fit in Workouts in Between Meetings

When you’re in and out of sales calls all day long, you spend the majority of your day sitting, be it in the car or a client’s office. If you have the time in between meetings, the best thing you can do is go for a walk! I say walk, not jog because you’ll be dressed in business attire and won’t want to break a sweat before that next meeting.

WHERE can you walk?

If it is nice outside, take a stroll in a park, side street or sidewalk in town.

If the weather is poor or too cold, find a shopping mall and take a long brisk walk (without stopping to shop of course!).

If you have more time (>1h), try to squeeze in one of my “Car Workouts” in this article.

  1. After Work: Skip the Snack and Workout Instead

This is another great option which you can do as soon as you get settled into your hotel and before you eat dinner.  Some benefits include:

  • Relieving stress from a hard day on the road
  • Curbing your appetite. Skip that sugary snack or drink upon your arrival to your hotel room, work out instead. Then afterwards so you can load up on a healthy, high protein dinner with lots of veggies.  This may also curb your temptation to snack late at night.
  • Providing that last burst of energy to get you through those daily reports and emails after dinner.
  • Improved sleep (as long as you exercise at least 3 hours before going to bed).

So now that you’ve figured out WHEN you can exercise, WHAT are you going to do for exercise and HOW?

HOW TO PLAN A WORKOUT IN ANY ENVIRONMENT

When you arrive at your hotel, take a few minutes to check out what facilities are available to you.  Typically you will either have access to a

  1. Full gym, equipped with cardio machines and weights
  2. Partial gym, equipped with cardio equipment only OR
  3. No gym

If you’re lucky, you will have access to a fully equipped gym and will be able to do your usual or scheduled workout routine.  Unfortunately, most hotels do not offer this, so you will likely have to do a bit of work to plan your workout.

When you visit the fitness facility in your hotel, bring a small piece of paper and a pen with you (or the notepad in your phone) and make an inventory of the equipment. Next to each piece of equipment make note of the different exercises that you can do.  If you have been working out regularly in the days prior, simply continue with your regular scheduled exercise regimen. On the other hand, if you have been off for a few days, try to do a full body workout and/or work out as many muscle groups as possible. When you’re ready to do your workout, take your note with you to the gym to keep you on track.

In the event that you don’t have access to any weights or exercise equipment, I would recommend trying one of the following workouts I’ve developed with the assistance of my personal trainer.

Tip: If you have access to a treadmill, try to squeeze in some cardio after your workout as this will reduce the amount of lactic acid (a compound that causes muscle cramping) in your bloodstream.

No treadmill? No problem! If you can get outside to walk or jog, great!  If not, most hotels have stairs so try going up and down a few flights to get your cardio in!

The Hotel Room Workout:

womanworkingoutinhotel-room1

Below is a list of suggestions for various exercises that you can do to target certain muscle groups.  All of these exercises can be done in a basic hotel room with no equipment:

Legs: Squats, Lunges, Step-ups (using a table or chair in your room)

Abs: Put a sheet or towel on the floor. Use the base of the bed frame or air conditioner to position your feet under to keep stable and crunch, crunch, crunch away! There are so many ab exercises you can do.  Try a plank position as well.

Chest: Push-ups (on the floor or against a desk, table or bed)

Triceps: Triceps dips on any window ledge, counter or solid surface.

The Car Workout:

guy pullups insidecar

I will forewarn you that you must not be too shy or embarrass easily to do this one.  This workout is great if you have time between appointments and/or you find yourself “homeless” at some point in your travels. By “homeless” I’m referring to the time in between when you have to check out of a hotel and can check into your next hotel. I have categorized each exercise by target muscle groups.

What you will need:

  • Weights (optional): If you’re travelling in your own car, take them from home. If you’re away from home and have a rental, try buying some containers of cat litter that have a handle. They are heavy, cheap and could be used to assist you with traction in the event your vehicle gets stuck in snow, ice or mud. If you don’t have those, try the move in the image above (pull-ups using the coat hanger handles in the back seat of your car)
  • Running Shoes
  • Water

Warm-up: Try a 5 minute walk, jog (on the spot, around the car) or jumping jacks

Triceps: Open your trunk and face away from the car.  Do triceps dips on the lip of the trunk (making sure to keep the palms of your hands placed firmly on the lip of the trunk and fingers facing forward).

Chest: Push-ups either against the open car trunk lip or on the ground

Legs: Squats, Lunges (stationary or walking lunges around the vehicle), Step-ups onto the open trunk lip (only if you have good balance!)

Abs: Sitting on the open lip of the trunk and your hands placed firmly on both sides, fully extend your legs, hold them in place for as long as you can, then contract your legs and repeat.

Biceps: Bicep curls using the containers of cat litter OR if you’re really ambitious, inside your car position yourself in the middle of your car and do pull-ups using the coat hangers in your rear seats like in the above image which will work your chest as well.

Think you’re going to look ridiculous doing those things? All I’m going to say is “Suck it Up Princess! And Just Do it!”

People do Tai Chi in the park all the time. Do they look stupid?..

Ahem…no comment

I digress.

If you find yourself struggling with devising an exercise routine or keeping motivated while you’re on the road, and don’t have a personal trainer to assist you, you should look into companies such as Business Travel Life, which is founded by fitness enthusiast, consultant and former road warrior Kristina Portillo.  Business Travel Life can provide you with workouts customized to meet your unique fitness goals while accommodating your travel schedule.  They will even provide personal training via video conferencing which you can do from the comfort of your hotel room. It is an excellent service that I would highly recommend if you are the type of person that needs that extra “push” to stick to your fitness goals.

If you enjoyed these tips, you may aIso be interested in a guidebook I am currently working on, “A Road Warriors Guide to Eating Healthy and Keeping Fit on the Road” which I hope to have available in print within the next year.  Be sure to subscribe to my blog be notified when it becomes available, as well as for new travel and sales tips which are posted every Thursday.

In the meantime my fellow road warriors, “Keep fit and have fun!”.

TSW

p.s. I hope at least one person got that reference!

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