3 Tips for Staying Healthy While Traveling for Business

When traveling for business, you want everything that isn’t work to be easy. You want to grab the food that’s quickest and most convenient. Instead of working out, you want to zone out in front of the TV or catch up on sleep (if there’s time for that).

It can be really easy to slip into unhealthy habits, especially if you’re on the road a lot. But, there are some easy ways to erase those bad habits and promote better eating, more fitness, and maybe even more relaxation.

Pack with your health in mind

Packing with healthy habits in mind is a game changer. This will make it easier for you to make good choices while you’re on the road, instead of the unhealthy choices that can seem unavoidable. Packing food is a great start. If you pack healthy snacks – like trail mix or dried fruit – then it’ll be much easier to choose those healthy treats than the McDonald’s around the corner. At the least, you can have a snack until you’re able to grab a better option later on.

Don’t forget to pack for a workout as well! You won’t be able to do much running if you only have your dress shoes. Make sure to bring your athletic shoes and workout clothes. You can even bring things like yoga mats and pull-up bars to help inspire you to get that workout done. And remember, even a 15 minute workout is better than nothing at all.

Use your local resources

When trying to stay healthy, it’s smart to make the best of the resources around you. Many hotels have fitness rooms and pools, and some even offer yoga classes or other workout opportunities. If you can’t find any such resources then try exploring the local scenery. A lot of cities have parks and trails that can be great for running or biking. Even walking around just to discover a new city can turn into a decent workout. And while walking around, you’re likely to find good places to eat and even other places – like spas or yoga studios – to get some relaxation.

Most areas have outdoor basketball courts, golf courses, and other sports facilities that can be utilized for free or nominal fees. Perhaps there’s a coworker you’d like to get to know better – play a round of golf with them and you could kill two birds with one stone!

Get motivated

The biggest obstacle to healthy traveling is staying motivated. It can be downright depressing to think about fitting in a workout at the end of an extended business trip. But, there are ways to stay motivated through these stressful and tiring times.

Use an exercise wristband to set goals, compete with others, and keep track of points, calories burned, and more. I use the Nike Fuelband whether I’m at home or on the road and it allows me to keep track of how active I’ve been, whether I could use a run, and to compete with my wife, regardless of whether we’re together or not.

You can keep track of how you’re eating, too! Apps like MyFitnessPal allow you to type in or scan barcodes for the food you’re eating so you can monitor how close you’re staying to a healthy diet. You can set calorie intake and calorie burn goals and several of the apps can scan an impressive amount of barcodes or already have food brands entered by other users (everything at Trader Joe’s).

Just do it

Traveling is tough enough on its own. Working a fitness and diet plan in as well can be pretty overwhelming. But, if you prepare for a healthy trip then you’ve fought half the battle. Just remember to use the resources around you to get the job done. And, if your motivation is slipping away then turn to some of the tools and apps that are available to keep you in the fighting spirit!

Boost Productivity on Business Trips with these 3 Tips

Traveling for work is more common than ever. Those who have been doing it for years know there’s a certain art to jet setting efficiently and successfully. But whether you’re a novice or an expert, here are a few tips that can help you become more efficient with getting work done during business trips. 

1. Being prepared & organized

This is primarily true for newer business traveler. It’s something that has probably developed over time for seasoned travelers. Being organized is the key to saving tons of time throughout your days of travel, freeing up opportunities to get more work done and even getting that elusive sleep that you’ve been trying to fit into your schedule.

It all starts at home, before you even leave for your trip. Make sure to pack well in advance so that you’re not starting off deprived of sleep from packing just hours beforehand. Also, try packing your carry-on bag with your transit in mind. If you plan to do some work on the flight then have your iPad or tools of choice easily accessible so you’re not digging around for them all flight long.

Many travelers also recommend having a checklist of tasks for idle time. It could consist of little things that you need to do like calling a repairman or anything you can take care of while waiting. Having a list of those tasks is essential to remembering them and being able to knock them out. Of course, don’t forget about basic travel preparation like having your ID/Passport and tickets handy, your phone and tablet charged, and all of your necessary items packed. Being organized is probably the best productivity booster to mention. 

2. Get Connected

When going through terminals, sitting on planes, and working in and out of hotel rooms, it helps to streamline your working experience. Luckily, there are plenty of tools available that allow you to do just that.

The first step of that process is having the right selection of electronics to get the job done. Phones, tablets, and laptops can all be synced to give you seamlessness when working across multiple devices. Apple and Google (Android) are, of course, the best when it comes to phones and tablets. Keeping with one brand tends to offer the most convenient experience but it’s possible to mix and match Apple and Google (and others) if you prefer.

There are also apps that offer improved functionality. Evernote and Google Keep are among the long list of optional tools available. Use them to access your notes, documents, and more wherever you go.

3. Relax

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to have a more productive traveling experience is not to focus on work the whole time. Of course, if you have a two-hour flight and only three hours to put a presentation together then work away, my friend.

But, if you’re staying in town for a couple days, be sure to step away from the Starbucks or lobby hotspot for a while. Getting away from work is all about allowing your brain a chance to recharge so that you’ll be more effective when you get back to work. It doesn’t really matter what you choose to do as long as you’re not thinking about your job. FaceTime your family, grab dinner at a nice restaurant . . . it doesn’t really matter. Just get away for a bit!

One of the best options for an escape is to exercise! In general, exercise is great for you so why not add it to you travel routine. When you’re preparing for the trip, be sure to pack workout clothes so you can hit the hotel gym or take a stroll around the neighborhood.

Get to it

No matter what apps you download to stay connected or how you choose to take breaks from your work, figuring it out before you get on the road can be the difference between staying on task and falling behind. Managing your time while you navigate terminals, highways, and hotel lobbies is essential to making the most of your business trips. And, taking advantage of all the tools available will help to accelerate that process. So, plan ahead, browse the App Store, take breaks, and enjoy your travels!

Essential Guide: Deducting Meals and Entertainment From Your Taxes

One of the most exciting parts of owning your own business is writing off expenses for you taxes. It can also be one of the most potentially damaging exercises to execute as the lines are often gray and it’s easy to get deduction happy. There’s also the fear of getting in trouble with the government.

One of the most common expense categories is Meals and Entertainment (M&E). There is often times a lot of leniency in this area, but there can also be a lot of confusion in regard to when deductions can and can’t be made, to what degree, how much is deducted, etc.

For the best results, you should hire a certified professional to help with your accounting and your taxes. Professionals can sometimes even save you enough money to offset their own cost, but if nothing else, they will allow you to rest assured that the IRS won’t be coming for you.

Aside from hiring someone though, there are certain tips for getting the most out of deductions while staying legally legit. Here is a guide for getting the most out of your M&E:

Don’t forget the business

This sounds crazy but it’s easy to get caught up in party throwing, event planning, and guest listing that many people forget that they have to include business interactions in there somewhere. And for the IRS, an affair just to build morale doesn’t cut it. So, take a break in the middle of your party to show off a new piece of equipment or introduce the staff – something that is considered business.

The same applies for writing off meals, too. Just because you sit down and polish off a bottle of scotch with a business partner doesn’t mean it’s automatically deductible. You have to discuss business in order for it to legitimately qualify for a write-off. And, you can’t write off a meal you’re having with your baby nephew on your way through Burger King. Discussions must be with people who are, or can be, involved in your business (business partners, clients, contractors, etc.)

Keep detailed records

For small businesses especially, it seems pretty unlikely that the government is actually going to stop in to check on little ol’ you. Many tax professionals will even admit that to you as well. But as unlikely as it is, you don’t want to get caught ill prepared if you manage to catch their attention. Keep your receipts and make sure to record all related details as proof of purchase and relevance to your business.

There are a number of ways you can keep track of your expenses these days. Of course, there’s the tried and true method of stashing away the hard copy receipts and sorting them into files, which can later be accessed if necessary. I prefer to use Evernote for my documentation though; it includes a feature that allows you to take pictures of documents – like receipts – and add them to folders and files in a cloud-based platform. Evernote makes the images searchable by text so if you have a receipt from Harry’s Hair & Makeup then you can later search for “Harry’s” and it should pop up.

Know when to stop

This sounds counterintuitive, but it can sometimes actually be a waste of time to go through the hassle of writing something off. Or, maybe you would make your decision differently if you realized the way it can or can’t be deducted.

For instance, if you’re throwing a party for your business then the related expenses can be broken down in two different ways: If the party is for the general public or for your employees then you’d be able to deduct 100% of the costs. However, if the same event is for potential clients and contractors you work with then you’ll only be allowed to deduct 50% of the costs.

Also, in some cases, it might take more money for your accountant and tax professional to process the paperwork than you’ll be able to deduct. If it takes Janet an hour at $50 to process $60 worth of receipts that you only get half credit for then you’ll actually lose money by doing it.

Practice makes perfect

If you’re new to the whole process, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs after a while and you’ll become familiar with what and what not to write off and how everything is handled. Working with financial professionals is the safest route but whatever you do, just make sure that you are careful and thorough.