Flu season is in full force. In fact, the Center for Disease Control reported that in just 3 months there have been up to 14 million flu-related illnesses and 6.5 million medical visits. Sounds like a great time to head to the airport where there are exponentially more opportunities to come in contact with some of those infinitely pesky and ill-timed cold and flu germs, right?
RIGHT. To all the road warriors out there – we know you’re not new to this. You can maneuver around slow-moving families and screaming children from terminal to terminal as if it were your own personal American Ninja Warrior obstacle course. You’re popping that Airborne like so many tabs of bubble water and combating jet lag with the ease and skill of a highly trained business traveler.
And since you’re reading this you’ve probably discovered for yourself (or soon will discover) that a Stay Alfred travel apartment is pretty much your ace-in-the-hole game changer for better business travel. More space, separate bedrooms, a kitchen, laundry, access to everything you need in downtown – you get the picture.
But despite your best defenses, sometimes you end up getting sick when you travel. We’ve all been there: desperately seeking a CVS and all of the drugs, lozenges and tissues you can get your hands on. Coughing and sneezing on a plane while pondering if you’re really the pariah you feel like you are and if you should have actually donned that face mask. Never getting warm in that meat locker of a hotel room where you’re bed ridden and reliant on delivery gods for sustenance. Well not this year, people. Not. This. Year.
We’re here to take your travel expertise to the next level with some truly helpful hacks so you stay healthy (and hopefully happy) when you hit the road over the next few months. We tapped our terribly tactful Business Travelership Ambassador Jared Zuckerman on the shoulder for his top tips on traveling in fall and winter, maintaining a healthy balance while on the road, plus super easy habits so you don’t get sick.
In fact, in true Jared fashion, he wanted to make it explicitly clear what NOT to do this flu season. Follow these a few of these great travel and health hacks and you won’t need to live life in a bubble.
Travel can take a toll on the body - what are some tips for travelers who are often traveling back and forth from warm to cold weather?
Jared: “This is literally my life right now traveling from New York to the west coast. And I can not afford to get sick with my jam packed days. So, without further ado, here’s my top 5 rules to live by when you’re on the road this winter…
- Already sick? Do yourself and the masses a favor and ask yourself: Is this trip a must? Can you reschedule? Traveling when you’re really sick makes you less productive or even completely ineffective, and it may not be a wise business decision financially to take that trip. Table that pride for now. Reschedule and stay home.
- There’s a new trend you might have noticed: MyAir masks. I know what you’re thinking, “finally a patterned mask that lets me be a trendsetter and a responsible sick person.” Personally, I’m not sure if I’m secure enough with myself to rock this couture look, but those who have the confidence may be taking more measures than me to stay healthy this season.
- There’s always that person on the plane who unabashedly whips out sanitary wipes and personal hand sanitizer. Be that person and don’t be shy about it!
- I might be leaning into obsessive-compulsive behavior on this one, but hands down one of the most germ-filled areas on the plane is a place you put your hands on. Yes, that drop down tray might look innocent, but if you don’t want to spread any sick germs or take chances - the Amazon gods will provide with Air-Protector. You might want to stay out that seat back pocket while you’re at it. There are even phone sanitizers if you’re going for a supremely germ-free experience. Side note: I got this trick from my mother! Thank you, mom!
- On shorter flights, I tend to maximize my time and work. But for those long haul flights, you might as well call it a sleepcation. Unless you’re one of the fortunates who gets upgraded to first-class, for long-haul flights bring whatever makes you comfortable on the plane so you can sleep during your flight – that could mean noise-cancelling headphones, an ostrich pillow, a sweater as most flights are cold, or an eye mask. Now imagine how it must look wearing an eye mask and your MyAir Mask. Hey – at least you’re staying germ free!
- There’s an app for that. In fact, some of my favorite sleep apps include White Noise, Pzizz, Calm, and Headspace (this one’s actually a meditation app, but it does the trick). You can even listen to Stay Alfred’s Spotify channel, which is always a good time.
- Traveling with a colleague? Cozy up in your own bedroom. That’s one of the great things about Stay Alfred – separate bedrooms and bathrooms, but if you’re in a pinch, the pull-out couch is actually really comfortable.
- Dramatically altering your diet when traveling because you’re consuming only what you can get your hands on never has good results, especially when traveling for work. Trust me!
- If you’re traveling to Austin, very selfishly I would love you to pop over to my personal Instagram, @EATANDBEFULL to see where to find fun comfort-food spots that are a must. But for staying on track with consuming healthy carbs, I suggest doing what I always do first – search in Google Maps, “food near me”. This is always a good starting point to get a general idea of what your options look like. From there, narrow down your search for specific foods you’re interested in.
- Go to Instagram and search for places in your city by hashtag. For example, the first time I traveled to Austin I used #austinfood #austineats #atxfood among others. Granted, I was able to cheat a little because I’m in the industry and my network of social media foodies is quite extensive – but you now have me, and I’ve got your back! You’re welcome to reach out to me directly with any questions you have on this topic (contact info below).
- Work out on the road (not literally ON the road, otherwise I’ll deny any advice you may have gotten from me) for all of the reasons you workout at home: de-stress, staying fit and healthy, better sleep, etc. The majority of Stay Alfred properties offer an on-site gym you can access as a guest.
- Always pack a bathing suit – swimming is easier on the body than running, and most Stay Alfred properties include a pool, plus every travel apartment has a washer and dryer to clean any workout clothes... or if you’re anything like me, that pesky sauce stain you reapedelty get on your favorite shirt.
- Need a little motivation to get in that workout when you’re on the road. I’m here for you – the folks at Stay Alfred and I collabed on The Only Workout Playlist You’ll Ever Need over on Spotify.
- If you don’t have a favorite travel water bottle, add it to your holiday list. Not only is it way more eco-friendly than buying overpriced plastic bottled water after overpriced plastic bottled water at the airport, but it’s also a great reminder to keep hydrating all day and all night. In fact, keep an eye out around major metro airports for special water fountains designed for water bottles. The collapsible Que Bottle is a great option. But don’t be like me and forget to empty the water bottle before going through airport security.
- Not to get all hypochondriac on you or anything, but coming from New York where we have great tap water, I like to do a Google search when I’m in a new city to see if the tap water is ok to drink. Some more sensitive stomachs might not adapt well to iffy tap water, and sticking with filtered water would be a good idea. This sounds silly, but you would be very surprised just how much this could affect you.
- Up your hydration game with coconut water or by bringing Nuun electrolyte tablets with you. These are also a good thing to have on hand in case you have one-too-many meeting-turned-happy-hour drinks. Or in my case, if you just so happen to drink all the wine for the week.
No matter your destination, we want you to travel healthy. A huge factor in feeling good on the road is eating food that fuels productive days and nights. Stay Alfred travel apartments always include a full kitchen so you can enjoy a meal without having to go out all the time.
What are some of the go-to meals you and your team make in your travel apartment’s kitchen?
Jared: “Because you have an entire kitchen that’s stocked with the basic equipment, you can cook, but having a refrigerator means you can also have fresh, healthy food around to keep your immune system at super-power strength. When you’re at a hotel, you’re either dealing with a tiny box of a fridge – or the establishment is overflowing with overpriced junk food for sale. Having a kitchen is just one more way you can stay the way you want to with a Stay Alfred travel apartment. Not to mention, having a kitchen eliminates any desperate acts of ordering underwhelming room service. I’ve been there one too many times. And this is exactly why I ‘Stay Alfred.’”
How has staying with Stay Alfred changed the way you plan for work / life balance and staying healthy when away from home?
Jared: “It’s a brand new world. The kitchen alone has changed the way we travel and stay healthy – its convenience means we have more time to get work done and focus on the task at hand without worrying about where we have to go to get food. The whole Stay Alfred experience is streamlined to empower the guest – unlike a hotel where you’re constantly relying on someone else to make your stay comfortable.
Now, when we arrive at our Stay Alfred on a business trip, we have it down to a science. We use the super easy self check-in, confirm that our shipment of wine was delivered for the week (because, let’s be honest, all the best after-hours work is getting done on the couch with a glass of wine), then we head out to the local grocery store just a few blocks away to stock up on healthy snacks.
But I must say the separate bedrooms and bathrooms are just as important as the kitchen. I require a solid seven to eight hours of sleep in order to be in productive work-zone mode, and the Stay Alfred beds have never let me down when I lay down (perhaps that pun was stretching it a bit far, I apologize). We save money by staying in one unit, but each team member has their own bedroom and bathroom. It’s quiet, comfortable, and feels like our home away from home. And, unlike that pesky hotel room heater never getting the temperature right, I’ve thankfully never had an issue when I Stay Alfred.
And, once again – almost every Stay Alfred location offers a gym – use it to offset life on the road. You’ll de-stress and feel less lethargic when you get back home.”
As temps fall and stress rises, we hope a few of these tips and tricks keep you feeling healthy, with energy to burn. Have a question for Jared about more travel tips, entrepreneurship, running a small business or expanding into a new city? Email [email protected] or follow him over at Food & City and Eat and Be Full.