Traveling across the globe for work sounds super sexy, right? Especially for you adventure-seeking youngsters who want to live life on the edge and do the impossible: Be in two places at once, absorb countless cultures, make new friends, and immortalize memorable experiences, all on the tab of the company for which you work.
Well, let me break it to you: being a frequent flyer is overrated. Yes, traveling takes you out of your comfort zone and in turn forces you to reflect and grow as a person. But, it also tumbles your life upside down. There’s no stability. No balance. No home.
When you travel to a new place, everything is new: The food, the people, the language, the culture. You come in eager to explore. You eat out since your kitchen lacks a hotel room, and use taxicabs to avoid late-night public transportation.
Yet what’s most exciting is also the most isolating – being new means being lonely since you likely lack local friends and acquaintances. And so, you work. You do the one thing that is familiar and available to you even when you’re away from home. Being a frequent flyer means working abroad – no less. You are not really on vacation and can’t take a breather and relax. But, you can work towards building a second home in a new city and create a second life. All you have to do is channel all your energies towards the cause.
It took me a while to learn how to find my balance and create a home away from home, but that doesn’t have to be the case for you.
Take note of my 20 survival tips for the frequent flyer and I guarantee that, not only will you find balance, but you’ll create a world where working abroad is exciting and something that you can be passionate about.
1. Pick one airline – only one – and grow familiar with it
2. Get to know your airline: The make of the plane, the flight attendants, the good seats. That way, you’ll have an upper hand when booking next
3. Create a customized flying kit with essential toiletries & supplies (toothpaste, toothbrush, soap and beyond). Have it on hand and ready to go!
4. Opt for the four-wheel suitcase. Or die.
5. Take two pillows on board to maximize comfort: One inflatable pillow to pack in your handbag, and one stuffed pillow to tie to your bag. Make everyone on board jealous of how comfortable you are.
6. Now, the hardest tip: Book an apartment at your destination. Forget about hotels. Find an Airbnb or a sublet through Facebook. Create a temporary home – where you can leave your stuff, cook, and host. Trust me, it’s cheaper
7. “Here I come” – let the world know where you are: Post on Facebook before you go abroad, seek out new connections in town, try to make local friendships. Find your people! Remember: you’re not the only one that’s lonely in a new city
8. Get a local SIM
9. Exchange numbers with every new person that you meet. You never know – they just may be your next best friend
10. Cook dinner. And invite your new people over
11. Make coffee. Don’t buy it.
12. Google maps is your best friend. Tag fucking anything.
13. Once in a while, do some shopping. But don’t go overboard. Remember: you are not on vacation
14. Subscribe to local blogs for cool updates on happenings in the city. Time Out is out!
15. Buy healthy snacks for your temporary home or office. Just because you’re traveling doesn’t mean you should drop that diet
16. Plan your time abroad. It’s hard to be spontaneous in a foreign city where you’re not at home.
17. Hit “play” on the stereo the second you step into your home-away-from home. Playing music will liven up the empty atmosphere
18. It’s never too late to reinvent yourself: Be a new you in a place where you know no one and no one knows you
19. Buy what you need to keep yourself warm— adjust yourself to the cold weather, being warm outside means feeling nice and warm inside.
20. Buy the damn blistex. Constant travel will leave your lips awfully chapped. Don’t let it get you down.
That’s it for now. Remember: fly safe, fly smart, and be happy. If you don’t find this useful, it’s ok. Someone else will!