Travel sucks. Frequent business travel particularly sucks.
Years ago, I passed out in the middle of an airplane aisle because of dehydration and exhaustion following a 48-hour round-trip flight to China. I got up to use the bathroom and woke up to a flight attendant attempting to revive me with orange juice. This was one of those calling-for-a-doctor-on-the-plane experiences. I was so tired, stressed and dehydrated that I’d completely passed out, midaisle, and had no memory of it. This was not my finest hour—but it was among my most formative.
Fearing I was at risk of dying was a wake-up call to change my life. Leveraging my experience in the tech sector as a “hacker” who tweaks things to achieve optimization, I set about “biohacking” my life. Biohacking is the art and science of changing the environment around you and inside you to give you more control over your own biology.
My harrowing experience is not unique. From CEOs to young professionals, too many of us are destroying our health through travel. Air travel, in particular, messes up your circadian rhythms as you shift time zones, increases stress hormones, is uncomfortable and raises your risk of blood clots. It’s also, as I learned the hard way, highly dehydrating.
While travel in the future will only get more intense as we travel farther, faster—which could wreak further havoc on our bodies—that’s not the future I envision. The future of travel as I see it involves us traveling not just faster and farther but also smarter.
Here’s some of what I’ve learned about how to travel smarter. Within a few years, these tips will be common knowledge among travelers. Fortunately, you get to learn them today. Better yet: They’re simple, and most of them are free.