The Business Traveler
There are several books and even organizations dedicated solely to the health and safety of the business traveler. Some of these are listed below. For that reason this will be just a brief overview.
The special needs of the international business traveler relate mostly to frequency of travel, getting things done on a tight schedule, and the need to function at top efficiency under less than ideal circumstances.
Frequent trips, whether or not they cross many time zones, quickly add up to exhaustion. Studies by the World Bank showed that the amount of "jet lag" their executives experienced really had very little to do with crossing time zones. It was more a matter of their emotional and physical condition before and during the trip. For successful business travel, therefore, the important concept is that of preventive maintenance.
As trips may come up unexpectedly, being always up to date on routine immunizations is important. Also, have regular, scheduled physical exams and always keep on hand a good supply of prescribed medications. For customs purposes, keep them in their original containers and also carry with you an extra prescription written in generic terms. Regular dental check-ups are important, too, as air travel may aggravate otherwise minor dental problems. And check your health insurance to see if it covers you overseas.
Preventive maintenance includes keeping in shape physically and emotionally. Regular exercise makes sudden changes in schedule much more tolerable and improves sleep patterns. And make time for your spouse and family. The nagging distraction of unfinished emotional business at home can increase fatigue and seriously reduce work efficiency.
Regular business travelers should have a travel medicine specialist with whom they are familiar so that they can get destination-specific advice on short notice. Our organization offers many of these services or we can check our directory for a specialist near you.
Adequate rest is another important must. For long-distance trips either schedule an extra day prior to any important business meetings or upgrade your travel so that you can rest along the way. Minimize alcohol and caffeine intake as these will interfere with sleep patterns. And include regular meals, periods of relaxation and calls home in your schedule.
When traveling to developing countries, traveler's diarrhea could become a problem. In order that important business not be delayed by this ailment, one might do well to take some prophylactic medications. (see article on diarrhea)
Now some special words to the business traveler who is pregnant. If repeatedly traveling between two destinations, try to have an obstetrician on each end who is familiar with your case. Also, carry your medical record with you, having it updated at each visit. Pay special attention to the advice given in our articles on pregnancy and air travel and travel in pregnancy in general. Pregnancy complications which should be taken as a reason NOT to travel include multiple gestation (twins, etc.), diabetes requiring insulin, a history of premature labor, a diagnosis of placenta previa or abruption, a history of blood clots in the veins or lungs, and pre-existing disease of the heart, lungs or kidneys.
The Complete Security Guide for Executives--Livingston--Lexington Books
Executive Safety & International Terrorism--Scotti--Prentice-Hall
RISKNET--The Ackerman Group (305-865-0072)
World Business Travel Guide--Summerhill Press
The Traveller's Handbook--Shales--Globe Pequot