Even under the best of circumstances, traveling is stressful. When traveling for work, that stress is multiplied.
Specifically, a recent Booking.com survey of more than 4,500 business travelers in eight different countries divulged the most stressful aspects of business travel, ranging from logistical mishaps like missing a flight to human errors such as lost luggage. Nearly all survey respondents -- 93 percent -- say they feel stressed at some point on their trip.
Check out the worst-case scenarios travelers fear below.
11. Losing a company-owned device.
For 12 percent of traveling workers, the thought of losing a phone or anything else that’s the company’s property is anxiety-inducing. Honestly, we’re surprised the percentage is that low. If you lose company property on the road (or in the air or overseas), not only do you look irresponsible to your colleagues and bosses, but you can also be on the hook financially to replace the item. It’s a stress double-whammy.
10. Cultural norms and differences
It’s natural to want to make a good first impression but that means different things in different places. On the survey, 13 percent of respondents admitted to stressing over the cultural differences and unfamiliar norms of their new surroundings. Thankfully, this is nothing a little pre-trip research can’t solve.
9. Presenting to or meeting with people for the first time
This is a major worry for 16 percent of survey takers. Of course, this list is explicitly about business travel, but we’d imagine that this would be stressful for people even on their home turf.
8. Meetings being canceled
With 16 percent of business travelers worried about cancelled meetings, it ties with the previous stressor about the meeting actually taking place. It looks like travelers can’t win in this scenario, because they’ll be anxious either way.
7. IT setup and whether devices will work
Slightly worse than going or not going to a meeting is the fear that once there, the technology will malfunction. For 17 percent of survey takers, this was a major concern. Again, this would be worrisome even at home, but technical difficulties on the road are even more stressful.
6. Losing important documents
Again, losing something important appears on the list. This time, however, it’s not the company’s property that 18 percent of business travelers are worried about misplacing: it’s their own possessions -- be it a passport or presentation materials. With so many other details to keep in mind, like finding their way around or communicating in multiple languages (more on those later), travelers worry about leaving something they need behind. Make sure to photocopy any must-have documents.
5. Getting around
Getting lost in a new place causes serious stress for 18 percent of road warriors. While GPS systems in smartphones and cars make this a less likely occurrence than it used to be, the thought that it could happen is still striking fear into the hearts of business travelers around the globe.
4. Unfamiliar surroundings
The unknown is a common source of fear, so naturally, unfamiliar surroundings can create anxiety. In fact, 21 percent of business travelers are stressed by simply being in a new place.
3. The possibility of lost luggage
It’s quite possible that the only thing worse than being in an unfamiliar place is being there without the stuff you need. Even if business travelers remember all of their necessary documents and company-loaned items, 22 percent of them stress over their luggage arriving safely. Talk about baggage!
2. Language barriers
If any of these unfortunate mishaps occur, it would be wise to tell someone. Yet more than a quarter of survey respondents -- 26 percent -- have anxiety about communicating on a business trip, citing language barriers as the second most stressful part of traveling for work. Cue up Google Translate and check out how to say “major stressor.”
1. Missing a flight or a train
Worse than all of the possible things that could go wrong on a trip is the worry about getting there at all. Missing a flight or a train is what stresses business travelers out the most, with nearly a third of survey takers -- 32 percent -- saying it’s their biggest anxiety about a work trip. So, really, if travelers can make it on time for boarding, the worst is over.
Now go get some tea, try some meditation and relax. You’ve earned it.