By Danielle Pastula

While vacation time usually involves elaborate plans centered on time spent relaxing and eating good food, traveling for business tends to be the complete opposite. Instead of relaxing, you’re rushing to make meetings, getting home from work hours past your typical bedtime and grabbing as many caffeinated drinks and sugar-laden snacks as possible to keep you going — but it doesn’t have to be that way.

With a little forethought, there are plenty of ways you can keep yourself happy and healthy while away from the comforts of home.

Pack like a pro

First things first, take note of how many outfits you’ll need and eliminate the “just in case I might need it” items; only take what’s necessary. Over packing is a surefire way to increase your stress, as you’ll have more to lug around in addition to making decisions on what to wear on your trip.

“I don’t like to check bags because it wastes time,” said Todd Goede, vice president of global research and development with RTI Surgical, Inc., who travels approximately two times a month within the U.S. andfour to six times a year internationally. “I also limit the shoes and take only one pair of dress and one pair of sneakers, and stick to a one color motif — either black or brown. Think along the lines of Steve Jobs and have a go-to travel uniform.”

Make essentials easy to reach

Rifling around through a bottomless pit of a bag doesn’t make for smooth traveling scenarios. Rather than using a catchall bag, opt for a smaller bag or outer pocket of your luggage where you can keep hand sanitizer, Airborne® tablets, a pair of flats, a snack or two and other essentials in one easy-to-reach spot. A water bottle with a filter also makes for easy refills so you can stay hydrated.

Keep germs at bay

It’s easy to throw your purse on the bed right upon entering your room, but don’t — your bag is covered in germs! Rather than setting your bags on a piece of furniture, use the luggage stand in the closet to keep your bags off your bed and up off the ground. Using a purse hook is also good for when you’re out and about.

Keeping antibacterial wipes on hand to wipe down the remote control, your phone, the toilet seat handle and doorknobs is another way to keep germs at bay.

Do your research

It may take a few extra stops before arriving at your room, but getting the lay of the land before you check in will save you tons of time and keep you optimally fueled during your trip.

“I always try to identify a grocery store immediately and get some healthy stuff to have with me my whole trip,” said Dana Nelson-Isaacs, a working mom and educational placement consultant who travels domestically several times a year.

Grocery store stops also help with not giving into the temptation of hotel lobby cookies, Goede said.

“Before getting to my room I also like to check out the hotel gym so I can visualize my workout with the equipment I have access to and not waste time in the morning.” Goede said. “If I find my hotel doesn’t have a gym, I’ll download a quick routine I can do in my room instead.”

Stick to a schedule

Getting to bed at your regular time or sticking to your morning workout routine are classic ways to stay on schedule, but having an “out-of-town” schedule can also be beneficial for your family’s happiness while you’re gone as well.

Whether it’s making sure to FaceTime the kids before bed or having routine midday check-ins with family members, keeping your loved ones in the loop while you’re traveling is a good way to maintain normalcy during the inevitable adjustments that take place at home when one parent is out of town.

So before you get travelers tension thinking of your next business trip, remember traveling doesn’t have to be mentally and physically exhausting. With some proper planning, you’ll be set for success.