The Skill Set: 6 Tips for Staying on Your Game When You Travel for Work
According to pro golfer Natalie Gulbis, it’s all in the preparation.
When Natalie Gulbis joined the LPGA Tour at 18 years old, she found herself traveling the world on her own for the first time. “I made a lot of mistakes and ended up learning a ton along the way,” she says. Now, 15 years later, she spends ten months a year traveling for stretches of up to 13 weeks at a time. The week we spoke with Natalie, she was playing in a tournament, speaking at a luncheon for Proctor and Gamble and hosting a breast cancer awareness event with Pantene—one that required her to wear a formal pink and purple gown—all before returning to her Las Vegas home. Here, she shares her advice for packing perfectly, staying healthy and keeping your head in the game when you’re on the go. From The Ivanka Trump Collection: knit sweater (coming soon), skirt (coming soon), chargeable quilted soho tote (coming soon - shop similar here), Lynna Boot (coming soon - shop similar here)
The Skill Set: Stay on Your Game When You Travel for Work
Pick one base color and one pop of color
I choose one neutral and one bright color, and that applies to my casual clothes, dressy clothes, competition clothes and even my workout clothes. For example, on my current stretch of travel, I’m doing a few breast cancer awareness events, so I chose white as my neutral and pink as my accent. On top of my white golf clothes, all my layering pieces, hats and shoes will be pink. I plan out all of my outfits ahead of time and use jewelry, jackets and scarves to mix up my looks.
Create one packing list and use it over and over
I made a basic packing list when I was 20 and I still use it today. There are certain things I’ll need on every trip, so it’s universal. I always pack one pair of tennis shoes, one or two pairs of golf shoes, one pair of flats and one pair of heels. The details may change each time (for this trip I’m packing pink pumps instead of the usual nude), but the list stays the same. It’s such a pain when you get to a destination and realize you forgot eye makeup remover or a nude bra. I also always pack backup outfits for the first day or two and bring them in my carry-on in case my luggage gets lost (it did today, actually!). You don’t want to be scrambling, calling an Uber and trying to get to the nearest department store to spend your money on a last-minute outfit that you don’t even love. Look at your itinerary, figure out what you’ll need on days one and two and carry those things on the plane with you.
Plan out your meals and workouts
Don’t get stuck eating airport food. I travel with Kind bars and protein powder, which I portion into individual baggies so I can always make shakes. I plan out my travel days so that I can eat every three hours without being tempted by food that doesn’t align with my nutritional goals (I eat a high-protein, low-carb diet—I always have, and that doesn’t change when I’m on the road). If you travel a lot for work, it's so easy to pick up five pounds, because you go out for dinner a lot and you're not on your regular diet. I plan ahead by packing protein shakes for breakfast and looking up healthy lunch and dinner spots in the cities I’m visiting. If I’m going to be on the road for a long time, I use Amazon Prime to send protein bars, vitamins or even beauty products to my hotel in advance. I try to book places that have either a kitchen or a restaurant with healthy options, as well as a good gym, although I take Brooklyn Decker’s fitness DVDs with me just in case (I also like the Tone It Up channel on YouTube).
Make the most of your time in transit
When you travel, you’re usually at the airport for two or three hours. Plan out how you want to use that time. I take calls and catch up on emails while I’m waiting to board my flight, and I spend my in-flight time listening to podcasts, audiobooks or meditations. I try to listen to one book per week, so if I have idle time at the airport, I don’t end up scrolling through social media or doing other things that aren’t a good use of my time. I listen while I’m checking my bags, going through security and waiting at my gate. Before you go, charge everything and download that show you wanted to watch or that book you wanted to read—don’t rely on airport or in-flight wifi.
Stay hydrated and keep your circulation moving
Before I get on a plane, I wash my face and use a heavy moisturizer from Bobbi Brown. I also suggest avoiding salty airplane snacks and drinking one whole bottle of water every hour on days you fly. Skip the makeup, which clogs your pores, and wash your face as soon as you get off the plane—all that circulated, stale air will make you break out. Keeping your blood flowing prevents you from getting stiff and keeps your energy up, so wear a Fitbit or something else that calibrates how many steps you take. If I have a layover or a long wait at my gate, I walk around the airport; you can get in a couple miles in about 40 minutes, and you can listen to books or make calls at the same time. Once I get on the plane, I put on compression socks (Adidas makes good compression gear), which helps with circulation, as well.
Adjust to your new time zone ASAP
If I’m flying west to east (for example, from my home in Las Vegas to a tournament in Europe), I book a red-eye so I can sleep on the plane and arrive in the morning. I take melatonin, drink chamomile tea, skip the in-flight dinner and go straight to sleep. When I arrive, I immediately start adjusting to the new time zone. I push myself to stay up that first day—napping will only throw off your body’s clock even more—and stick to my routine, even if it means drinking more coffee than I usually would.