Business trips can seem like an inconvenience for some people. Perhaps there is an issue with being away from family for too long or maybe it’s just a lack of interest in going somewhere for work. However, business trips can turn out to be surprisingly fun experiences. You may get to go to some amazing places, meet new people, and experience things you would have never sought out if you did not have to travel for work purposes.
That said, business trips don’t have to be all about business. If you plan your trip accordingly, you can plan for time before and/or after your work is done to take in some of the local sights, attractions and good food as part of your visit. Below are a few ways to do so and make the most of your time away from home.
Figure Out Who You Will Travel With
The first thing to consider when planning your business trip is if you will be traveling with a coworker or alone. If travelling with a coworker, it’s a good idea to try to coordinate fun things to do together so that you can have a familiar face to explore the new city/town with. Alternatively, if you’re travelling alone, perhaps you can bring your partner or a friend to explore the new area together.
Stay A Little Longer
Once you have your travel companion (or lack thereof) figured out, it’s time to consider how you can stay at the destination for the most days possible. One of the best ways to get some free time to enjoy the local events and attractions is if you have business meetings before and after the weekend. Typically, businesses would rather pay for a couple extra nights in a hotel/Airbnb and meals rather than fly you home and back to your destination again the following week. If that’s the case, you can have two days to simply be a tourist for a while and really explore the local attractions.
After the basic travel arrangements have been finalized, it’s good to spend time learning about all the exciting places you can see while away on business. Some options and considerations are:
- Reach out to the locals you are meeting with before your trip for tips on where to go and eat during your stay.
- Check out different resources online such as Trip Advisor and local blogs to learn what places/attractions other tourists enjoyed visiting and which places they enjoyed eating at. Equally as important is to find out which places, areas and restaurants to avoid.
- If you have a day or two off, it might be worth seeking out locals who offer touring services. In many popular destinations, especially larger cities, you can hire a local resident who will act as your tour guide for the day/night. These services typically are for small groups so you can explore the area you’re visiting with a local and other tourists and that way you will get a chance to see all the spots locals love plus meet other people as well.
- Research local events of interest that will take place during your visit so you can get tickets in advance.
- Stay in a more lively part of town rather than staying as close as possible to where your meetings will be held. This can save you time in the evening by increasing the dining and entertainment options within walking distance.
- If attractions are not within walking distance, check to see if your hotel provides a shuttle service to local hot spots, or if public transit is available. A rental car might appear to be a cost-effective option, but be sure to consider parking fees - which can quickly add up.
Have Enough Room To Bring Back Souvenirs
One final thing to consider so your business trip isn’t all about business is the type of luggage you will take with you. Travelers normally come home with a few more items than they left with, so it’s best to have some extra space in your bag when you leave for your trip.
Of course, traveling everywhere with an oversized suitcase is rarely practical. As a business traveler, you want to remain as efficient as possible. It’s important to minimize potential disruptions throughout your transit, and traveling with just a carry-on is the best way to accomplish this. Stowing a personal-item sized foldable bag in your luggage is the perfect way to bring a little more home - without paying for it.
Take advantage of your business travel to see the world, have some fun and as the song says “stop and smell the roses along the way”. If you do, you will come home with a successful business update to share with your company and a nice set of new memories to keep for a long time to come.