Business travel is notoriously tedious. You spend hours getting to a new and exciting destination, only to spend most of the time in a conference room sunning under fluorescents. But your business trip doesn’t have to be limited to long lines at Logan Airport and small talk with your boss. Here are a tips for making the most of work travel. And don’t forget to save your receipts!
Maximize Your Time
See if you can tack an extra day or a weekend onto your trip. Your company may not foot the bill for the extra night of lodging, but often you can still utilize the discounted business rate. Better yet, find an Airbnb for a night or two to really delve into the local lifestyle. And if you plan ahead, the airfare for an extended stay might cost the company even less than the original itinerary.
If your free time is limited, scrutinize your schedule in advance for breaks. Utilizing small blocks of time, like taking a walk around the city before your morning meeting or getting coffee at a recommended café instead of that popular chain, can allow you to see a lot more of your destination. Schedule your flights early or late so you can squeeze in a few extra hours of exploring.
Research Hot Spots
Figure out what sights you’d like to see and check local calendars for happenings. If you know what’s close to your hotel or meeting spot, you have a better chance of being able to experience it. Reading local blogs and scrolling through Instagram geotags is a great way to find activities that might not appear in tourist recommendations.
Tap Into the Hotel
While getting off-site is key to seeing a new city, you can also enjoy the amenities your hotel offers. Use the pool, spa, or gym as an opportunity to de-stress. After all, you can still answer e-mails and hop on conference calls poolside.
That said, don’t rely on room service alone. It’s tempting to want to eat in after a long workday, but every meal offers a chance to explore your surroundings. Whether it’s shrimp and grits, deep-dish pizza, or Kansas City barbecue, take advantage of regional dishes.
Plan for Your Coworkers
Business trip itineraries often include dinners, drinks, and other off-hours obligations with your colleagues. You can take the lead by recommending a local favorite for dinner or a unique cocktail bar you found in your research. You may even be able to schedule meetings beachside or with mountain views, depending on where your travel takes you.
Break Away from the Pack
When possible, go out on your own to explore. Taking time away from your coworkers will make it easier to meet locals and to venture off the beaten path. Plus, physically separating your leisure time from your business time allows you to maintain professionalism. You don’t want to be that person who treats a business trip like spring break.