Whether you are a road warrior or you only travel for work sparingly, there are ways in which to make business travel fun. Rather than let boring work related activities get you down, there are ways to take advantage of it and enjoy some sightseeing at the same time.
Timing – Unless you’re traveling for less than a day, your arrival and departure times are key to making the most out of a business trip. Make sure you arrive as early as possible and leave as late as is feasible. That way you build in the maximum amount of time possible, giving you extra opportunities to see areas of interest.
Research – Before leaving, do the same type of travel research you would for a personal vacation. Since you probably won’t have a lot of time to sightsee, you want to make sure you are prepared when the opportunity arises and that you see the best the city has to offer. Even if you’re traveling to a place that holds little personal interest, look up the recommended activities and you might be surprised at what you find.
Be curious – Sometimes when we travel for work, we do so wearing blinders. We drive to the hotel and spend countless hours in drab, windowless conference rooms. When you first arrive though, take the time to walk around the area and explore what the neighborhood has to offer. On a work trip last year I was pleasantly surprised to see that the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum was just two blocks away from a conference I was attending. On a morning when I had free time, I ran over to the museum for a quick tour, something I would never have thought to do otherwise.
Get out there – Believe me, I know that work travel is exhausting. Not only is the process of travel itself tiring, but the purpose of the trip is work. But if you’re really interested in using your free time to sightsee, then you have to be energized and ready to go. No matter the type of work trip, there are always down times and at least a few opportunities to slip away and do something fun. Rather than head back up to the hotel room for a nap, be ready to use this time to see more of the city.
Trip add-ons – If you’re traveling somewhere really fun or interesting, see if you can add some personal time to the trip, at your own expense of course. One of the benefits is that you don’t have to pay for airfare, only the extra nights accommodations. For example, last year I attended a conference in Hawaii. Instead of flying home after the end of my work commitment, I planned to take time off and spent another week in paradise. Since my company paid for the flight, I only had to worry about the hotel and incidentals. Even if you aren’t flying to Hawaii, there will be many great opportunities to piggyback a personal trip onto a work-related one.
Traveling for work can often times be boring, tiring and cumbersome. But if you plan it right, it can also be a great opportunity for personal travel experiences.