10 Ways To Turn Your Business Trip Into an Adventure
People have been traveling for work since the BC days of the Silk Road and possibly even before that. And while the reasons for business travel may have changed over the millennia, one thing remains the same: It can be tough to balance work and play when the purpose of your trip is ... well, work.
But just because you're on a work trip doesn't mean you can't have any fun. With a bit of planning and thinking outside the box, you can turn even the most mundane business trip into an awesome adventure.
1) Ask Your Coworkers
If you're traveling to a new destination for work, chances are that some of your colleagues have been there before. So why not pick their brains for suggestions on what to do? They may have some great recommendations for off-the-beaten-path experiences that you wouldn't find in a guidebook.
If no one in your office has been to your destination before, don't worry. The internet is a wealth of information. Websites like Tripadvisor, Viator, and Atlas Obscura are great resources for finding unique activities in any destination. You can also check out a few travel blogs for some ideas and insights. To find these, type "blog: travel to _____" into the Google search bar and fill in the blank with your destination.
2) Adjust Your Itinerary
Your HR department or travel coordinator will likely book your trip without much input from you. So don't be surprised if your itinerary includes a long redeye with two layovers and an arrival time of 8 AM, only to realize that your hotel room isn't ready until 3 PM. Now you have hours to kill while suffering through the worse jet lag of your life, and all of this before taking your first meeting later that day.
This is why speaking to your boss or whoever is in charge of your itinerary is so important. You need to make sure that your travel details work for you, not against you. Your boss or HR may be open to making changes to your itinerary if it means you'll be more productive and rested for the trip.
3) Book Around the Weekend
If your business trip falls during the week, see if you can tack on a few days to include the weekend. This will give you more time to explore your destination without the pressure of work hanging over your head. You might even use these days to check in with your mental health and take the necessary time to relax and recharge before heading back to the office.
The best part? Those extra weekend days won't deduct any PTO or vacation days you may have accrued, so you can save them for when you need them.
4) Opt for a "Unique Stay" Accommodation
Hotel rooms can be stale and uninspiring, especially when the person in charge of booking your room went for the cheapest option possible. There's no need to suffer through a bad business trip when there are so many unique and interesting places to stay all over the world.
If you have the option to choose your accommodation, try booking a place through Airbnb, Vrbo, or a similar service that offers "unique stay" options. This could be a functional container home in a trendy neighborhood or a snazzy boat rental docked in the heart of the city. Whatever you choose, just make sure it has the amenities you need to be comfortable and productive on your trip. This includes a reliable wifi connection, a comfy bed, and enough space to spread out your work.
5) Pack Light
Unless your business trip includes a car rental, do yourself a favor: Skip the rolling luggage, as these make navigating stairs, cobblestone streets, and other obstacles a pain.
Instead, opt for a travel backpack system that includes a detachable daypack. This will make it easy to move around and explore without having to lug a bunch of stuff with you everywhere you go. If you need to pack a business suit or other formal attire for your trip, consider using a garment bag that can be easily slung over your shoulder. This selection by Travel + Leisure can help you keep your wardrobe wrinkle-free as you make your way from one destination to the next.
6) Use Jetlag to Your Advantage
If you're traveling to a different time zone for your business trip, there's a good chance you'll experience jetlag. But instead of fighting it, use it to your advantage by getting up early and exploring the city before everyone else is awake. This is the perfect time to go for a run or walk along the waterfront, take some photos, or just enjoy the peace and quiet of your location.
On the other hand, if your jetlag has you feeling exhausted in the morning but wide awake in the middle of the night, use that time to your advantage as well. Many cities are livelier at night, so this is the perfect time to hit up a local bar or club. Just don't miss your meeting the next morning!
7) Take Your Meetings Outside
If your business trip includes a lot of meetings, try to take them outside as much as possible. This will not only help you get some fresh air and Vitamin D, but it will also give you a chance to explore your surroundings. Make sure to bring along some handy travel accessories like a portable charger and a stain remover pen, plus plenty of business cards, as you never know who you'll meet while on your business travel adventure.
8) Stick To a Schedule
One of the best things about traveling for work is that you know exactly when you'll have free time in between meetings, conferences, and other business engagements. This gives you the perfect opportunity to plan some fun activities and make the most of your business trip.
If you're traveling solo, consider taking a cooking class or going on a food tour. If you're looking for something more adventurous, try zip-lining, rock climbing, or biking along a scenic trail. Some laid-back activities to consider include visiting a museum, exploring a historic neighborhood, or taking a leisurely stroll through a nearby park.
*Important*: Try to reserve these activities online and well in advance of your trip, as they can fill up quickly, especially during peak travel times. Also, pay attention to the activity's duration time and cancellation policy. You don't want to be stuck in an activity that lasts longer than your free time or end up getting charged if you get dragged into an impromptu meeting.
9) Add Off-the-Beaten-Path Experiences
Let's face it: You can do your best to stick to a schedule, but chances are, meetings and phone calls will be rescheduled a bit (or a lot). Rather than getting frustrated, fill in your newly found free time with some of the local area's hidden gems that are off the beaten path.
Take Rome, for instance. Rather than waiting in line for hours to see the Colosseum, the Sistine Chapel, or the Pantheon, use your extra time to visit the less-congested Baths of Caracalla and ruins of Largo di Torre Argentina. These are just a few examples of the many hidden treasures that Rome has to offer, and you can find gems like these in cities all over the world.
10) Keep Your Eyes Peeled for Local Events
If you want to make the most of your business trip, be on the lookout for local events. This could be anything from a farmers market to a concert in the park. Not only will this give you something fun to do, but it's also a great way to meet new people and learn about the local culture.
Business trips don't have to be all work and no play. With a little help from your HR department, some careful planning, and the right mindset, you can turn your work trip into an amazing adventure that you'll never forget.
Just remember to pack your sense of adventure along with your business cards and you'll be all set!
Do you have any tips for turning a business trip into an adventure? Leave a comment below!
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