For many employees, business trips are anything but enjoyable. Between the packing, the travel days, the constant meetings, the return travel days, and the unpacking, it can seem like an endless cycle- but it doesn’t have to be. The following tips can take your next business trip from boring to bearable … and maybe even fun!
It all starts with perspective. Okay, so Minnesota isn’t on your bucket list - but now that you have to go there for work, you might as well take advantage of it! Every city has unique places to see and now that you’re scheduled to travel there, it’s time to change your perspective and learn more about your next travel stop. You can use sites such as TripAdvisor to see the most popular attractions, but don’t forget to use your secret insider tool - the people you’ll be meeting with, some of whom are most likely local to the area. Ask for restaurant recommendations, beautiful parks that might be suitable for an evening run, and maybe even a little tour of the city as you drive to lunch from the office. By viewing the destination as a new city to explore, you’ll be more excited to experience a few days there. Going back to a city you’ve been to a million times? Try to find three new things that you’ve never noticed about the city, or ask a local to direct you to a new restaurant that recently opened so you can have a new experience there.
Traveling for work can be lonely, so why not bring along some of your favorite people? Invite your spouse for a getaway - even if you’re in meetings all day, you’ll at least have the evenings to explore, relax, and pretend like you’re on a real vacation together. If you’re lucky enough to have a work conference somewhere kid-friendly, bring the whole family! The hotel room is already paid for so you might as well fill it up! Having your family with you will help ease some of the stress of traveling away from them and it will help make your evenings more fun. You can also see if any friends or extended family members live in or near the city you’re visiting- after-work dinners are a great time to catch up with people you may not otherwise have the opportunity to see!
Business trips can be more enjoyable if you prolong them- the “trip” aspect, not the work aspect. If your travel days happen to fall near a weekend, see if you can spend a few extra days exploring nearby attractions or visiting friends that may live nearby. If the company is paying for your flight or mileage anyways, the cost of this short vacation should only include lodging, activities, and food - getting there is normally the most expensive part anyways! If your family was able to join you on the trip, this is an awesome way to have a mini family vacation.
Remember that the all-important work-life balance does not disappear when you’re on a business trip - if anything, that balance becomes more important! Be sure to take advantage of the various perks that you may come across during your travels. If you’re staying at a hotel, you will most likely have access to onsite amenities such as a gym, a pool, or a spa. You can utilize new exercise equipment, read a book by the pool one evening, or treat yourself to a massage.
While the purpose of a business trip isn’t to have fun, you can still enjoy your time if you have the right perspective and plan accordingly. The world is full of beautiful places, interesting people, and remarkable cultures - try to view your next business trip as your next opportunity to explore!