Do you have some work-related travel coming up that has you wondering if you’ll be able to see more than the airport, your hotel and the boardroom? Getting beyond the beige to experience a touch of local color while earning your livelihood isn’t always easy, but it’s usually not impossible.
Having fun on business trips is achievable – if you follow these few simple tips.
If you have a say in where you stay while traveling for work, consider staying in a part of town with active nightlife, popular museums and attractions or whatever sorts of things float your boat. For example, should you need to be in one of London‘s two financial districts – The City of London or Canary Wharf – for a few days but you’re keen to tuck into the local food scene, consider staying in Shoreditch, where upscale restaurants vie for foodie attention from up-and-coming street food vendors and cutting edge cocktail bars pop-up within a stone’s throw of age-old pubs. Situated on the edge of The City and a short commute away from Canary Wharf, you can prowl Shoreditch for excellent eats once office hours are over.
Stay in an Awesome Hotel
Even if you don’t expect to have much time to explore, you still can try to enjoy your accommodation by choosing an awesome hotel. Maybe you can book a room at a hotel with an amazing spa, acclaimed restaurant, rooftop bar or other features you can access with ease during your downtime. Pushing off to Pittsburgh? The Ace Hotel, set in an old YMCA in the neighborhood of East Liberty, offers select rooms with turntables and curated vinyl and other with acoustic Martin guitars, in addition to more typical amenities and features and an ideal location for visiting nearby attractions.
Can you swing some free time for your lunch and coffee breaks? Need to book a nice dinner with clients in the evening? Gonna want to hearty breakfast or a cup of specialty coffee en route to a meeting? Odds are pretty good if you’re working in an area with lots of other business travelers, there’s going to be plenty of competition cooking up tasty treats for all that hard earned moolah passing by. If a job takes you to downtown Austin, perhaps you can investigate the best breakfast tacos close to where you’ll be in the morning. Boss says be in Beantown? Look into where to the best cafes and coffee roasters are in Boston.
Read the Local Listings
Take some time to browse local listings and events calendars for where you’re heading. You might find one of your favorite bands, comedians or [insert your preferred pastimes, hobbies or form of entertainment here] will be in town when you are. This advice is especially worth noting if you’re off to somewhere with a major sports team – even if you’re not into sports. Let’s say you’re going to be in Oklahoma City. Love the NBA? Maybe you can catch a Thunder home game. Love large concerts? If you’re there off-season or the team’s away, maybe there’s a huge music act taking the stage in the area.
If you can decide which days you travel and you’re interested in exploring the place where you need to go, see if you take your trip over a weekend or maybe even ask if you can take some days off while you’re away. Going to Orlando without going to a theme park would be tragic. Doing D.C. without seeing some of its museums or monuments would border on being unpatriotic.
Go on a Date/Meet New People
Single and solo in an unfamiliar place? Hit the town (and the dating apps) for the chance to mingle with some locals. The chance to hangout with a kind stranger more familiar with the local terrain is a wonderful way to pass some time. And who knows? You might end up locking eyes with your soul mate or at least making a new friend. There’s not need to dine alone in San Francisco when there’s an opportunity to leave a little of your heart there with someone special you might meet.
Heading to your old stomping grounds, the HQ where you used to work, or a destination near to where a friend or family member now lives? As easy as it is to keep in touch online and through social apps with practically everyone in the world, there’s no beating actual face time with the folks who mean the most to us. Got people (and work) in Chicago? Here’s your chance for a catch up for some deep discussion over a few slices of deep dish pizza.
Do you travel a lot for work? What tips to you have for carving out some free time for yourself when shuffling around on the company dime?