Traveling for business is a part of many people’s careers. While they’re not usually thought of as a vacation because of their purpose, business trips sometimes involve interesting locations, venues, and upscale hotel accommodations that can be enjoyed during your down time. If you’re unable to travel other times of the year because of finances or family obligations, these can be great opportunities to squeeze in mini-vacations that are more affordable since the largest expenses (transportation and lodging) are paid for by your employer. The next time you have to travel for work, try a few of these tips to turn a mandatory business trip into a relaxing, adventurous vacation.
Bring the Family
If it’s possible, why not bring along your wife and kids? If you’re not married, bring your parents or a sibling you’d like to catch up with. You’ll be responsible for their airfare, bus or train tickets, but if you have frequent flyer miles accumulated from business or personal travel, you’ll save even more by using these to purchase discounted or free seats. Even though you won’t be able to spend all day with your family, there may be windows of time you can enjoy their company. Meanwhile, they can enjoy the hotel and venture out to explore the area without you. The major savings when you bring your family is the hotel room: unless you’re charged more for occupancy or have to upgrade to a larger room, it’s already covered as a travel expense.
Get Up Early
It’s great to sleep in, especially if you don’t have an early meeting, but morning is the perfect time to enjoy the local landscape and sites free of tourists and traffic. Take a jog, go for a walk, and take pictures as if you were on a sightseeing tour. This will also allow you to scope out interesting-looking restaurants or shops to check out when you’re done with work for the day.
Enjoy the Hotel Amenities
If you’re used to staying in hotels, the pools and hot tubs might seem boring. Don’t discount the rejuvenating power of a quick swim, a relaxing soak, or sunbathing in a remote spot. If there are other services you don’t normally enjoy at home, such as spa treatments, salons, or massages, treat yourself to one or two.
Get Outside As Much As Possible
Even if you have work to do on your laptop while at the hotel, you can still take advantage of great weather or scenery by sitting outside and enjoying the sunshine. Eat your meals on the patio as much as possible and walk to nearby restaurants and destinations instead of driving.
Be a Tourist
If time allows, a tour bus is one of the most efficient ways to learn about and see more of the area. If you can’t take a bus, but have a rental car, drive around a little instead of spending all your time walled up in the hotel. Rather than ordering room service or sticking to familiar chain restaurants, check out the local cuisine by eating at a different place each night. Lastly, don’t forget to grab a few souvenirs to take home. You might find some unique gifts you wouldn’t have found otherwise.
Bookend Your Trip with Vacation Time
When business trips are in particularly interesting or beautiful locations, talk with your boss about adding a few vacation days on either end of your trip so you can enjoy it more. You’ll be responsible for accommodation the days you’re not working, but transportation is already covered. You can even arrange to have your family meet you and enjoy a mini getaway.
There’s no reason you can’t enjoy the journey just because you are traveling primarily for business. What are ways you’ve maximized business travel for relaxation and fun?