Let’s face it, as exciting as it may sound, a business trip can be draining, hectic and anything but fun or relaxing, especially if you take them frequently. Crammed schedules, travel delays and lack luster accommodations can leave you wanting, and very possibly needing, a relaxing vacation. Here are some tips to make even the most hectic business trip feel a little more like a vacation getaway:
Planning the Trip:
- Choose a Hotel with Great Amenities: If you have the ability to choose your hotel during your business trip, opt for one that provides extra amenities to guests, such as a fitness center, spa or massage services, a pool and jacuzzi, room service, and others. During your stay, take advantage of these amenities so that you get some R&R.
- Pick an Optimal Room: Be choosy about the hotel room you book. Look for those that you might book on a vacation. For instance, consider getting a room with a balcony or view, a tub or jacuzzi, and extra space to make your stay more comfortable.
- Tack On Vacation Days: Instead of returning home right away, consider adding a day or two at the end of your trip to take a breather. If your destination is underwhelming, consider taking a flight that requires a stopover in a more interesting destination. See the sights, have a nice dinner or meet up with friends in the area to create a short, relaxing vacation. Even if you have to pay for the extra hotel nights, your airfare should still be covered. Further, business hotels offer major bargains for weekend stays.
- Take a Spouse, Friend or Partner: If you are married, consider taking your spouse with you on your business trip. If you are single, ask a friend to come. Obviously, your spouse or friend will have to spend some time alone when you are working, but they’ll be there to enjoy your free time with you. If your spouse works, have them meet you at the end of your business trip and tack on a couple of days so that you can enjoy a weekend vacation.
- Pack Smartly: When packing for the business trip, don’t limit yourself only to work clothes. Be sure to pack items you might bring for leisure travel, such as a bathing suit, workout clothes, comfortable shoes, and casual clothes.
At Your Destination:
- Schedule Strategically: Try scheduling all of your meetings in the mornings so that you have some “flex” time in the afternoons and evenings. This will allow you to explore your local area, make dinner plans, book a massage or plan any activity that makes your business trip feel a little more like leisure travel.
- Research the Area: Beyond restaurants, find out what else is in the area that you might enjoy. Maybe the area has some great museums, walking tours, historical sites or events. Also, look for local festivals that might be of interest. Make plans at night to take advantage of what the local area has to offer.
- Access People Sites: Find online sites where you can meet people at your destination. Meetup is a pretty well-known/established site. You can find hundreds of different events/groups. The best part is that you don’t have to be a local to participate.
Make Work Somewhat Playful:
- Make Dinner Entertaining: Turn a client dinner into half work and half play by making a reservation at a fun restaurant. Prior to your business trip, research local restaurants, hot spots and venues that may have live music at night or that may be showing a big game you or your client might be interested in watching.
- Team Events: One partner I worked for was extremely supportive of team dinners and morale boosting activities. He would build in monthly events that allowed us to let off steam and enjoy some down time. We sang at local karaoke bars, competed at laser tag, attended baseball games and even went on hay rides. Find local activities that you and your team or client can enjoy.
Although a business trip can’t fully replace a vacation, try some of these tips on your next business trip and see if it feels little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.