Traveling, for the most part, is something fun. However, when you talk about traveling for business, it tends to lean more toward the more mundane or even more tedious side of things. Sure, you may get an all-expense paid trip to wherever you’re going. You also get to work in an environment that’s not your cubicle in the office. However, you’re still there for work, and you may find it a little challenging to carve out some time for relaxation in your packed schedule.
With some careful planning and mindfulness, however, you can easily turn your business trip into a mini vacation. Here are some tips on how to do just that.
Arrive Early or Leave Late (or Both)
One way to squeeze in some vacation time in your business trip is to simply make time for it. File a vacation leave a day or two before or after the business trip. Of course, this is still subject to the approval of your boss, if you’re an employee. It’s great if you can haggle for time for both before and after your trip, but it’s better to arrive early if you’re made to choose. You won’t have to plunge directly into work, and because you’ve had some time to relax, you’ll be more focused and productive.
Choose Strategically Located Hotels
There are two ways you can go about choosing accommodations when you go on a business trip. First, you can choose a place that’s close to where you’ll work for business. For example, if you’re attending a conference or workshop at a hotel, check if you can book a room there or at least a neighboring hotel. This way, you don’t have to tire yourself going to and from the location. The other way is to choose accommodations near tourist destinations. For example, North Pointe Residences in Quezon City is very near malls, parks, and even museums. The choice depends on what kind of vacation you want and, obviously, where your business trip is taking you.
Don’t Stick to Conventional Places
If you’re traveling to attend a conference or a similar event, then you don’t have much choice about the venue. However, if you’re travelling for the purpose of meeting clients or business partners, you don’t have to stick to restaurants or hotel meeting rooms. Why not go for a mani-pedi session or visit a museum, instead? You can even invite the person you are meeting for a morning jog around the park if they are a fitness buff. Who knowns, you may end up scoring more brownie points if you appeal to their interests.
Visit a Friend or a Loved One
Sometimes, your business trip takes you somewhere close to where a friend or a loved one might live–someone you haven’t seen in a long time. This is the perfect opportunity to visit them and catch up. They’re also likely to be able to give you more insider information about the best things to do in their neighborhood for when you have some alone time.
Ditch the Starbucks
For those who can’t last a day without coffee, why not try something new? Skip the chain coffee shops for the duration of your business trip, and look for a place that serves a different kind of brew. You may end up finding a new go-to place for your caffeine fix. You’ll also be giving local entrepreneurs a boost in their business, even if it’s just for a day or two.
Don’t Go to All the Parties (If You Don’t Want To)
Sometimes, your business trips actually come with a few hours (sometimes even a day or two) dedicated to parties and networking. It’s a good opportunity to expand your list of contacts and develop rapport with potential partners, no doubt. However, you aren’t obligated to attend ALL the parties. If you want to take a break and sleep, or if you want to explore on your own, then feel free to do so. If your colleagues are inviting you to some after-conference party that you’re too tired to attend, don’t feel like you’re a kill-joy if you decline. The time after you’ve completed work for the day is your own, so feel free to do what you want with that time.
Pack Leisure Items
Bring a book, a portable game console, or even your latest knitting or crocheting project. Whatever it is that you do in your spare time, as long as it’s not something bulky that would require extra baggage space, bring it with you. When you’re doing something you love, you won’t feel that everything is all about work, work, work.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, indeed. With these simple tips, you can turn a serious business trip into something more enjoyable.