Do you like to mix business with pleasure? We’re not talking the seedy sort, simply making the most of every business travel opportunity. Travelling for business can be a burden or a bonus depending on how you look at it and whether or not you can top or tail it with a little adventure of your own.
On the upside, when you travel for business you often get to visit new destinations and experience new cultures, stay in nicer hotels than you may ordinarily pay for and you get to eat out at every meal. But this is glamourising it a bit. The reality for most people is that it can be lonely, tiring and in no way at all like a holiday. With that said, we’ve got some tips for making your business travel a bit more holidayish.
Get out of your hotel at any opportunity
Let’s be honest. A 5 star hotel is pretty much the same in any country you go. So whilst you could be in Thailand, if you just stay in your hotel apart from your business meetings, you won’t get a blast of culture – horns beeping, the smells of street cooking or the exchange with a friendly local when you buy something from them. In particular this means don’t eat meals there. Even though they are convenient, a 5 star hotel breakfast will do nothing to invigorate your day. These hotels are meant to be neutral and pleasant but get out there and shock your system awake with the thrill of walking around the block to find a local café / warung / street vendor and tasting something new.
Top or tail it with a few days either side
If you have the chance, ask your boss (or if you are the boss just do it) for a couple of days off (or even better – a week) either side of your trip. If you’re in Europe you could hop on a train to a new country or a new part of the country you are in. Or you could make the most of your flight’s stop over city and explore that. It seems a waste to go so far and not get a little extra out of it.
Take your partner
Being away from home isn’t so bad if you can take your partner. Most companies allow the partner to pay for their own flights but stay in the company paid for accommodation. You might even be able to use some of those frequent flyer points you’ve racked up from all your other business trips to pay for their flight.
Make every little part of your trip count
On the way to meetings, talk to your cab driver to find out more about the country and the culture you’re in. Even if you can’t speak the language you can usually use a few words and gestures – or use the opportunity to learn some new words. Look at the scenery, take in the sights and sounds with wonder as if you were on holiday instead of business. If you have a spare hour, take yourself off and do something touristy. Don’t just waste it looking at the internet or catching up with the news. If something important happened, you’ll be sure to be told about anyway.
Try new foods
This is a no brainer but don’t eat what you would normally eat back home. The only time you should ever do that overseas is when you’ve been away for a long time and crave something familiar. If you are at a hosted lunch or dinner meeting, ask your hosts to recommend some local cuisine for you to try.
Take a walk
Not only will a walk give you some exercise, it will be another opportunity for you to explore your surrounds and momentarily take you out of business mode and into holiday mode. Even if it’s only for 15 minutes. Even if you’re really tired. It will freshen you up both physically and mentally.
The above are just some of the things we recommend to help you make the most of a business trip and make it feel a bit more like a holiday. We specialise in mixing business with pleasure so call us on +61 (08) 6382 5000 to see what we can add to your next one.
Article by Nicola Billens
Nicola Billens is an experienced traveller, having visited all the continents (except Antarctica) over the last 20 years. She’s lived in France, England, Austria and New Zealand and spent many years and many dollars experiencing what this wonderful world has to offer.