Finding time for leisure travel is often difficult, but most of us travel for business on a pretty regular basis. Sadly, the latter doesn’t inspire the kind of anticipation and glee that a leisure holiday does! Business trips are usually characterized by:
- Early morning flights
- Boring hotels
- Packed days and short stays
But does that mean that you can’t experience anything in your host city during a work trip? Of course you can. It just takes some planning and dedication. Here are 10 tips that always work for us:
Make your flight as comfortable as possible.
If you arrive weary and jet-lagged, you’ve lost most of day one. Prevent this by making your flight as comfortable as humanly possible. Put on socks and eye masks for some shut-eye on long haul flights, and dress warmly. Stay hydrated, and request a blanket if you need one. Carry anti-pressure medication if you’re sensitive to air pressure, and also noise-cancelling headphones. Do ensure your phone is well stocked with good music.
Book a central hotel with an executive lounge.
A central location means that you’ll be within walking distance of the main attractions in the city centre. That saves you time and energy when you want to do some sightseeing after work. We also recommend hotels with executive lounges such as Hilton Frankfurt City Centre, because they are great places to unwind, offer a less crowded breakfast environment, and usually serve refreshments at any time of the day.
Maximise mornings and evenings.
The bulk of your day is going to be spent at the office, but mornings and evenings are your own. And if you wake up early and push yourself to go exploring in the evenings, you can really make them count. Grab that hour or two before the sun sets and make your way to an epic monument or church. Post-sunset, you can stroll along the river (if the city has one), marvel at the night lights, or head to a bar.
Go for morning jogs or walks.
Mornings are the best times to discover a new destination. The crowds are absent, the weather is beautiful, and the day is full of hope. Put on your jogging suit and go for a walk or sprint around your hotel. Head to a nearby park or simply jog through the streets to take in the sights of the city.
Don’t have dinner at your hotel.
Obviously, you don’t have a choice when it comes to breakfast, but having dinner at your hotel is just too depressing. It’s the one meal where you can try out new restaurants, and sample the local cuisine. If you’re a fan of Michelin restaurants, make your reservation beforehand. You could also have a street food night if your stomach can take it.
Do a guided walking tour of the city.
Most cities have free walking tours that cover the prime attractions in a span of one or two hours. You’ll get a feel for the city, learn about its history, and also get a chance to chat with others in the group. Since these tours are typically short, you can easily do them before or after work.
Ring up friends or acquaintances in the city.
If you know someone in the city you’re travelling to, use the opportunity to catch up. Perhaps, they could show you around the city, or you could discover great restaurants together. At any rate, you would have refreshed a friendship that could mean much sometime in life. If they can’t spare the time, do ask for recommendations.
Extend your trip over the weekend.
If there’s a weekend before or after your trip, don’t let it go! Book your flights accordingly, and enjoy the extra two days at your disposal. You can see most of a city’s main attractions over 48 hours. Check out our quick city guides to Berlin, Frankfurt, Dusseldorf, and Cologne for ideas.
Don’t over-indulge in the nights.
It can be pretty tempting to have a third or fourth drink after a day full of tiresome conferences, but if you give in, you’ll be out of action the next day. Not only will you lose the beautiful morning, you’ll also present a poor front at work. Do yourself a favour and stick to a drink or two. And definitely ditch late-night parties.
Consider a connecting flight to explore an extra city.
While returning home, try and book a flight with a stopover in an interesting location. You could stay in this city for a night or two if it’s the weekend, or make the most of a few hours with a bit of sight-seeing. Many airports such as Changi Airport in Singapore offer free city tours – so take advantage of that.
A business trip is still a trip, and a golden chance to discover a new destination. And the saddest thing that anyone ever said was that they didn’t step out of their hotel or office even once. Don’t be that person!
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