Travel For Work? Here's How To Enjoy Business Travel
I love the opportunity to travel for work. Luckily for me, working in client services means I get to visit places I've never been before, and often times, they become my new favorite destinations (see my Denver guide). I've found the key to making business travel enjoyable is balancing professionalism with down time.
Below, I've compiled tips to help you maximize your work trip and have fun along the way.
BUSINESS TRAVEL TIPS
Dress for the role. Even at the airport. You never know who may show up on the plane with you (clients and coworkers) so you want to make sure you look presentable at all times. Not sure what the dress code is? Ask your colleagues for advice on what's appropriate.
Take a few minutes to get organized. Touch base with the person in charge of booking travel and lodging so you have a clear understanding of your proposed work itinerary AND the team's contact info, especially cell phone numbers. TripIt is a tool I use to organize transportation, lodging, receipts, notes and easily share with stakeholders as necessary. Plus, I love seeing my mileage count go up!
Go the extra mile to book extra amenities like courtesy car services, for group travel whenever possible. This will save you (or whoever is handling expenses) money on taxi’s and Lyft rides.
Despite how busy with work obligations you may be, find one spot to sneak in solo hang time. Perhaps find a cafe to duck into before your work day starts, or sneak in a bubble bath back at your hotel room. The important part is to integrate even the smallest bit of peace and quiet so you don’t stress out while on the road.
Befriend the local bartender at a hotel or restaurant. They will know what’s good in the area and tell you the best secrets of the place you’re visiting. But remember: stay professional; don't get drunk in front of your colleagues or clients.
Find a work buddy to unwind with. If you’re traveling for work in a big group this should be your excuse to bond with a friendly colleague and make the trip more fun. Alternatively, consider extending your work trip to see friends and family if they reside in that city!
Bring petty cash. Cover your ass (and have fun spending it!). I always strive to have $100 just in case. Double check company reimbursement policies, too. More on that here.
Find the central area you’ll be staying throughout your trip and build a “play” list within a few blocks. I like using Foursquare to quickly search and curate activities, especially if friends have visited the same place. Chances are if you’re in town for work you won’t be traveling far from your hotel so research bars, restaurants, cafes, and shops to check out nearby when free time does pop up.
Let me know what tips you use, too!