Whether traveling by car, train or plane, business trips oftentimes include some downtime, even after a conference or between client calls. Although downtime may be limited, look for opportunities to participate in activities or touring to make a business trip feel more like a mini-vacation rather than back-to-back meetings with little time to refresh and come up for air.
According to Global Business Travel Association, U.S. business travel spending will increase by 4.9 percent in 2015 to $302.7 billion and the 2016 outlook anticipates a surge in economic activity and confidence leading to a projection for 5.4 percent growth to $318.9 billion. If you’re one of these frequent business travelers, here are some ways you could turn those trips into something you’d look forward to, as opposed to dread them:
Expand your business network
Ask an office assistant to research monuments or popular sites popular in your destination. Take the time to explore a new city and see what it has to offer. Highlight destinations that are walking distance from the hotel or take a cab to the city center and browse the local shops. In fact, local knowledge may help close the next business deal. Aside from packing your suitcase with your business necessities, be sure to have business productivity apps installed on your smartphone to help ensure you’ve got all the documents you would need for your meetings as well as reminders.
Anthony Volpe, Chief Marketing Officer for TripTogether, recommends that it is by connecting with other entrepreneurs via travel that you can turn the adventure into a networking event. Perhaps another business traveler is looking to explore the same attractions in the same city during the same timeframe. This travel site allows travelers to exchange contact details beforehand and let your assistants coordinate the rest. Entrepreneurship has become more relationship-focused, and making new acquaintances with like-minded people became necessary.
For example, one pair of business colleagues connected via TripTogether.com to take a gondola ride in Venice. Neither would have thought of the experience as singles. But, by having a companion, the experience was truly memorable.
Connect with locals
Find someone local to the city you will be visiting before the trip in order to meet and do what the locals do. Locals can offer the best tips and recommendations such as visiting Canal St Martin in Paris or avoiding tourist traps such as the Tower of Pisa in Italy. Also, travel companion can give you a very helpful advices on best places to eat, night life, local sport, affordable shopping, districts to see or avoid etc. Most important you won’t be lonely, you will be able to share experiences together and make some new friendships. TripTogether.com connects business travelers with local residents to offer unique hometown experiences. These shared discoveries of new experiences, especially abroad, yields a more enriching life.
Be sure to shift to relax mode
Even when your trip tends to be chaotic, find some time to get a relaxing massage at your hotel prior to the intense demands of your business schedule. In most cases, a resort fee is already included and paid for allowing access to hotel amenities. Take advantage of the onsite gym it will help you clear your mind and relax. Relaxation isn’t a luxury on a business trip; it’s crucial for your good performance at work. There’s nothing worse than trying to influence a group of business partners after a long flight. Better yet, take to the outdoors with a brisk walk through a local park or site. A little fresh air after a stale and stuffy airplane ride boosts the mood and helps tackle jet lag.
One traveler found that a meeting was delayed due to the business associate’s flight. Instead of reading emails in a hotel room, she put on a swimsuit and headed for the pool. Emails were returned and phone calls were made in the comfort of a lounge chair before taking a plunge.
Plan your meals ahead
When airline meals aren’t something one would look forward to, be sure to check out the local foods or hotel menu so you may plan your meals accordingly. There’s nothing more unproductive than eating fastfood or takeaways for prior to your meetings.
While racking up airline miles, remember that you are the face of your business. Maintain a healthier, happier and more relaxed experience while traveling on business will reflect positively in the revenue generated by being a road warrior.
Breathe in-breathe out and get ready to bring some pleasure and excitement into your business!