Friends and family are always asking me “how do you travel so much?”.
The secret is that I maximize my opportunities to tack sightseeing onto work trips that I take. It helps when I’m sent to interesting locations, certainly, but knowing how to maximize my time while I am there is how I’ve gotten to see so much without having to break the bank.
Since one of the biggest expenses in traveling are flights (and hotels) you can take good advantage of the ones that work bought for you. In most jobs that require you to travel the arrival time and departure time are negotiable, so long as you don’t cost the company any additional money.
Here are tips to help you maximize your travel experiences during work trips:
Tips to Supercharge Your Work Travel
Table of Contents
1. Extend Your Stay
Whenever possible, schedule your meetings to align with weekends, allowing you to add a few extra days for personal exploration.
If you’re visiting a client you can also arrange to work from their office an extra day or two surrounding the crucial meeting. Or find a Hotel with free wifi and ensure it has desk space in the room, or a spacious lobby.
The weekends can be used for exploring the city or arranging day trips, which was a favorite of mine. Organized day trips can help you see more of the area you’re visiting in a very short period of time.
2. Research in Advance
Before your trip, research the destination to identify must-see attractions, local cuisine, and cultural experiences. Create a rough itinerary to make the most of your time.
It can be helpful to focus on your immediate neighborhood, so you don’t spend a tremendous amount of time traveling to and from specific sites. This is especially the case if you’re planning to do most of your activities in the evenings.
3. Use Evenings and Mornings Wisely
After work hours, explore the city by dining at local restaurants, taking evening tours, or attending cultural events. I often used my evenings to find great local cuisine in a desirable neighbor that would allow me to site see as well.
Mornings are equally a great opportunity to explore the city, when everything is quiet and less crowded. You can focus on getting a great local coffee and walking around some of the key sites of interest without any crowds.
4. Prioritize Must-See Sites
Make sure to visit the top attractions first. You can explore lesser-known places during your free time or a return visit.
These trips tend to be short and focused for work, so ensuring that you’re prioritizing key experiences or sites is critical. It’s possible you won’t be able to see everything and will need to be flexible to ensure you’re delivering on your work priorities.
5. Local Cuisine
Sample local dishes and drinks to get a taste of the culture. Ask locals or colleagues for restaurant recommendations.
To sample the most of local cuisine I often eat several light meals to really get opportunities to try a little of everything. I research local restaurants that specialize in breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as seek advice from colleagues.
Getting the Most from Your Work Travel
Remember to balance work responsibilities with leisure activities, so you make the most of your work trips while remaining productive and professional.
It can be easy to get carried away with the idea of visiting everything in the location, but it is critical to remember that you are ultimately there to support your business. It should always take priority, including working late if needed and being flexible with your plans.
My Work Travel Experiences
I was able to find a great Airbnb to work remotely from the Black Forest, and create opportunities to travel through the region during that time.
While visiting Israel for work I was able to extend my stay for a weekend in Israel during Hanukkah, and explore Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
And there have been other trips I’ve not written about (yet):
- Extending a work trip to Athens to include a weekend of exploration
- Extending a work trip to Helsinki to include a weekend, and my partner joined for two days of site seeing
- Using my evening in Dublin to enjoy local cuisine
- While living in London using work trips to New York City to skip home to Massachusetts on the weekend
- Using the evenings of those New York City work trips to site see and sample local cuisine, focusing on walking around the city’s major landmarks