December 1 2009 by Claudia Kunkel
I've been fortunate enough over the past few years to either travel on business for myself or tag along with my husband on his business trips which have taken us to places around the world I never thought I would see. I'm a lucky woman. My last trip for work to California had me thinking about how to combine a business trip with pleasure. It is one of those perks that make you feel like you've had an extra vacation added in to your year.
Trying to mix business travel with pleasure can be a tricky balancing act, but with some careful planning and a willingness to step out of your comfort zone, I found it can be done.
It doesn't matter what city or country you're traveling to, plan ahead. When I find out what city or country I'm going to be traveling to, I spend some time online checking out the activities, events and local highlights that might be worth exploring. If I'm traveling to another country or even a different time zone, I try to arrive a day early just to get over jet lag, get some exercise and a good night's rest. You'll be amazed at how much better you'll feel and have a clear mind heading into your work week.
When I have the flexibility, I try to schedule meetings early in the day leaving time in the late afternoon to visit museums, art galleries or any other local attractions that highlight the city. If possible, I try to meet my clients in or near the museum or galleries to change up the tone of my meeting. Or, I have flipped my day by scheduling the meetings for late in the day and spend a few hours in the morning checking out the local sights. I personally love my morning and afternoon coffee, so finding a local café with great coffee is one of my personal must-dos, whether it's by myself or meeting a client.
Something else I like to do when I know where I'm traveling is look up restaurants and find out which ones get the rave reviews on local blogs or forums. When meeting clients for lunch or dinner, decide which restaurant you'd like to dine at and make reservations in the one that sounded great on the reviews. Kills two birds with one stone!
My husband and I have found a great way to add some fun to our business trip is to take along our family and arrive at our destination either the weekend before or after our meetings. Some of the cost of the trip is already a part of the business trip such as the airfare and hotel stay. It's all in the planning.
Traveling, whether for business or pleasure, can always be turned into an adventure with some good planning and a willingness to explore new places and faces. It works for us.
What tips have you used to balance a business trip with some getaway time? Leave a comment and let us know.