There’s little more frustrating to a diehard traveler than being sent on a highly scheduled business trip that leaves little to no time for actual travel. Especially in iconic tourist destinations, it’s difficult to watch as others excitedly get ready for their fun day of sightseeing as you double-check your laptop bag to ensure you’ve got everything you’ll need. But clever travelers don’t let a busy slate of meetings get in the way of fitting some fun time into their business trips. More people are now scheduling “bleisure travel,” a combination of business travel and vacation time in the same trip.
Here are five tips for getting some travel into your next business trip.
Add Extra Time
The easiest way to fit travel into a business trip is to tack on a day or two before or after your trip (especially if that includes a weekend!). Even if you can only fly in the day before, arrange your flight for early in the morning, drop your bags off at the hotel, and head out ASAP. You might be surprised how much you can fit into three-quarters of a day if you’re motivated enough.
The best way to make the most of your time on a bleisure trip is to know exactly what you want to do and where those attractions are located in relation to where you’ll be. By mapping out a plan of action before you arrive, you won’t waste valuable downtime trying to figure out what to do during your pockets of free time.
Take a Walk or Run
A great way to get the feel of the place you’re visiting is to hit the streets, either by walking or, if you’re a runner, on a jog. Jogging might only be doable in the morning or late evening, but if you’ve got lunch free, why not go for a quick walk? Look for a nearby park, hit the downtown area, or choose some streets at random. (Use common sense though; if it doesn’t look safe, don’t go.)
Skip the Hotel Restaurant
No matter where you travel for work, you should try to get in at least one meal at a local restaurant. If you’ve got business colleagues in the area, ask them for a recommendation, get them to take you out for a quick bite, or, best of all, wrangle an invite to their home for dinner.
Skip the Conference/Airport Hotel Altogether
If it’s feasible, skip the generic conference/airport hotel altogether and opt for an extended stay hotel (if you’re staying long enough), an Airbnb, or, if you’ve got friends in the area, someone’s guest bedroom. All of these will give you the chance to see a part of the city you might not have otherwise gotten to see, force you out to buy your own groceries from a local shop, and maybe even mingle with the residents.
How have you found ways to fit travel into your business trips? Share your bleisure travel tips in the comments below.
More from SmarterTravel:
- The 10 Best Airports for Business Travel
- The 10 Best Cities for Business Travel
- The 10 Best Flight Search Sites for Cheap Airfare
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. This story was written by Dori Saltzman.