I'm fortunate enough to work for a company that not only empowers me to travel for pleasure, but also allows me to travel on occasion for work. My job has taken me to Las Vegas, Chicago and San Francisco, and I've found that when I'm traveling for work, it never quite feels like work.
Just this week, I took my first day trip to San Francisco. Even though I was only physically in the city for about six hours - and most of that time was spent working - I was still able to find just a little bit of time to wander the downtown area, subconsciously following the herd towards the Embarcadero as the commuters rushed to make the ferries that would usher them across the bay.
Each time I've traveled for work, I've managed to find some personal time to explore the city I'm in. I attribute that to a few things that I always keep in mind:
- Take advantage of your fee time, no matter how short - its easy to mindlessly resort to skimming Facebook or getting lost in your Instagram feed when you have ten or fifteen minutes to spare, but in that time you could walk to a coffee shop - or even just around the block! If you want to see the city, you can always make time to see it.
- Extend your stay if you're able - Absorb the cost of a hotel or Airbnb in order to extend your stay over the weekend, or even just overnight if possible. If flight prices jump up should you decide to stick around and you employer will no longer pay for the return, just consider that paying for a one-way flight is still cheaper than round-trip.
- Ask to try the locals' favorite restaurants - If you're sitting in meetings all day and will be ordering in lunch, ask if the group can order lunch from a restaurant or cafe that's considered the "locals' favorite." Even if you don't have time to explore, there's always time to eat!
- Power through the exhaustion - After working all day, it can be tempting to collapse into your fluffy hotel bed and order room service, but once you're off work, there's a whole city to see! When working a trade show in Las Vegas I wanted nothing more than to rest my feet and watch Bob's Burgers in my hotel room, but I was so glad I decided to venture out with my coworkers to The Wicked Spoon buffet and later the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan.
For me, work travel is always a pleasure - even in the instances of long days, delayed flights and mental exhaustion. There's always a way to make the most of your experience, no matter where a job may take you. How do you - how how would you make the most of work travel?