Image source: Flickr - Matt @ PEK
It used to be that business travel was a great adventure and something many employees enthusiastically volunteered for. Now, with lengthy airport security lines, hectic itineraries and shrinking company budgets, business travel has become a necessary evil in the eyes of many corporate employees. If you are lining up your next business trip, here are five ways business travel can actually be made fun again.
Add On Days
Often times, corporate travel departments book scheduled flights without any regard to the traveling employees comfort and that means you could have five layovers or even only a few scarce minutes to spare from landing to your scheduled meeting. If you have some flexibility, consider asking for approval to arrive early or to stay an extra day or two as the flights may be cheaper if you aren't flying during peak business travel times. Instead of that Sunday red eye, come in Saturday morning and enjoy a couple days in your destination. Not only are you able to enjoy exploring a potentially new destination, but you are also well rested for that Monday morning meeting.
Take Advantage of Hotel Amenities
While companies are scrimping on business class airfare, many business travelers still luck out with some pretty fancy corporate digs. Many companies have negotiated rates that work out to less than a walk-in rate at a lower class hotel. If you are stuck traveling for work, you might as well enjoy your hotels amenities. Enjoy the included breakfast in the club lounge, get a massage, check out the state-of-the-art gym or just relax in that rooftop Jacuzzi.
Hire a Guide
If you are on your own in a new destination and short on free time, consider hiring a guide to take you around. Many hotels have recommended guides they use, or do some research ahead of time to check out what local tours are available. Larger cities may offer small, guided walking tours or there are meet-up groups all around the world. A great resource is the website TravBuddy.com. You can connect with travel partners all around the globe for a cup of coffee or some insight into local highlights. There is even a vouching system so you can check out a members rating if you are worried about meeting up with a complete stranger.
Bring Your Significant Other
One of the coolest ways to make business travel fun is to bring your significant other! Since your flight and hotel are paid for, many companies do not mind if you bring your spouse or family. As long as there are no additional charges they are responsible for, a lot of employees use this as a way to enjoy a mini-vacation with their loved ones.
Do Something You Wouldn't Normally Do at Home
Try to make some time for yourself and do something you wouldn't normally get to do at home - maybe attend a sporting event or a live theater production. Take a local cooking class or dine at a fancy restaurant. If you are in a destination known for certain sights or activities, see what day tours or courses are available. Take an introductory scuba diving course or try waterfall rappelling whatever the specialty sport is of the destination you are visiting.
What are some other ways to make traveling for work more fun?