Business Traveler Woes And How To Beat Them

I am one of the fortunate ones who have the opportunity to do international travel for work. The friends and family that I “leave behind” to go off to what they consider exotic locals rarely hear that I am traveling for work … they just hear the travel part and think I have the most fantastic job in the world.

Truth be told, when you are traveling for work, you are really working. The sightseeing at most consists on the travel to and from my hotel room to my meeting room. I take these forever long flights, have these multiple layovers, and the most I have to show for it are blurry pictures being taken from the car to my next meeting destination.

So I have learned the hard way that if I want to be able to take advantage of my work trips and be able to explore my destinations, I have to make that part of my priorities, just like I make the work my priority. So I share with you, my fellow, busy business traveler (say that three times fast), some tips I have learned so I can have a little more joy for my journey and less burn out on the road:

1. Save some of your personal days or vacation days and tag them on to one of your business trips. What is the point of being in Tanzania, Texas, or Tahiti if you cannot take a couple of days for yourself to enjoy and explore!

2. Ask the local people you are meeting with what places/sites they would recommend for you to see. Ask how can you be immersed in their part of the world for a little bit—for example, where do the people “in the know” go to shop and eat? Tell them how much time you have as “free time” and ask what you can do to make the most of it. If you could even send them an email beforehand asking these questions, you can research their responses before you leave and make a plan of attack.

Read the rest of this post at DivineCaroline.
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    • Lastango

      Frankly, business travel is a crappy experience. Good for Caroline if she has time to actually pursue the recommendations she offers, but for most of us that sort of thing isn’t going to happen. Here are some other thoughts:

      – plan the business involvement to end on Friday afternoon, so you can lay over in the city during the weekend and fly back home Sunday night. Pro: you get almost two days for some new experiences; long weekend gets you three. Cons: You’ll be footing the bill for that fancy downtown hotel for two nights. You’ll be bushed when you get home, just in time for another week. Only works if you don’t have children.

      – do some web surfing before you go, to find out what’s happening. Check for offbeat stuff too, like public lectures at the university, or that Van Gogh exhibit that won’t come to your town.

      – get a portable hobby. On the road, Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood does watercolors. Some NFL players do needlepoint. (The road life of an athlete during season is awful.) Perhaps you have a knack for poetry or creative writing.

      BTW, it’s easy to feel inferior to some idea of a superperson who you think is living a full life when traveling. The reality is that, most days, all anyone wants to do is go back to the hotel, eat dinner, watch a bit of TV or maybe ride an exercise bike, and go to bed. So don’t be too hard on yourself if that’s all that happens when you’re doing the road warrior thing.