The life of a business traveler can be exhausting. Days and weeks away from home, family, and friends combined with the tiring realities of travel can leave you feeling drained. One idea to make this lifestyle easier is to combine work and pleasure. It can be a simple matter to extend that business trip to allow for sightseeing and vacation time.
There are a few simple things to keep in mind when adding a few extra days of holiday onto a business trip. Although not every city might seem ripe for personal exploration, you may be surprised to find that nearly every town has something to see, whether it be a small, local museum, a gorgeous covered bridge, or a unique gastronomic treat. Next time you have a work trip coming up, perhaps it’s time to consider extending your trip to add on some fun.
Check with Your Employer
The first point should be obvious make sure extending your business trip works out for your employer and vacation time. If short on time, many employers will even make exceptions to allow for a day or two unpaid. It is important to keep in mind any tax issues that could arise. The IRS has plenty of rules and regulations, of course, for what qualifies as a business expense, so caution is the word of the day.
The Best in Business Class
One perk for many business class travelers is the ability to fly business class. When extending that business trip for a day or two of holiday, one consideration is the flight to or from your destination with your travel companion. For that very special occasion, maybe the entire family can fly business class, or even splurge on something as special as a private charter jet!
Stay at Your Business Hotel or Change Locations?
Business hotels have a lot going for them. They are generally well-located, offer many amenities, and come with the name of a big chain hotel. In some cities, such as New Orleans, such a hotel may work out perfectly for extending your trip. The New Orleans convention center and the hotels surrounding it happen to be located within walking distance to the French Quarter, street musicians, and gourmet food the city is known for, and many offer views of the mighty Mississippi. However, in case your business trip is to a city such as Cedar Rapids, moving into a quaint bed and breakfast or independent hotel could make your stay a bit more memorable.
What to Do?
Luckily for the business traveler looking to add on a few days of holiday, many work trips happen in cities such as Chicago, Atlanta, Portland or Denver. There is no challenge in finding museums, parks, shopping, and dining options. Things may require a bit more research, however, if work brings you to a less cosmopolitan location. The major cities of the United States are undeniably fascinating, but the true charm and heart of the country lies in the small towns.
Search out the best fried chicken or local gumbo, wander former plantations, and walk through civil war history, all with that famous southern hospitality.
Clam chowder, antiques, and the best fall foliage in the country, along with short travel distances make it is easy to visit several states in one day.
Traditional main streets, covered bridges, country fairs, rolling farmland, and a “down home” feel.
The Rockies and Southwest
Mountain scenery, former gold mines, New Mexico chilies, and dramatic landscape combine to take your breath away.
World class wine villages, dramatic coastlines, mountain lakes, and fantastic seafood.
Throughout the country, each month brings a variety of festivals, street fairs, and traditional local events that will be unlike anything you may find elsewhere. Search out local community boards, ask the locals, and check in with the local café or bar staff, who always seem to be in the know.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone
Perhaps the most essential tool in creating a magical vacation holiday attached to your business trip is to be willing to step outside your comfort zone. In a town which seemingly has nothing going on? Head to the local bar for open mic night or karaoke. Not your style? That doesn’t mean it can’t create a memory to last a lifetime. During harvest time in a small town, join the locals for wine stomping or participate in the pumpkin festival, complete with hayrides, cotton candy, and adorable kids running wild in jean overalls. Each region of the country has their very own food specialties. A little nervous about deep fried pickles or geoduck? You will never know until you try it!
Make the Most of Your Time
Although you don’t want a couple of extra days for holiday to be overloaded, with just a day or two added on to a business trip it only makes sense to go in with a plan. Do some research, know your options, and have a general idea for trip. Combine entertainment and dinner with a trip to a dinner theater. In areas with no public transportation, perhaps figure in a car rental to get out into the countryside for a picnic. Often times, local tour companies can provide wonderful trips for local sightseeing to places you may have a hard time discovering on your own.
Perhaps what you really need is a holiday “in”. Perhaps you find yourself booked into a hotel featuring a pool, satellite TV, room service, and spa services. Sometimes, what the harried business traveler really needs is simply a day or two to decompress. Take this time to sleep in, to eat breakfast in bed, and partake in a massage or facial. Most of all, time to simply relax and enjoy some down time.
Regardless of where your work may take you, by extending for a day or two not only will you be able to take advantage of some time off, but you may also discover a tiny piece of magic where you least expected it.