The moment I quit my job, I am handed all the time and freedom in the world to travel. However, I also need to earn money and not just waste it. I want to work and travel. Hence, I was lucky enough to be presented with a project that requires me to write and travel (to five different countries). Do note that this is a corporate travel wherein I travel for work. I do not have all the leisure nor flexibility in my time because I have clients to meet and tasks to accomplish. But did it stop me from enjoying each new country I have visited? No. And so should you.
Traveling on business is no doubt different from traveling on leisure, but it still should not stop you from appreciating new cultures and sceneries.
So, if you are about to take on jobs that require travel or if you have been business traveling for a while but does not know how to enjoy it, then read these (personal) valuable tips on how to make the most of your business trips:
Request for a location
This may not always be permitted, but once you have the opportunity to do so, grab it. If you are the one tasked to arrange your own business trip, then stay at a location that is near tourist spots or local souvenir markets. Imagine waking up at your hotel room seeing glistening golden temples or towering architectures—not bad, right?
Personally, I love waking up to the country’s picturesque structures because it reminds me that I am in a whole different country, even if I am only there for work.
Take advantage of the facilities
Almost every hotel that you’re gonna stay in (which is paid by the company) will have their own facilities. This includes a gym, spa, swimming pool, restaurants, and more. Take advantage of it. Make time for the gym to immediately boost your mood and increase endorphins. Go for a relaxing swim at the pool or head to the spa after a long day. You don’t always get the opportunity for these rejuvenating facilities to be within your reach.
Request one extra day
Depending on your employer, this may or may not be possible. However, there’s no hurt to trying, right? Request one extra day for your own time. This is the day wherein you can go to tourist destinations, go souvenir shopping, and more. If you do not want to request one extra day, finish all your tasks (if there are no strict schedules and appointments) and leave a day free for your leisure.
Stare out the window
If you are traveling on business, you’ll most likely be in a car or on the road the 70-80% of the day. It’s because you have places to be and people to meet. This might sound horrifying to you but let’s always look on the bright side, shall we? And what I mean by ‘bright side’ is look out the window. Marvel at the sceneries and observe how the local people go on with their everyday life. If you get stuck in traffic, roll down the car window and take some photos. If you’re not terribly tired, try not to sleep because you might miss out on some great views.
Monitor your health
You really can’t enjoy traveling (be it business travel or leisure travel) when you’re sick, right? Wherever you are, you should always listen to what your body is telling you. Pack some medicine just in case. The most common sicknesses when travelers go overseas are fever and stomach ache. Remember to keep yourself hydrated always.
Save your night or your (early) morning
If you are on a really hectic schedule the whole day, then it is best to sacrifice a few minutes or hours on your nights or mornings. You can either immediately sleep once you’re back at your place and set an alarm so you can wake up early. You can do a morning stroll and watch the sunrise. On the other hand, you can go out at night and maybe catch on night markets or street performances. Most cities are vibrant at night.
Divulge in local cuisines
You can’t say you’ve been to another country if you haven’t tried at least one of their local signature dishes. Pick a local restaurant that serves local cuisines. If you pass by some street food, try it as well. This is another way wherein you can be introduced to their culture. Each cuisine has a story and a unique way of presentation. You might eat with your hands, chopsticks, or some unique utensil you haven’t seen. And that’s already an experience you’ll hold on for the rest of your life.
Be one with the locals
Do not be afraid of starting a conversation with the locals. Most country’s citizens actually appreciate the fact that they are being visited by people across the globe. If you have the time, ask about what they do and how it is like living in their country. You can also ask if there are any destinations or food they can recommend. And one last thing: Smile. Smile to the locals you pass by or to the staff of the hotel you are staying in. This is another great way of making and establishing connections should you want to return to the country for your own vacation.
Keep a positive mind
This all roots to your mindset. If you go on a business trip and already dread the days ahead because you won’t be able to do the things you want, then your experience is going to be dreadful. If you wake up feeling down and already thinking about feeling exhausted, then your day will just be like that—exhausting. You are in a different country; not everyone has that opportunity. Always stay on the brighter side and practice mindfulness.
Business traveling may not be someone’s first choice if they were given the opportunity to travel to another country, but heck, grab it anyways. It is one way wherein you can be briefly introduced to a country and observe their practices so you can further prepare yourself should you want to go back for your own holiday travel.
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