Although the prospect of travelling for business can be frustrating, it doesn’t have to be. It can be unnerving to travel to exciting destinations only to find yourself locked in a boardroom day-in day-out, but even with very limited free time, you can still make the most of your stay and get a true feel of the destination. Here’s how:
Live like a local
Take a bus or rent a bike. Although corporate travel is usually focussed on productivity and the idea of ‘time is money’, there’s nothing wrong with waking up a bit earlier in the morning and taking a bus or going on a bike ride to your next meeting. On your way back to the hotel, stop at the grocery store or at the local market and purchase something that is local to the area.
Enjoy lunch in a local pub
Take time in the afternoon to have a quick lunch in a local café or pub. Rub shoulders with the locals; learn some of their local phrases while sipping a cappuccino or enjoying a typical local meal. You can always take your laptop, phone and other devices along, if you really need to be connected at all times, but there’s nothing more refreshing than exploring a new culture for lunch.
Take a walk
You might not have time to go on an elaborate sightseeing expedition, but there should be time in your hectic schedule for a quick half-hour walk. Skip the workout in the hotel gym and head to the park or the city centre. Read the descriptions on the statues, people watch, and soak up the sun before you head back to business.
Enrol in a cooking class
There’s no better way to get immersed in a new culture than through the culinary delights of the country or the region. Signing up for an evening cooking class or food tour can be a fun way to socialise while getting an insider’s knowledge of the region. France, Italy, China and Thailand are all famed for their food tours, but also in other cities in the world, food tourism is taking off. It definitely beats eating alone in a restaurant.
Go to a show or concert
On business in London, New York or Sydney? Why not go to a legendary concert or show on Broadway, West End or at the Sydney Opera Hall. The main advantage of being by yourself is that it’s usually quite easy to get a single ticket at the last minute.
Join an evening walking or biking tour of the city
When working hours are done, explore the city at night on a walking or biking tour. Hire a local guide or opt for an organised night tour of the city. In Beijing for example, you’ll be able to hop on a bike and tour some of the city’s most iconic sites: from illuminated temples, to exotic street food. In Ireland, you can indulge in an evening pub-hopping tour where you’ll be treated to Guinness and Irish folk songs.
It might seem easier to keep your corporate trip purely business and just keep to the boardroom and the hotel room, but the truth is that taking a short break to explore the local culture and city – even just for an hour – will leave you feeling more energised and enriched.