As experts in corporate travel management, it’s no surprise that our team of seasoned road warriors has the inside scoop on all things business travel. Which is why we asked them to share their best insights and travel tips for life on the road.
Make the most out of Munich
For Thompsons Travel’s Desire Van Rooyen, Munich tops her list of best business travel destinations. “I enjoy cities that combine business and leisure so that I can extend my trip to include some sightseeing,” she says.
Desire’s suggestions for Munich include visiting local beer halls, exploring churches to take in the architecture and eating as much local food as possible. “Eat at Hofbräuhaus München. I recommend the whole-roasted pork knuckle or the Winer Schnitzel – skip the fries and order potato salad and Sauerkraut,” she says.
London is still one of the best cities for business trips
For Priti Ramkissoon, COO at Thompsons Travel, London scores her top spot. “Although it’s an expensive city with the exchange rates, flights are reasonable – even on the direct flight options,” she says. It also makes sense to add on a few bleisure days and visit family and friends staying near the city.
Among the top things to do in London, Priti suggests shopping the streets of Oxford and taking a hop-on hop–off bus tour of London. “When I’m next in London I will be eating out a restaurant called RULES. It’s said to be the oldest restaurant in London with a lot of history attached to it which can be seen on their walls.”
Shelley Fourie, Retail Manager Durban, loves travelling to Cape Town on business. “I usually don’t have too much time when travelling for business, as its typically a quick in and out of the city. But it’s always so refreshing to see Table Mountain when I go to Cape Town.”
After a long day of business meetings, Shelley suggests a quick trip to the V&A Waterfront for a bite or a drink. Another option is a trip to Camps Bay where there are lovely seaside spots. Or, head to the Blue Peter in Blouberg for sundowners. “You have the view of the ocean and it’s a lovely relaxing atmosphere after a long day,” she says.
For New Business/Key Account Manager, Morne Van Der Merwe, Johannesburg scores his top spot. “It’s very Metropolitan. From amazing architecture to eateries, there are lots of nice places to see and to go and explore,” he says.
Top tips to see as much of the city as possible on a business trip
With only a limited amount of time to spend in between meetings, how do you make the most of your stay and see as much as possible? According to Priti, do your research on the city, the travel times between airport and attractions, and transit times before you depart as there might be opportunity there.
“In a recent business trip to Nice, France, we flew on Alitalia via Rome with a 5–hour transit. We managed to see all of the popular attractions and sip on some Italiano coffee on the streets of Rome, enjoying some people-watching activities,” says Priti.
Desire‘s advice is to wake up early so you can go for a walk before your workday starts. You can also book a city sightseeing night tour to see the sights after your meetings. She adds: “Instead of having dinner at your hotel, go out into the city and experience local cuisine.”
In Johannesburg, Morne recommends the Hop-on Hop-off Red Bus to take in as many sights as possible. You can even squeeze in some Big 5 game viewing in nearby Krugersdorp.
Staying productive on a business trip
How does Desire stay productive on a business trip? “I dream of all the things I’ll be doing during my ‘off time’ – that keeps me motivated!”
Priti says: “Try to get your ducks in a row in the first few hours of the flight to prep for meetings, then switch off and rest as much as possible inflight. Experience much of the city as possible but get back to your hotel room at a decent time so that you are refreshed to continue with business meetings the next morning.”
Morne never leaves home without his Power Bank so that his phone stays charged, while Shelley says it comes down to planning, organisation and a good internet connection. “So that you can continue working seamlessly whilst you travel,” says Shelley.
What are the best airport lounges for business travellers?
With three nods of approval, from Desire, Morne and Shelley, the Slow Lounges come up tops. “They have really nice variety, great facilities and if you have time, they offer spa treatments,” says Shelley.
Virgin Atlantic’s airport lounge in London scores Priti’s vote. “It is unbelievable, so spacious, professional, friendly, and with a fantastic spa,” she says. “I got a 30-minute massage, and had my shoes shined when I visited their lounge a few years ago.”
What is always in your carry-on?
Desire: Each time I travel I like to create a new music playlist, so I always have my mobile phone and headphones close by. I also like to read a lot, so my Kindle.
Priti: A bottle of water, face cream for skin hydration and a novel.
Shelley: A magazine or a book to help the time go by.
Morne: My phone charger and headphones so that I can listen to my music when traveling.
Need more business travel tips? Contact Thompsons Travel today.