5 Ways to Spend Your Downtime on Business Travel
Business travel can be exhausting and stressful, but it doesn’t have to be all work and no play. Taking advantage of downtime when you’re away from home will help you feel refreshed and recharged for the next round of travel.
When you’re on the road, seize the opportunity to explore a different city that offers recreational, cultural and culinary attractions that you might not find at home.
Here are five ways to enjoy some downtime and explore a new city during your next business trip.
1. Dine With Locals
If you’re working with clients or colleagues that live in the area, try to invite them to eat dinner with you. Dining with local residents also presents a great opportunity to learn more about the area and activities that you might enjoy, and you can rely on them to recommend a great local restaurant. Or if you don’t know anyone where you’re visiting, you can sign up for a meal through EatWith, which coordinates hosted meals with locals in over 200 cities.
But even when dining by yourself, it’s less isolating to visit a restaurant that offers some kind of communal table. For example, Japanese hibachi-style restaurants typically feature tables where multiple parties dining together, and it’s inevitable that you’ll strike up a conversation with the people surrounding you.
2. Take a Local Tour
Tours aren’t just available in major cities or tourist destinations — you can also connect with guides in local cities of every size, via companies like Tour By Locals and Vayable. With these services, you take part in a private tour that’s customized to your interests. Even if you’re in a large city, you can almost always find reasonably priced group tours created for photographers, foodies and other types of interests.
3. Connect with Locals who Share Your Interests
No matter what interests or activities you enjoy at home, you’re bound to find groups of like-minded people in another city. For example, you could look up an event at a local chapter of your favorite club, check out a local Meetup chapter or get in a workout with a group that plays your favorite sport or a running club.
4. Use Your Hotel as a Resource
Hotels aren’t just places to sleep — they can also be a hub for local activities and events. Ask the front desk staff or the concierge to learn what makes the local area unique. The hotel staff may will know about upcoming concerts or events that might be of interest to you. Hotels also may offer discounted tickets to local attractions.
5. Read the Local News
Most cities have one or more weekly papers or websites that list special and regular events. Unlike guidebooks written for tourists, these local publications will contain up-to-date information on the latest events that occur throughout the week. Reading the local press also gives you a sense of the character of a community.
So make sure to schedule some “me time” on your next business trip. There’s one more benefit to getting outside your meeting or convention: You also can preview attractions that might appeal to your own family on a future vacation.