By Tamiya Barnes
Making business travel more fun can be a challenge, especially if you have a limited budget or tight schedule.
Whether you’re journeying around the country or have the opportunity to travel internationally for your job, the stress can start to become overwhelming as you navigate crowded airports, rental cars, unfamiliar cities, and working in public spaces.
So if at all possible, it’s important to find ways to relax and have some fun. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money or interrupt your schedule too much to do so.
Here are some ideas for keeping stress at bay as you travel for work:
Come prepared with a great business card
For many professionals, making connections is just as important as the work itself. But networking can be tiresome when you’re already drained from traveling.
With the right tools, however, you can make the process easier on yourself. A stellar business card can provide a quick and memorable way to leave an impression on the people you meet, and you can even create your own. Building your business card design is simple with an online template that allows you to add custom copy, images, and colors, and it’s an easy way to maintain a connection outside of email.
Choose destinations that double as vacation spots
If you’re able to pick your travel destination for work, there are several things you can do to make it feel more like a vacation, even when you’re networking. Choose a spot that offers amenities like famous landmarks or beach access — keeping in mind that you may be able to write off the cost of your hotel stay and transportation on your taxes, as well as half the cost of meals and entertainment. Do some homework on how these deductions will work for your specific needs, and hold onto receipts so you can quantify every cost.
Head outdoors to work
Many business travelers don’t have much time for sightseeing or going out, but it’s detrimental to be stuck inside working for most of the day.
If your accommodations offer a great view, look for a way to sit outdoors to get some work done on your laptop or make phone calls.
Take your noise-canceling headphones to a cafe or coffee shop and soak in the local culture while you get things done.
Do some reading on the beach or by the pool.
Even these small sojourns outside can do wonders for your productivity and help you feel like you’re getting something fun out of your work trip.
Fit in some activity
If you do have a tight schedule on your business trip, it can be hard to fit in many activities, but working out or even going for a walk can boost your mood and help you stay healthy.
If possible, book a hotel that offers access to a gym, or choose walking over public transportation when you need to go out for food or to hit local events. Staying physically fit is an important tool in the fight against heart attacks, strokes, and obesity, which many business travelers may already be prone to.
Bring along your partner, spouse, or family
Finally, consider bringing along a companion or companions.
While it may not always be practical, having your partner or spouse — or even the kids — along for a business trip can prove rewarding. Not only does it give you the chance to share memorable moments with them, but it also provides an opportunity for them to connect with your work and career goals.
In sum, traveling for work may not always be fun, but you can find small ways to keep stress at bay and make your trip a professional success at the same time. Start with a great business card, and plan out your accommodations and schedule in order to maximize your stay.
Tamiya Barnes writes for Business Begins and other sites.
Top photo caption and credit: If you travel to London on business, make sure to get outside for fresh air and activities. Photo from visitlondon.com.