Oh the dreaded work trip! Who wants to work while they are in a new city??? Definitely not me! On my latest work trip to Chicago, I challenged myself to make the most of my brief time in the city. This trip felt way more like vacation than any of my previous trips for work. Here are my tips for having a great time while traveling for work.
Make the most of your time
Wake up early and use your lunch break. 45 minutes can allow you to see a lot, especially if your work trip is located in a large city center. While in Chicago I was able to wake up early to get some deserted shots of the bean and Chicago Theatre before heading to my first meetings of the day. During lunch, I left my coworkers behind and went on a brisk walk along the Chicago Riverwalk. At the end of the trip, everyone was amazed at how much I had done and seen in just a few work filled days.
Skip the fluff- determine what is important for you to attend and if you feel no one will miss you, then dip out! Clearly you cannot skip out on any important meetings, but if there is an optional event, then skip it and go have some fun. When you look back on your trip I’m sure you won’t regret missing a boring event to have an adventure.
Accept that you can’t do it all
Self care is important, especially when working while traveling. So don’t overdo it. Listen to your body. On my most recent work trip I spent the first full night in my room relaxing. It made the rest of my trip more enjoyable because I was well rested and had the energy that I needed to be both effective at my job and to go on a few adventures. In this world we are pressured to ‘do it all’ and told that being busy equals being happy. I recently found this quote and have been trying to remind myself daily:
Don’t be afraid to do things on your own
If you are on a trip alone or if your co-workers don’t want to venture out, don’t sit in your hotel all day. People go to restaurants, bars and tourist attractions alone way more than you would think. So step out of your comfort zone and start taking selfies! I mention selfies because I always feel super self conscious taking them in public, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. I actually ended up with some cute ones!
During my latest trip I found that I actually enjoyed being on my own since work trips require a lot of constant networking, meetings, etc. I was happy to find some time for myself since I am introverted and need time to recharge when I have been around people all day.
Make new friends
You are definitely going to need someone to take a few pics of you in front of those tourist attractions. So don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other tourists. Chances are they’d be happy to chat and snap some pictures for you. They might even invite you to tag along to their next attraction.
Extend the trip when you can
If you can prove to your employer that your flight would be the same cost or cheaper to stay over the weekend, they may allow you to extend your trip. You would just need to budget for the extra expenses (extra night of hotel, food, etc). Your employer might say no, but it doesn’t hurt to ask! You can also try to schedule your flight for the morning before your meeting instead of the night before or schedule your return flight for later in the evening to make the most of your time in a city. My next work trip is to California. I hope to get an extra two days to explore by extending my trip. Wish me luck!
Work trips can be such a headache! They can definitely be tiring and an inconvenience. But don’t forget, they can be fun too! I hope these tips help to make your next work trip fabulous!