Culture on the Fly: Eight Ways to Get More Than Just Work Out of Your Next Business Trip
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Traveling for business can be a grind. But it doesn’t have to be. Why not give yourself a break and get more than just work out of your next business trip? Adding a Saturday night stay over instead of heading straight home can actually reduce the overall cost of the trip by saving on airfare, a strategy that lets you deduct your travel expenses and have a mini-vacation at the same time.
Since business travelers tend to be creatures of habit—remember George Clooney’s “same old” regimen in Up in the Air?—forging new paths may take some conscious effort. Even if you don’t add on extra days, there are still ways to recharge your batteries by getting local and soaking up a slice of regional culture.
1. Do what you love. From swimming laps at the Y to taking in a foreign film to perusing a farmers’ market, sniff out a source of R&R in your business destination. For example, conference goers in New Orleans can take a yoga class at the Cabildo Museum overlooking Jackson Square three mornings a week for just $12.50.
2. Stop by the local visitors’ center or CVB. In Philly, for example, the Independence Visitor Center in the heart of the historic district can hook you up with a Mural Arts walking tour, breakfast with Ben Franklin and a City Pass for bundled savings on museums and other attractions. There are plenty of free touring options, and a multilingual concierge staff can help you make the most of your time.
3. Force yourself to disconnect. Instead of catching up on email in your room, take a technology break and visit new surroundings. Even if you have to work, opting for sitting in a local coffee shop will expose you to an energizing flow of people and a sense of place.
4. Don’t always have dinner with colleagues. It’s easy to fall into the habit of rehashing office politics and the day’s business. Treat the end of the workday as exactly that, and go out and do your own thing.
5. Support local restaurants. Even somewhere as chain-heavy as Orlando has an indie restaurant scene, populated by gems such as Le Coq au Vin, where chef Louis Perrotte gives farm-to-table dining a decidedly French accent. Not sure where to start? Your Country Inns & Suites By Carlson front desk staff can help.
6.Museum hop. Just because a city museum is huge doesn’t mean you have to spend all day in it. Even the vast British Museum offers free 30–40 minute eyeOpener gallery tours introducing different areas of the museum’s collection. Dip in for the time available and you’ll walk out better for it.
7. Take in a show. Getting out and about can include experiencing repertory theater, showing up for a library lecture series orgiving stand-up comics an audience. Anything that gets you out and about is a good thing.
8.Use social media. Search on Twitter or Facebook for a city and an activity, say hiking and San Francisco, or fishing and Columbus, and you’ll find all kinds of connections to explore.