It’s not like you want to abuse your company and score a free vacation on its dime, but since you’re already in a new city, why not make the most out of it? When will be the next time you can go on real vacation, anyway? It has been a long time coming, and you deserve it. So unless your managers have anything against you sightseeing during a business trip, you should seriously consider squeezing it into your itinerary, no matter how busy it may be.
Make the Most Out of Those Stopovers
Are you stopping over for two hours or more to connect to your next flight? You can get a transit visa that will allow you to explore the city for a few hours or even more, depending on the country. While lounging in an airport hotel is a must because of all the amenities it offers, it’s a lot better to explore the city even for a couple of hours.
If you do not have that time to explore outside the airport, go around the area while waiting for your flight. You can still see and experience many things in an airport, especially if you’re at Changi Airport, one of the rarest and most gorgeous airports in the world. It is a world of its own.
Prioritize What You Want to See
Unlike tourists, you do not have much time to explore the city. That’s why it’s essential to prioritize what you want to see. Make a list of the sites that you wouldn’t want to miss. As for those that sit outside the city, you have to make time for that in a real vacation. Right now, all you have is a couple of hours before these attractions close for the day. Make every visit to every tourist spot count.
Schedule Meetings Accordingly
If you have meetings outside the usual conferences and seminars, make sure to schedule them nearby places you want to see. Get creative with your venue. Make sure that after the meeting, you can step outside the restaurant, walk a few blocks, and see what you wanted to see in the first place. You can even ask the people you’re meeting if they can accompany you on the trip. This goes especially well if they are locals of the city.
Be deliberate about your meetings. It is easy to turn a one-hour meeting into a three-hour chat. Make sure you stay on topic so that you will have more time to explore. Of course, make sure that you have met your goals during the meeting. Pleasure trips are secondary in a business trip.
Be Strategic About Your Accommodations
It is easier to squeeze in downtime when your hotel is near the places you want to visit. For example, if you visit Singapore, where should you stay if you wish to explore Clarke Quay, Orchard Street, and Marina Bay Sands? Hotels along the Civic district are the most reasonable accommodations, so you can reach the shops and restaurants in this area.
Extend for a Day
Why not extend for a day? If you have full control over your schedule, squeeze in a day or two. You’re already in the city anyway, so why not make the most out of it? The flights and accommodation are all paid for. Ask your boss if you can extend for a day. They can take it from your vacation days. If you’re lucky, they might even say yes, and you’ll have a day or two to explore the city.
Walk to and from Everywhere
A great way to steal some time alone in a new city is to walk and not take a cab or a rented car. Get up early so you can take a stroll around the city. If the conference starts at 10 AM, you have more time to walk to the conference venue. It’s the same thing when you’re going back to your hotel. Walking around will give you a sense of this new place you visited. Whether you will have time to explore it later, walking to and from the venues will at least give you a feel of the city.
People don’t usually have time for a vacation. They’re too busy with work and with other things that occupy their time. So when you do find yourself on a business trip, make the most out of it. You never know when you can come back, anyway. Carpe diem, as they say.