Travelling by yourself is often seen as an adventurous option and a conscious decision taken by the traveller. We may not all travel solo by choice, but if your job requires you to move from place to place, then you have almost certainly travelled solo. Business travel is very different to being on holiday. While the rapid movement from city to city can be draining, there are plenty of pluses to being able to visit different parts of the world on the company account.
To make business travel work for you, here are some tips to make the most of your work-based getaways and to help you see more than just another office space when you travel for work.
My first tip is an obvious one, one we all know, yet one that somehow slips away from us, particularly when we are travelling for work and that’s to give yourself time for travelling. Travel, and by travel I mean transit can feel out of our control, because we can’t change the speed of the security checks, passport control or any delays to the flight schedule. What we all can do however is to allow time for such setbacks. Take an earlier flight or if possible try arriving the evening before a big meeting so that you don’t spend the day under pressure because you’re stuck for time. True travel delays such as flight cancellations are unavoidable, but giving yourself enough transfer time on both side of your journey is entirely within your control.
Of course, you’ve been sent away to work and not to play but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get at least a peek outside the office door. If you have time on your lunch, take a stroll around the neighbourhood, it will clear your head for the afternoon in front of you and let you take in a bit of the city. Make plans for after work, such as going for a drink or a meal with colleagues, or if you’re staying in a homestay you can go with your host instead. These little details will help give you a sense of a city outside of an office cubicle. If you’re fortunate enough to arrive later in the week, give yourself the weekend in the city to relax and be a tourist.
I’ve hinted at it already, but one of my favourite things about travelling is being able to try food from around the world. If you’re lucky enough to have a homestay host that provides meals, ask if you could eat with them, or failing that, ask for recommendations for a local restaurant or café where you can get some good grub. Eatwith allows solo travellers the chance to dine with others and they are a great way to meet new people and particularly to take your mind off work if you’re had your head in a laptop all day.
For many people, travelling for work is the first time in their lives that they travel alone. Embrace the solitude, and use your business trips to work on the activities you’ve always meant to try out at home. If that means finding the local swimming pool to work on your stroke, packing your camera to brush up on your photography or bringing your trainers to go for a walk or a jog, use your time away from home to work on the things that you enjoy doing. The best thing about travelling solo is that there is no one for you to compromise with, apart from your boss of course!
If after a long day in the office, however, you’re not really up for wandering a city and taking in the sights, the best thing you can do is of course to treat yourself. Book a massage for after work, splash out on a meal in a nice restaurant or bring a book and some nice candles to give yourself the early night you keep on intending to have. Solo travel, whether for business or leisure is all about what you want to do, so indulge that side of yourself, and before you know you’ll be volunteering yourself for all the out-of-office trips you can find.
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