How to get the most out of your business trip to these five popular cities

Planning a business trip to New York, San Francisco, Dubai, Amsterdam or Bangkok? Find out how to make the most of your time there. 

Catching flights, checking into hotels, meetings and greetings – business travel might not, on the surface, appear to have much room for free time.

However, plan your trip carefully and a few hours here and there will allow you to experience some sights and sounds of the city you might have thought were out of reach. Your hosts might even welcome your enthusiasm for their city and give you a tour of their favourite parts.

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How to get the most out your your business trip to these five cities

To help you make the most of your trip, travel experts Destination2.co.uk share their recommendations for five popular business travel destinations.

1) New York

New York, New York, so good they named it twice. One of the most famous cities on the planet needs a thorough investigation. So, when all the meetings and site tours are done, put on some comfy shoes and tread those sidewalks.

Getting around is quite simple, and some of the tourist stuff really needs doing. Try and find the time to get the Staten Island ferry across the water and see Lady Liberty up close.

Leave the queues at the Empire State building and head to Top of the Rock, the observation deck on the Rockefeller Centre (this is open until midnight, so head over in the evening after work is done), where the views will be just as impressive and will actually include the Empire State. Grab a pretzel and do some people watching down in Central Park.

If your hosts are looking after you, you might be treated to a Yankees game – a true all-American experience. If a business meal is in the offing, you’ll have more than your fair share of options. The New York restaurant industry is a competitive scene, but we love the long standing Balthazar restaurant, Lure Fishbar and Estela.

2) San Francisco

San Francisco is situated in north California, and is in a great spot in terms of both cityscape and natural beauty. It’s a great walking city so pack a pair of comfy shoes and explore the city when you have some downtime. It’s also a city still in progress as Silicon Valley has sprawled out into the centre alongside countless start-ups.

If you’re up for some shopping, head to Union Square, Haight Ashbury and Fillmore Street for some really quirky, vintage and chic gifts. If you’ve got an afternoon to kill, we suggest getting tickets for Alcatraz Island, where you can join a tour of the famous prison. Or take the old trolly (the old-fashioned trams that crisscross the city) to Fisherman’s Wharf and go to Ghirardelli’s for some of the finest chocolate you’ll ever taste.

The city prides itself on its wealth of cultures, so expect some incredible flavours from Mexican to Ethiopian and everything in between. Power lunches will normally be a salad and a lot of coffee (SF has more coffee houses per capita than anywhere else in the US), but the evening meals normally push the boat out.

3) Dubai

Only 8% of people who live in Dubai hold an Emirati passport. Which means the remaining 92% are expats. The average age of this Emirate is 27 years old – which also means the population is youthful and the nightlife is vibrant.

If you’re planning to have a business lunch, see if you can get a business brunch instead. Dubai is famous for its brunches – long, extravagant, all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink affairs. If you can do it, it’s a good Dubai experience to have.

Visiting Dubai during Ramadan is a lot different to the rest of the year. It’s quieter, which makes visiting the Burj Khalifa great, as the queues are far smaller. The Dubai Mall is a lot less crowded too. The subdued atmosphere makes way for the party to end all parties when the Eid al-Fitr festival begins. This is what Dubai does best, pulling out all the stops to make sure everyone takes part in the celebrations.

If you’re lucky to get some downtime in Dubai, head to the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world. Hot air balloon rides over the Palm Jumeirah, a boat ride in an abras through Dubai Creek and a visit the Jumeirah Mosque will be the top recommendations for business trippers. If you get the time for adventure in the desert, a off road adventure, either by 4×4 or quad bike is a must.

A couple of business dos and don’ts in Dubai:

  • Don’t arrange appointments on Fridays. This is the Muslim day of prayer and rest.
  • While English is the principal language in business, it is recommended a few Arabic phrases should be learnt, like as-salaamu aleikum (the basic greeting), and shukran (thank you).
  • Handshakes are standard. However, if you’re doing business with the opposite sex, perhaps hold back from a handshake unless offered. If unsure, just place your right hand over your heart.

4) Amsterdam

The financial capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is a vibrant, youthful town with elegant waterways and a lively nightlife.

The city has also been recognised as the most globally connected city behind Hong Kong, and has an important role in the European Union.

Zuidas, the business district in the city, is also home to lots of recreation areas. After a meeting, the nearby Vondelpark is worth a visit. In good weather, relaxing amongst the lakes and statues is a nice way to unwind. Zuidas is also close to the museum district, so if you’re up for an afternoon of culture, it’s a must.

Singel, the canal that was the former moat of the city in the Middle Ages now acts as the home of the floating flower market, Bloemenmarkt. And if your Dutch contacts want to show you a real Amsterdam good time, the Heineken factory runs daily tours where you can enjoy some free samples!

5) Bangkok

While Bangkok might come across as noisy and frenetic, the chaos belies a deeply exciting and seductive city. Don’t even consider hiring a car – you travel across the city in taxis. They’re cheap, plentiful and will put up with the crazy traffic so you don’t have to.

Bangkok is home to some incredible hotels, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel being the most famous, but there are plenty of other luxurious hotels to suit all budgets. One of our recommendations is to choose one with a rooftop bar where you can unwind in the evening. Bangkok is the home of the rooftop bar, so you have a large choice!

You cannot visit Bangkok without trying out as much of the local food as possible. When you have some free time, head to some of the food bazaars in the Old Town or Sukhumvit for some incredible street food. Don’t expect crisp tablecloths and wine menus. The focus is on flavour and you won’t mind sitting on a plastic crate when you taste crispy prawn curry, noodles or homemade coconut ice cream.

Plan your trip well and pack in the adventures!

Business travel might involve living out of a suitcase and being far away from home, but what it also allows you to do is visit some amazing places and enjoy incredible experiences. So plan your trip carefully and try and pack in as many adventures as possible!

Long-haul luxury travel operator Destination2 specialise in a range of luxury destinations at the most compelling rates in the market.