How to make the most of your business trips

It’s your first-ever business trip, and guess what – it’s to a location you’ve never visited before. While you’re ready to get down to business, you also want to explore and make the most of your trip.

So, how do you find the perfect work-life balance? It might seem easy to juggle between the two at first, as the excitement is blinding your judgment. But in reality, this balance requires strategic planning and time management. 

In this guide, we’ll walk you through practical tips and tricks to help you overcome business travel challenges and grow both professionally and personally. Let’s dive in!

Plan your business trip in advance 

Spontaneous adventures can be exciting, but let’s save those for girls’ trips. When traveling for work, you’re expected to be at your 100%, so preparing in advance is crucial. Whether it’s your first trip or one of many, taking the time to prepare can make all the difference, and here’s why:

  • The business travel market is projected to reach $1.4 trillion by the end of 2023, suggesting that businesses do invest in their employees. Well, in return, you can try being on time for meetings. 
  • Time is always scarce during trips, but this is especially true when traveling for business. You might find yourself stuck in your hotel room for back-to-back meetings while your only experience of local cuisine is through room service.
  • It’s also important to consider that a 20-minute coffee break between meetings back where you live can quickly turn into a 40-minute walk in an unfamiliar city. When you plan your trip ahead, you’ll know exactly when and where you have to be, leaving you some time to relax and explore new places.

Making the most out of your business trip boils down to effective time management and careful planning in advance, which the below-listed points can help you achieve.  

Research your destination

You’d want to know everything about what the city has to offer – be it cultural attractions or local cuisine. Take your time to do research and try to book your hotel close to both your business meetings and popular sites you wish to visit. 

Language barriers might also arise, so you want to take that into account. English isn’t the universal language for some, so keeping up with your Duolingo classes might not be such a bad idea. Communicating with as many locals as possible can increase your chances of meeting like-minded professionals that can turn into lifelong friendships further down the road. 

Pack appropriate clothing

You probably imagine traveling in style for your business trip, but this is often easier done in your head. The baggage allowance, as well as the unpredictable weather, can quickly shatter your dreams. This is exactly why it’s important to check the weather forecast and pack only what’s necessary – think boots for rainy days and suits for formal meetings. 

Explore leisure activities

You might want to make time for activities beyond your work commitment. I mean, work is important, but there’s more to life. After all, a business trip isn’t just about meetings and conferences but also a chance to meet new people and explore the local culture. During the last year, around 45% of business travelers have decided to stay an extra night for leisure on their business trips. 

Believe it or not, business ideas don’t come solely from staring at a computer screen. Sometimes, all you need is a mental break to refresh your thoughts. Here’s how to discover the fun aspect of your business trip: 

Local attractions and cuisine

While it may sound a bit cliche, remember that money comes and goes, but memories stay. And the best way to make these memories while traveling is to visit local attractions and taste local dishes. For example, if you’re in Italy, try a pizza, or if you’re in Mexico, don’t miss the chance to savor street tacos. 

Whenever you have free time, whether in between or after meetings, take that time to pursue something of your personal interest. You might even ask locals for advice on the best restaurants and attractions, so you don’t miss out on anything.

Use sports travel companies

Regardless of whether you’re a sports fan or not, some sporting events shouldn’t be missed. Sports teams are part of the destination’s culture, and the experience of being in a packed arena is truly unmatched. If you have the chance to watch a sports match, try not to miss it. 

Going through the list of the best sports travel companies can help you a great deal in finding the best prices for sports events. But this isn’t the only thing they can help you with – you can also use them to find accommodation and affordable transport.

Reach out to customer service

Your trip couldn’t get any more personal than it would with customer service. Let me give you an example to show you exactly what I have in mind:

After waiting impatiently for weeks, you finally arrive at the location of your business trip. However, you didn’t manage to organize your schedule, so now you’re at this new place with no idea where to eat or what to visit. You can simply reach out to the customer service of the travel company that organized your trip, and rest assured, they’ll recommend the best local restaurant and even make a reservation for you. 

But customer service also comes in handy when things don’t go as planned. You’ve just arrived at the destination, and your luggage is missing. Normally, you would look for it yourself, but you have a meeting with the client in a few hours. Instead of panicking, you can simply contact customer service, and they’ll assist you with tracking your luggage.

Integrate a free ticketing system

To further streamline customer service and make your business travel even more enjoyable, many companies have adopted ticketing systems. What’s important to note is that a free ticketing system helps handle travel-related issues more efficiently – be it flight changes or hotel reservations. Here are some tips on how you can integrate it into your business travel routine:

  • Choose the right ticketing system. Even if someone says it’s the best, it doesn’t mean it’ll work for you as well. Find a free ticketing system that best suits your travel needs while making sure it’s easy to use, and its customer service is responsive. 
  • Learn how to use it. Not to say it’s going to be complicated, but learning how to use the system in advance will save you some valuable time. If you’re traveling in a group, make sure they’re also familiar with the way the system works. 
  • List emergency contacts. Enter the number of your travel agency, your travel buddies, as well as your boss so you can quickly reach out to them in case of unexpected situations. 
  • Set up check-in reminders. Not all free ticketing systems will offer this option, but if yours does, make the most of this option. You can turn on real-time notifications to receive such reminders and even configure exactly when you want to receive them. 

Integrating a free ticketing system is definitely a smart move when you travel for business, as it can save you time, reduce stress, and make sure you don’t miss important appointments. It’s one of the best ways to boost your productivity while on the move. 

Build your network

Don’t forget that your business trip is also an opportunity to make valuable contacts who can play a huge role in your personal and professional growth. And who knows, maybe you’ll even make friends for life. 

You can build your network by communicating as much as possible during meetings or by attending conferences related to your personal interests, not just work. Make sure never to eat alone; instead, share meals with colleagues or clients.

Toward productive business travel

Balancing personal and professional life while traveling for work is surely challenging but not impossible. There are so many steps you can take to make it work – from researching local attractions and sports events to integrating free ticketing systems. 

Only by organizing your schedule and managing your time can you make the most of your business trips. So, whether it’s your first or one of many, consider these aspects into account, and you’ll see that your business trip can be both fun and professional.

Makedonka Micajkova is a freelance content writer and translator. She is multilingual with professional proficiency in English, German, and Spanish. She is also a skilled communicator, as a result of having three years of experience as a sales representative. You can find her on Linkedin.