Although business travel can be an all-consuming, demanding endeavor, if managed properly, it can also be a way to take a mini-vacation. If you own your own company, you can plan the trip to make it work for you on both business and personal levels. If you work for another company, you may need to get permission to add extra days at the beginning or end of your trip and sort out which expenses you will cover, and which the company will cover.
Plan the details
Decide how much, if any extra time you want to stay at your destination, and make a list of local points of interest you wish to explore. If you’re flying, you may find that staying over a weekend will enable you to get less expensive plane fares. Consider whether driving rather than flying would be feasible. If you bring your own car, you save on the cost of a rental, and your schedule will be more flexible. Try to plan as much as possible, at least for the business aspects of your trip. Beyond airfare and lodging, go ahead and plan transportation within your destination city, as well as make any client meeting appointments or restaurant reservations you’ll need.
Plan for some enjoyment
Plan something fun, whether it’s checking out a museum, sampling food from a local eatery, or taking a walking tour of architectural gems. You may be able to incorporate the activity into your scheduled trip, or you may choose to add a few days at the beginning or end of the business activity.
Protect your travel documents
Before your trip, make copies of your passport, tickets, and other documents. It’s helpful to have all these in one place you can easily access. Consider creating a PDF with copies of all items. By digitizing the material, you ensure that you’ll never be without it. Adobe makes software that can be used to create such a file, and easily add pages to PDF as needed using an online tool, which can also be put to work to otherwise modify the document.
Maintain your own well-being
Getting adequate sleep, exercise, rest, and nutrition can be more challenging while traveling. Some business travelers suggest scheduling meetings around meals or coffee since these are things you’ll be doing anyway. Then you have more free time for a swim, a massage, or exploring. Decide when you need to go to sleep and schedule your activities accordingly. If you’re going to a different time zone, begin gradually shifting your sleep/wake schedule the week before the trip to avoid jet lag. Exercising while on business travel can seem like too much, but there are ways you can incorporate it. If you’re in a hotel, after your meetings, hit the pool for laps, or climb a few flights of stairs, walk the length of the floor, then climb some more stairs.
Enjoy a much less costly vacation
Combining your vacation with a business trip can save money. If you spend more time on business than on vacation, you can deduct 100% of the cost of transportation as a business expense. You can deduct lodging and meals on days when you do business. It’s essential that you keep records, not only of your expenses but of what you do on the trip, business-wise. If you’re meeting with clients, attending a conference, training, or making a presentation for a potential customer document it.
Research and ask questions ahead of time
It’s important to know what exactly your costs will be, how your time will be arranged, and how long you’ll be on the clock for business. If you work for a company you don’t own, take time to clear everything in advance so you won’t be stuck with an unexpected bill afterward. If you plan to combine a few days of paid time off, be sure to clear this with your company in advance.
Business travel can enhance your work life, as well as provide a great opportunity to take a few days off in a new location. With proper planning and documentation, you can enjoy a much less expensive vacation or at least some enjoyable experiences in a new place.
If you enjoy staying off the beaten path, use BnBFinder.com to locate rental properties where you can stay before, during, or after your business trip.