Business travel doesn't have to be all about grey suits and room service. With a little creative thinking you can have a good time and still get the job done. Here are a few ideas for putting some pleasure into business travel, even when you're stretched for time.
Instead of putting in time in the gym, a walk around a park or a jogging track in the locale is much more interesting. Many cities now have bike-hire schemes from public racks. All you need is a credit card in most cases, and an hour in the saddle early in the morning is food for the mind as well as a fitness enhancer.
Choose a hotel a few blocks away from wherever your meetings or conference will take place and walk, taking a different route each time. Getting to know a small slice of a city or area will enhance your experience, and a morning coffee between your hotel and your first appointment is a great start to the day.
Ask your secretary or PA to research your destination with the focus on the area where you'll be staying. They're probably familiar with your tastes in dining and entertainment, whether it's a classical concert or a Michelin-star dining experience. The websites of Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor are worthy starting points.
If you're not too far from home and can finish your business on a Friday, rather than flying back home, get your partner to join you for the weekend. If you're further away, why not meet halfway? Alternatively stay the weekend alone and head to somewhere where leisure takes a front seat. In a weekend you can get to Bintan Island or Pulau Tioman if business has brought you to Singapore, or take in a Thai resort island on the way back from China.
Instead of arriving late in the day and diving straight into meetings or a conference the next morning, arrive a day in advance – chances are you can work just as productively in your hotel room as you can in your office, and possibly with fewer interruptions. Build some time out into that day, regard it as a day for relaxation as well as work.
Unless it's a destination you know well, pre-book your transport between airport and hotel, and vice versa. It's a big stress saver to have someone waiting to pick you up and not having to deal with taxi queues and fret about local currency for the fare.
By Michael Gebicki. This article is a fragment originally published on traveller.com.au and can be read in full here.