Mixing Business Travel With Pleasure
How to pack vacation time into your business trips
Our increasingly fast-paced society is credited with this change. Today singles and families are juggling busy work and social schedules, which makes it more and more difficult to carve out a full week or two for vacation. “But they feel vacations are an important par to their lives, so they compromise by taking multiple, shorter trips throughout the year,” says William S. Norman, president and CEO of the TIA.
One of the best ways to compromise is by turning a business trip (yours or theirs) into a mini-vacation. This probably is not feasible in all cases – there are some destinations that just don’t fit as getaway spots. But, by using your imagination you can cut your expenses and increase your vacation time.
Several years ago, one of my friends used this philosophy to plan her wedding. She and her fiancé were both putting in long hours, in new jobs. They wanted to get married, but life was not cooperating. When she was sent to Las Vegas on business, they decided to make their busy schedules work for them. He flew out for the weekend and they got married in Las Vegas. No, Elvis didn’t marry them. Yes, they had a memorable time. As a bonus, they saved (her) half of the airfare and stayed at a great hotel.
Making time for life is not always easy, but you’ll be well rewarded when you do. Here are a few more ways to pack some vacation into your business travel.
- Plan a layover: Traveling across country may not be an ideal weekend getaway. But, by taking a connecting flight you can plan an overnight, or two, layover. If you live in New York City, for example, and your partner is in Los Angles, why not plan a romantic weekend rendezvous in Chicago? Then fly home together. Many airlines have hubs in great destinations like Chicago, Dallas and New York.
- Attend a convention: This is one of the best ways to combine business and pleasure travel. Many organizations hold their conventions in great destinations, like Las Vegas, Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Others hold conferences at all-inclusive resorts. Many of these events include daytime activities for your other half. They also offer the perfect opportunity to tack on a couple of vacation days to recuperate.
- Become an explorer; indulge yourself: Don’t hole up in your room, eating, working and watching TV. Get out and see the city. A trade show in Italy gave me the opportunity to view Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco The Last Supper on a wall of the Santa Maria dell Graziea, a tiny church in Milan. If there’s not much to see. Or you’re just plain tired treat yourself to a massage or a facial. Just don’t put it on the company’s tab.
- Visit friends and family: A cross-country business trip can provide the perfect opportunity to visit the folks. Have your travel agent book you on a flight that connects in or near someone you know. Make sure that you OK this with your boss and make sure she knows that you will pay the price difference. Generally, it’s still cheaper than paying for a full fare ticket.
- Bring your pet: If you’re traveling by car, consider bringing woman’s best friend along for the ride. Pet-friendly accommodations can be found on sites like petswelcome.com and Pet Vacations. Be sure to check out the safety information on the ASPCA site under FAQs.
- Take the family: While bringing your partner is fairly common, bringing the kids is trickier. Even if you’re traveling with another adult, you may need to find local childcare. The National Business Travel Association’s BizTraveler recommends getting a referral list from the hotel where you will be staying and planning a few months in advance. Another option is The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies a non-profit that provides information on childcare services nationwide.
When all else fails, grin and bear it. Bring a few DVDs for the plane ride. And keep thinking of all those frequent flyer miles. They can help make all that travel more bearable.
When I got married wee decided to elope at City Hall and honeymoon in Europe. My husband had been traveling so often, we were able to fly first class (both ways) and stay at luxurious hotels in London and Paris ALL on frequent flyer miles.
Business travel is hard on the traveler and those left keeping the home fires burning. When you’re away, make sure you stay connected to your loved ones. And pack a little vacation into those business trips whenever you get the chance