7 tips for making the most of your business trip abroad

Getting Around By Cecilia Hendrix Jan 7, 2020

This article was created in partnership with Western Union.

Travelling for business can be tiring, if not dull, at times. You might get stuck on conference calls or sending countless emails, keeping you from leaving the hotel. But there are ways you can make the most of your business trip abroad and actually enjoy it. Here are some tips for turning that boring business trip into a fun and memorable excursion.

1. Research your destination before you leave home

Before you leave Germany, browse Yelp or Foursquare to learn more about what the city has to offer. Does it have a fantastic hiking trail, incredible street food or a famous jazz bar? Make a shortlist of places you’d like to visit. Add these to a downloadable map such as Google Maps, so you have a handy list of places to visit in your spare time. Don’t be afraid to ask colleagues living locally for recommendations — it’s a great way to get to know people and their interests outside of work.

Are all the cool places in the same district? Consider booking your hotel in a more lively part of town close to markets, galleries or artisan coffee shops that you can visit in between meetings. It’s a great alternative to staying at the usual conference venue.

2. Keep yourself occupied on the journey

No one likes dealing with airports and queues of people on a business trip. Download the latest bestseller on your Kindle or listen to some interesting podcasts to distract yourself. Pack a couple of snacks like nuts, dried fruit or chocolate.

3. Choose a hotel with great perks

Consider a hotel with a gym or swimming pool to keep your energy up and get your blood pumping in the morning. Take a seat in the lounge to enjoy reading the local newspaper or a magazine. Book a massage or request a room with a bathtub for a long soak. Enjoy room service, and make use of the robe and slippers. Even if you don’t have time to go explore, you can always get food delivered to your hotel to enjoy local fare beyond that offered by the in-house restaurant — ask for their most popular local dish to experience a new cuisine.

4. Beat jet lag

If you’re struggling with jet lag, focus on eating well and reducing your alcohol intake. Drink plenty of water and limit caffeine after lunch. If it gets the best of you, consider using the sleepless hours to watch the sunrise. Get up early and forgo the hotel breakfast for a walk to a local open-air produce market, a cafe recommended by hotel staff or a stroll on the beach. Some people claim that spending time walking barefoot on grass helps mitigate the effects of jet lag — while this strategy may not be scientifically proven, it does offer some time outdoors in the fresh air.

5. Schedule client meetings strategically

Suggest meeting away from the local office at a coffee shop, park or museum. It gives you a chance to visit areas you might not otherwise have had time to enjoy on the business trip. Rather than staying put in the meeting venue, visit the surrounding area if you have time in between meetings — you might enjoy a flower market, historic sites or shopping for designer shoes.

6. Carve out some time for yourself

At busy events like conferences, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed in large crowds. Carve out some downtime for yourself, even if it’s just listening to a podcast for 15 minutes, enjoying some herbal tea or talking to a loved one back home.

If you find yourself wandering a shop and wanting to purchase a gift for yourself or a loved one, use the Western Union® app to quickly and reliably transfer money between bank accounts, or to send yourself cash for pickup in local currency.

7. Consider staying an extra day or two

Add a day to the beginning or end of your trip to reduce the effects of jet lag and eliminate the need to get up early or stay awake for a late flight. Plus, you’ll be able to fit in some fun non-work activities.

Oftentimes, travelling for work can feel like anything but a holiday — use these tips to bring plenty of joy to your trip, ensuring you arrive home rested and happy.

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