Life is extremely fast-paced and stressful at the best of times, but when international travel is a mandatory element of your job role it can be tricky to try and appreciate the new cities and locations you are sent to with work. It doesn’t need to be this way.

Making time to enjoy the different cities your career allows you the chance to visit should be an integral part of business travel, otherwise you potentially risk becoming complacent or resentful of the job. It’s a shame to waste the visit to a multitude of gorgeous cities and countries by not making the most of your time there.

Here are some of my top tips on how to ensure you combine a business trip with pleasure, never missing those attractions or sightseeing spots again.

Organise Morning Meetings

If you’re going to only be visiting a new location for a day or two, one of the best ways to ensure you utilise your time well is to organise any meetings with business associated as early as you can. This will allow you the rest of the day to explore your surroundings and take in some sights before having to catch your flight or train back home.

Suggest to the individual(s) you’re abroad meeting that you liaise over a breakfast or brunch meeting; this way you can indulge in some local cuisine whilst ideally completing your work before noon. Mornings are also great for productivity, so the creative juices in your brain should be flowing freely.

Consider Your Accommodation Options

Often you won’t have a say on where you’ll be staying for a business trip away, yet if you’re given the opportunity to book your own accommodation try and find somewhere that is both affordable and close to the heart of the city you’re visiting. This will allow ease of access to some of the local attractions, giving you more opportunity to soak up the city’s culture and maybe even experience the local nightlife, all before you have to leave.

There are plenty of accommodation options; including Staycity Aparthotels in such European cities as Lyon, Paris and Marseille. Carry out some research and find which choice fits your business trips needs the best.

Keep It Short & Simple

No one benefits from a business meeting that loses focus and drags on for much longer than it needs to, especially if you are trying to make the most of a visit to a new city. If possible, keep your meeting as short and to the point as possible.

Prior to your trip, create a calendar reminder for everyone attending the meeting with both a start time and an end time. Also consider writing up an agenda for the meeting and send it to those who will be present to ensure that they can make notes themselves prior to the conference; this prevents surprise topics arising or pointless questions in the meeting which will save you time.

Think About Your Meeting Location

If breakfast or brunch locations aren’t a viable option for your business associates, consider organising your meeting somewhere in the city with a view.

There are plenty of scenic locations in cities across the world that would make for a breath-taking backdrop for a corporate meeting. Some example locations are parks (weather permitting) and museums, which often have conference rooms available and make for a refreshing change from a typical boardroom.

Seek City Recommendations

If you’re meeting with people who know the area well, do not be afraid to contact them in advance to ask for recommendations of what there is to do in the local area. They will know what monuments, attractions and sightseeing spots are the most worth your time and in the vicinity of the area you’ll be visiting, which means you won’t miss any of the best parts of the city.

This will also help you to develop more of a friendly relationship with potential clients or colleagues, and they might even offer to show you some of the top city spots themselves!

Ask Your Boss For a Favour

It can be a risky move but if you have a good relationship with your boss and you are visiting a city you have always wanted to spend time in, then there is no harm in asking them if it would be okay for you to organise your trip on a Friday in order to allow you to stay on an extra day. This might not always pay off, but if you don’t ask then you’ll never know!

The extra day will allow you to take things slower, really maximising your chance to see everything the city has to offer.

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