It’s a no-brainer to add a bit of leisure time, perhaps even take your spouse along, on business travel to an iconic destination such as Paris or New York. But don’t reject doing the same when work takes you to out-of-the-way or lesser known spots. I’ve tagged along on several of my spouse’s business trips, and it turns out that it’s the under-the-radar locales I’ve enjoyed the most. It comes down to three main reasons.
It’s Often Less Expensive
Tacking vacation time onto a business trip saves on airfare to begin with, but traveling to a lesser known spot often means even greater value once you’re on the ground.
An example is a recent tag-along trip I took to Sofia, Bulgaria. This European capital city was not on my list of must-see destinations. Before my husband’s business travel took us there, I didn’t know a thing about it. Sofia turned out to be captivating and pleasantly quirky with its mix of youthful energy, Soviet-era architecture and a history that spans several millennia. Compared with other European destinations, it’s also incredibly inexpensive. On one day of exploring, I took an excellent free walking tour and had two outstanding restaurant meals for less than the price of dinner and a movie back home.
It’s worth researching your business travel destination for the value it offers to leisure travelers. You could end up indulging in luxury experiences that would be beyond reach elsewhere or at the least adding some budget-friendly vacation time to your trip.
Fewer Tourists Equals Warmer Reception
It’s a reality that in destinations with high tourism, locals are at best indifferent to your presence or at worst somewhat annoyed. Not so when visiting an under-the-radar spot. My experience has been that cities with a lower profile are eager to welcome visitors and go the extra mile to make your stay enjoyable.
I once took a food tour in Columbus, Ohio and became fast friends with some locals who were also taking it. They were interested to hear what brought me to their city and competed to convince me what to do next on my visit. One person even gave me a ride from the last stop on the tour to my next sightseeing destination!
Rome, Hong Kong or Sydney may be the object of your travel dreams, but I’m doubtful my Columbus experience would happen in those places. Take advantage of destinations that need to try a little harder to impress.
Countless people have taken a spin on the London Eye or made the trek to the Acropolis—world-class attractions to be sure. But uncovering something special that isn’t known the world over has a charming appeal.
On a tag-along trip to Delft in the Netherlands, I escaped a rain storm by ducking into the Museum Prinsenhof, located in a building that once housed the court of William of Orange. My spontaneous visit left me mesmerized with the museum’s unique setting and its innovative and interactive exhibits. I tell anyone travelling to Amsterdam to make the day trip to see this unassuming gem.
Every business trip comes with benefits regardless of the destination. Even if your next flight isn’t to one of the world’s hottest spots, an open mind and an extra day or two could result in a travel dream come true.