Business travel comes with its ups and downs. The perks like traveling to new destinations, expense accounts, earning miles and accumulating experiences are all exciting. But the downside for many travelers is the stress that comes with business travel, including that of leaving family behind and feeling lonely on the road. So how do you combat these feelings? I've put together nine ideas for maximizing your solo time on a business trip so that you feel refreshed and energized when you get home. This way, you'll not only appreciate your time away, but also appreciate being back home that much more.
Hit the spa
If you’ve got little kids at home, then you know how frenetic life can be. Sometimes it seems there’s barely enough time to sit down and enjoy a quiet cup of coffee let alone consider something as indulgent as a spa treatment. Take advantage of some time away from the chaos to pamper yourself and get that long-awaited and much-deserved massage or facial ... or both!
Whether it’s catching up on work, phone calls or other miscellaneous tasks that keep piling up because you can never find the time to deal with them, some solo time in your hotel room might be the perfect time to check those niggling items off your to-do list. You’ll feel a huge sense of relief to have the cumulative weight of those tasks lifted from your shoulders and when you get home, you’ll be able to focus more fully on your family.
Explore a new city
Business travel can take you to some pretty interesting places. But don’t get caught in a rut where you never leave the convention center or the hotel where all of your meetings are being held. Make a point of getting out and exploring. Take a walk at lunchtime or venture out in the evenings to discover a new neighborhood, attraction or restaurant.
Pro tip: TripIt's Nearby Places feature makes it easy to find places close to where you’re staying. For example, if you’re looking for a restaurant near to where you’re staying, tap on the restaurants option in Nearby Places. It’ll also give you useful information like the restaurant’s contact details, hours, reviews and more. If you want to see where the restaurant is located in relation to your hotel, TripIt will also show you an interactive map with each option tagged.
Finally read that book
If reading is one of those pastimes that has slipped off the radar due to more pressing responsibilities like work and family, know that you’re not alone. With all of the other demands on their time, many people will tell you that reading just doesn’t make the list of priorities. But if deep down, you’re a bibliophile who just wants to steal away some quiet time to get lost in the pages of a book, then use your solo time to do just that. No interruptions, no kids screaming your name, just pure peace and quiet .... aaaaahhhhhh!
Binge that show
Likewise, if everyone you know is telling you that you have to watch such and such a show but you just can’t find the time, then guess what? After your meetings are done, order room service, fire up your laptop and start streaming!
Connect with friends
Do you know anyone in the city you’re visiting? Reach out and let them know you’ll be in town and reconnect with a friend over dinner or drinks. Or use social media to find out if anyone you know will also be in town during the same time frame as you.
Do things that don’t cater to children
Maybe there’s a show or movie you’ve been wanting to see, a museum you’ve wanted to visit or even a store filled with breakables that you’d love to check out but don’t dare take the kids to. Take advantage of your solo time on a business trip to do things that aren’t kid-friendly but that make you happy!
Nothing reduces stress quite like the release of endorphins that happens when you exercise. You don’t have to hit the gym if it doesn’t inspire you. Try going for a swim instead or simply walk outside your hotel and see where your feet lead you. Walking is a great way to get some fresh air and exercise and explore a new city all at the same time.
Stay connected with your family
Of course, the best cure for loneliness while you're on the road is to stay in touch with your family. And fortunately, in this modern age of technology, doing so has never been easier. Between text and email, social media platforms, Skype, FaceTime, WhatsApp and Viber, there are lots of options.