Picture a house filled with dinner guests discussing the benefits of organic food, bike lanes and the state of today’s youth. The conversation swiftly moves on to careers and what everyone does for a living. One man asks another if he has seen much of the world. He replies that he regularly travels abroad with work: “I don’t actually get to see much of the countries I travel to though.”
Does this sound familiar? It seems like such a waste that whilst away on business we often only venture as far as the hotel lobby, our room or the restaurant. We should embrace the fact that we have our feet on foreign soil.
If you are staying abroad for more than one day and do have a few hours to spare then a rough itinerary needs to be drafted and a small amount of research needs to be done before you set off.
There are several important questions that you need to ask yourself before you leave home:
- How many spare hours will I have each day (without clients)?
- How far is the hotel from the nearest place of interest?
- How good are the transport links?
- What are the top five attractions in the area?
- What will give you a good cultural overview in a short amount of time?
For example, if you’re staying in Paris on business and only have four hours to spare, it would be foolish to go to the Louvre, as the vast space will take up all of your precious time.
Plan your time! Can the hotel organise tours of the local area? This will save you time and give you a valuable insight of the area. Also be realistic about the amount of time you have spare and how far you are from the action – if the nearest city is 60km away and you only have 3 hours then probably best to stay at the hotel and use their facilities. Which brings us to…
If you simply don’t have time to explore, don’t worry. Most hotels provide a number of facilities that can take your mind of business and leave you feeling refreshed, invigorated, soothed or relaxed. If there is a spa, book a luxurious treatment (it’s probably best to do this before you arrive of your trip). Enjoy a relaxing massage – or even better, find out what the hotel’s signature treatment is and make sure you book it. Make the most of the fitness facilities: spending a little time in a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi will help you forget work for a while, and your skin will be eternally grateful.
Also find out if the hotel provides any other unusual or exciting features that will provide respite from work. Clay pigeon shooting, diving, tennis, and cookery classes are just a few options available – all you need to do is ask!