How to Make a Business Trip Fun

Updated June 1, 2020.

All work and no play makes travel a lot less fun! I’m always a little sad when I meet people in my travels who are traveling for work but not seeing or doing anything fun along the way. Maybe it seems impossible, maybe it seems like it’s against the rules (it’s not), but no excuse is a good one. Here is the short list of the best ways to make the most of your next business trip!

Get Up Early

If you know you won’t be able to take a lunch break or that you’ll be working later, get up early! Go for a run or just a walk, and see all the sites you can before you have to go into work. Museums and indoor things to do may be closed, but there is usually so much to see right outside! Think public gardens, landmarks, monuments, hikes with beautiful vistas, and iconic bridges!

Make that morning hike part of your trip!

Use Your Per Diem

This is one of the mistakes I made as a young employee who thought it was wisest to shop at the local grocery store instead of restaurants so I could save my per diem. I missed out on a lot of exciting foodie experiences! Or museum experiences! Or local shopping experiences! That per diem is a flat rate that’s just given to you, so use it to make the most of your experience.

Don’t be a cheap-o and miss out on something fun! Treat yourself; you’re working hard!

Extend Your Trip

This one gets a little tricky, but if you know what the rules are, you can make those rules work for you. Can you pay for a couple of extra nights at the hotel (or go to a different hotel on your own dime) and just come home a couple of days later? Can you go early? Check train or flight prices and make a case for saving them money by leaving or coming home on a less expensive day. Get a little creative.

I took several trip to Philly for work in the summer of 2012, and I made sure to see it all!

Take Advantage of Your Lunch Break

If you do get a lunch break on your business trip, grab a quick bite and take advantage of that hour or so that’s allotted for you. Go to a museum that you would miss before or after working hours. Go up to that viewing deck and take in the lay of the city. Check out that local farmers’ market that happens to be in the middle of the day, in the middle of the week! Use your time wisely.

Reserve a ticket online if there’s a place you really want to visit. This view from the top of the Washington Monument can be had in less than 30 minutes—giving you plenty of time to get back to the office!

Bring Someone Along

For an extra fun trip, bring someone along! Pay for their flight or train ticket with all the points or miles you’ve accrued on previous trips, and let them explore while you’re working. You can have breakfast together, then meet up for dinner after work, and maybe even see a show or do something fun together like walk around the most iconic sites in the city or take a ghost tour. Solo travel is fun and exciting, but sometimes it’s also fun to share an experience!

It was super fun to spend time with my friend Jill
and try out local coffee shops on my trip to Plano!
Essential info:
What to Know About Your Travel Buddy (before you travel together)

Bonus: Rack Up the Points!

A super fun side-effect of business travel is the ability to rack up points with hotels, airlines, and your personal credit card (always pay it off)! You can definitely use all that business travel to pay for your own personal travels. Those vacation days won’t use themselves!

Last year we used airline points to fly Business Class to Verona, Italy, for Valentine’s Day!
Read on: Beginner’s Guide to Using Airline Miles
and Beginner’s Guide to Using Credit Card Points

Have you found other ways to have more fun on a business trip? Share them in the comments section!

Want more? Check out my Travel Tips Page for everything you need!

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