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Let’s face it, as exciting as they may sound, business trips can be hectic, tiring, stressful and anything but relaxing. But there are plenty of ways to get the most out of your destination, and enjoy a little “bleisure”—business mixed with leisure—to make your trip feel more like a getaway.

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Do your homework
Who says researching a destination needs to be reserved for leisure travel? Plan ahead—especially if you will have a limited amount of free time—and look up all the fun things to see and do in your destination. I’m talking cool restaurants and bars, spas, museums and historical sites. Put the word out to your friends and colleagues for tips, too.

Choose a hotel with a great location…
It’s your home away from home so you may as well make it a great one. It’s easier to get in some downtime if your hotel is well situated. Nobody has time for long taxi rides or public transport trips. Go for either a hotel within close proximity to your work obligations or near sights or activities you plan to enjoy in your free time. I’m always pretty partial to positioning myself near the shopping action.

…and great amenities
A great fitness center, a spa or massage services, an amazing pool, and room service are just a few amenities which will enhance your chances of R&R when you’re not working. Make use of them and don’t feel guilty! Everything tastes better when delivered as room service and enjoyed wearing a robe in bed.

If you don’t ask, you don’t get
Request a room with a balcony or a view so you can benefit from fresh air or enjoy the scenery. Also request a bathtub so you can enjoy a long soak after a busy day, or a room with access to a club lounge with perks. I’m looking at you, complimentary drinks and canapes.

Be smart with your work schedule
Work trip days can be super long but where possible, schedule meetings so that you have a decent window of free time in the morning, afternoon or evening. This will give you time to explore, go for dinner or even enjoy a massage.

Plan meetings at fun locations
Suggest meeting away from the office at unusual or casual places such as a local coffee shop for the atmosphere, a picturesque park, a museum, or a restaurant where you can also sample the local cuisine. If you can, organize meetings near places you’d like to explore and enjoy afterwards, such as a particular neighborhood, or local historic sights and exhibitions.

ALSO: Earn rewards on your business travel and use if toward your next vacation when you join Orbitz Rewards!

Get out and about
While it’s always tempting to stay in your hotel room after a long work day and opt for room service (totally do it, just not every night), instead transform meal times into an opportunity for exploration, and the chance to meet new people or get to know some of your colleagues or business contacts away from the office.

Get up early
If you’re off the hook with early meetings—well played, you—use the first part of the day to do something for yourself. Watch the sunset, try a local fitness class or do something completely touristy like a hop-on, hop-off bus ride or market tour. These make for great conversation-starters during your work day too.

Pack for “bleisure”
Don’t limit yourself to only work clothes; pack things you’d take on holiday including your swimsuit, sunscreen, workout gear, good walking shoes, casual clothes and a good book. Nobody wants to hang at the hotel bar after a long day in a power suit.

Stay an extra day or two
Consider adding extra days to the start or end of your trip. This takes some of the pressure off “making the most” of your trip if you have a particularly hectic work schedule. And don’t be limited to your work destination, you can always head somewhere else nearby, or if you’re flying internationally, make the most of a stopover and kick back and see the sights.

Manage your own expectations
Avoid stressing yourself out trying to do everything by thinking of any leisure time you get as a bonus. If nothing else, you’re sussing out a destination for future holiday potential!

Extend your stay
If you can, plan your trip towards the end of the week (or the very beginning), tack a few extra days on to your trip so you can freely explore the city. After all, your company’s likely picking up your airfare, so you only have to pony up for a few extra nights at a hotel.

Bring the family
If you are able to tack on a few extra days, consider bringing the family along and parlay your business trip into a full-fledged vacation. They can sightsee while you’re working and then everybody can regroup at night, plus you’ll have those extra days completely to yourselves.

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Kirsty La Bruni

Kirsty La Bruni

Kirsty is based in Australia and enjoys traveling with her two kids and hubby.
Kirsty La Bruni

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