Desk Departure

Desk Departure Tip: Make Personal Travel an Extension of Business Travel

Desk Departure: How to travel the world with a full time job

Welcome to The World Incorporated’s Desk Departure series! Monthly tips to show you that it IS possible to travel the world with a full time job. Throughout this series, you’ll learn:

How to travel the world without sacrificing your career.
How to travel more with a full time job.
How to maximize your vacation days.
How travel can advance your career.
How to depart from your desk so you don’t waste your paid time off.

Desk Departure tip: make personal travel an extension of business travel.

Last week I returned from a business trip to Texas. Though confined to the walls of a resort and convention center, I did manage to have a few hours for Texas barbecue and a visit with family.

In October I attended my first industry conference for work. And you bet your luggage tags, I made time for personal exploration too. I spent a majority of my time working, but figured out what to do in Boston with limited time while stuck on a work trip.

quilted world view from the plane on a work trip

A plane’s view of the quilted midwest. My work trip commute.

Take a Work Trip Extension

These days they’re calling it “bleisure” — the blurred lines and fusion of business travel and leisure travel.

There are two things you’re fighting here: Time, the world’s most valuable resource, and Purpose, the reason for how you spend your time. Because most of your time will be spent for work and the reason for your visit is because of work, squeezing in that personal travel can prove challenging.

Here’s what you can do to make personal travel an extension of business travel.

Remember, you’re on a work trip, not a guilt trip.

First, let’s talk about mindset.

If you’re like me, a workaholic who is overzealously obsessed with travel, you may get stars in your eyes when you find out you’re going on a work trip. And if you’re like me, you may feel instantly guilty, “Wow, I get to go to Boston and not have to pay for my trip there.”

And then you may begin thinking, “Well, gee, if they’re paying for my transportation, lodging, and food expenses, I should dedicate 100% of my minutes to work-related activities!”

And then you work until midnight every night. Simply because you’re at a hotel in Boston.

I see travel for work as a perk, a benefit. I love traveling, so it doesn’t feel like work. That’s why I felt guilty.

But there are SO many business travelers who view business travel as an inconvenience, a burden, a chore. It takes people away from their families, their home, their routine. It’s a disruption. It can be exhausting. It’s not as glamorous as it seems. These people simply travel for work, get the job done, go home. They don’t necessarily care about having time for a hop-on hop-off trolley tour of the city they’re visiting.

Work trips and business travel are a matter of perspective.

Remember, when the work day has concluded and the job is done, you’re allowed to explore, just like when you walk out of your office back home. Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself. Don’t feel guilty.

Keep in mind that you’ll have the entire plane ride to get work done too.

Understand and optimize your travel schedule.

What’s the earliest you can arrive? How about latest to depart? How much of your day is committed to business? Can you integrate some of your travel-to-dos with business, like a working lunch at a local eatery listed as a ‘must try’ in your destination?

Staying at the Gaylord Texan Resort while on a work trip.

Inside the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center. Sometimes business travel means you’re confined to one space!

There are a couple ways that you can expand your travel schedule:

+Stay longer, with a relevant extension.

Say you want to stay an extra day beyond the conference or business trip to explore. You’re on your company’s dime, how are you going to make it worth it? Remember, the value of your visit needs to exceed the cost of your visit.

  1. Set up a business meeting with a client or partner a day before the conference begins or a day after the conference ends.
  2. Sign up for for a local training or networking event.
  3. Plant yourself at a coffee shop or co-working space and promise a solid day of remote work. Then go play.

+If it isn’t relevant, take accountability and pay the extra day.

When you want to extend a work trip and don’t have valid business reasons to do so, open your wallet and pay up for the extra night in the hotel, per diem costs, and difference in transportation costs. It’s the moral thing to do. 

Just ask. “Hey Boss, I’m looking forward to attending the conference in Boston next month. Since I’ve never been, I’d love to extend my trip an additional day as a vacation day. In fact, if I stay through Thursday instead of Wednesday, the flight is $150 cheaper.”

Just be mindful that your extended day could fluctuate transportation costs. Leaving on a Friday could be vastly more expensive than leaving on a Thursday. Play with flight schedules and your extended stay could result in a more affordable flight. Bonus points if your extended stay saves the company money. If your extension results in a more expensive flight, offer to pay the difference. 

How have you extended a work trip for personal travel?

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