More often than not, we travel more for work, than we do on vacations. For business owners, big and small, work always comes first. The workday no longer ends at 5pm; from taking a call at 10 o’clock at night to checking emails while you are brushing your teeth in the morning; to missing birthdays, anniversaries, soccer games and family time… money never sleeps. And because of this, a lot of us don’t either.
What if I told you, that you could turn your next business trip into a mini vacation! Would you believe that it is possible to enjoy much needed family time or personal time while on a business trip? It is called a “Bizcation.” It is when you take your business trip and turn it into a vacation. While taking care of business is very important, why not take advantage and mix business with a little pleasure while in a desirable destination?
Here are some Pre and Post Travel Tips on how you can mix business with pleasure.
PRE Travel Tips
Travel on your company’s dime: Your company is going to pay for your airline ticket and hotel anyway, why not take advantage of your company’s business travel policy. Confirm they have a leisure travel policy for its employees while traveling on business. You will not use anymore of the company’s resources than you would ordinarily. This is the perfect opportunity to enjoy some leisure time while on your company’s dime.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – Remember to always keep personal expenses separate from your business expenses.
Extend Your Trip: While traveling for work, whether it be a convention or conference, you may have to arrive a few days early to set up and stay a few days later on the back end for break down. Whether or not this is the case, add a few extra days on either end of travel for your leisure. You will not have to use any of your vacations days. Your out-of-pocket expenses will be nominal, as you are only paying for a few extra hotel nights stays at your leisure.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – If your extended stay is at the same hotel, upon check-in, let the hotel know you have another reservation once this one ends. Request to stay in the same room. This alleviate changing rooms with luggage and all of your other/work belongings. You may have to check out of the work reservation and check in to your new one.
Hubba, Hubba: If you are traveling on business especially internationally, use that destination as a hub to travel somewhere else. For example, if you are in London, take a flight or hop on the Eurostar, high-speed train and you can be in Paris in 2-hours. Spend a few days there or take the Eurostar again and in 2-hours and 15-minutes, you’re in Brussels. You have completely eliminated the cost of international flights and reduced your out of pocket expenses greatly.
Weekend Warrior: If your business travel ends near the end of the work week, check with your employer to see if you are needed during the weekend. If not, take this time to enjoy yourself and wind down from the work week.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – Some hotels charge more during the week and discount on the weekend because a majority of their business happens during the week.
It’s A Family Affair: If your business travel takes you to Chicago, Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas, New Orleans, New York, San Francisco or any other top tourist destination, domestic especially, this is the perfect opportunity to invite your family and take them on that much needed mini-vacation! Your out-of-pocket expenses will only be airfare (pending approval from your company’s travel policy to share your room with them). Your family can take advantage of the hotel’s amenities and tourist’s sights until you are done working and then “It’s a family affair.”
Layovers are a good thing: Have you ever had an air itinerary that took you into a city for a few hours or a day because it was cost-effective for the company? This is the perfect time to explore that city and have a mini-break-away just for you. If you are traveling from New York to Arizona and have a few hours layover in Baltimore, you are only an hour away from our Nation’s Capital. Take the MARC Train, buy a round trip ticket at the station and do a self-guided walking tour on the National Mall or The White House. You already have your boarding pass and you do not have to retrieve your luggage at the airport as it has been checked all the way through. But you will have to go through security checkpoint to catch your flight home.
POST Travel Tips
Work: After being out of the office for an extended period of time and even if you have been virtually connected, you will still need to get re-acclimated back at the office. Take this time to follow up with your replacement while you were gone, get back on your regular work-office schedule including lunch and breaks.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – Extend your voicemail and email’s out-of-office messages for your actual date of return into the office. Do not schedule any appointments or meeting on your first day back into the office. This will give you an opportunity to catch up on all emails and messages that you did not check while you were away on business.
Family: If you have a regular family schedule in reference to homework, sports, date night and bed time, try to keep those while on the road via telephone and social media outlets. This will make the reconnection with your family easier and smooth because you would not have skipped a beat.
Reconcile: While away on your “Bizcation” please make sure to keep your business expenses and your personal expenses separate. From hotels, taxis, car rentals, meals, entertainment, supplies, any and all other expenses must be kept separate. This will make reconciling your business report much easier.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – Keep two (2) envelopes labeled “business” and “leisure”. During working hours, put all receipts in that envelope. After work, switch envelopes and put all leisure receipts in there, always with the most recent receipt in front.
Re-engage: This is different from reconnecting. You want to re-engage in your everyday work and home life.
Work: Picking up where you left off at work in reference to projects. Attend the next staff meeting and ask for a new assignment. Take your team or co-workers out to lunch and catch up on news from the office.
Family: Even though you stayed connected while you were away, ease back into the day-to-day routine. There could have been a nightmare and the little one is sleeping in mommy and daddy’s bed. While one of the two parents are away, there is a “new normal” the family takes on. And while you should re-engage upon your return, ease into it and don’t quit everything all at once and go cold turkey back to the “regular routine” ease back into it.
“Tipping you in the right direction” – Before you leave, schedule “family night or date night” with your spouse or partner. This gives the family something to look forward to when you return home.