What To Do On a Business Trip Alone
Solo business travel is not for everyone, but it’s inevitable. Not sure how to survive your first business trip alone? Here are five business travel tips that have proven to work.
Experience the best things the city has to offer
Solo business travel doesn’t have to be boring if you are strategic about your itinerary. When visiting major business destinations, such as Dubai, Los Angeles, or Singapore, you need to be strategic about selecting restaurants, bars, and tourist attractions to include in your schedule. The last thing you want to do is stay in your hotel, order room service, and watch reruns of your favorite TV shows.
To make the most of your solo business trip, explore the city’s rich culture, learn about its history, and see the iconic attractions in your free time. Your first business trip alone can be challenging, but as you begin to practice the art of bleisure, you will have a much more fulfilling and memorable business trip alone (or with companions) in the future. The best thing about it? You’ll gain more confidence, and become an expert at it sooner rather than later.
Befriend the hotel staff or your local host
Search engines may be your best friend while traveling abroad alone, but sometimes, they could also be your worst enemy. Their long list of top restaurants and attractions can be overwhelming. What’s a better alternative? That’s when hotel staff or your host company can come in handy. It’s still best to get your information from residents who know the neighborhood better than you do.
Be nice to the receptionist and your local host, and you’re likely to get valuable intel as to the best spots in the city. Politely ask for their recommendations. You’ll be surprised by the gems you’ll find. Off-the-beaten destinations are often discovered by asking those who live in the area themselves. If they can’t offer you any help, at least they might be able to point out people or tour companies that can serve your needs. If all else fails, you can always go to your trusted business travel website, and get the information you need.
Get comfortable with dining alone
So, client meetings are over and it’s “me-time.” Are you ready to ask the wait staff for a table for one? For many female business travelers, sitting alone in a restaurant in a foreign city seems like a dreadful situation to be in. But it does not have to be. If you like to unwind with a good wine after a scrumptious dinner, you can sit at a bar, mingle with fellow solo business travelers, or chat with the barista.
Don’t like drinking? Research a good restaurant before going out to dine, or if placing a reservation is allowed, book a corner table to avoid the discomfort of getting stares from strangers. While waiting for your meal, take out a book, a newspaper, or your smartphone/iPad/Kindle. If people keep staring at you, take it as a sign that they are not happy or engaged enough with their dining companions. Delight in your own company, and savor every bit of your gourmet meal.
Bring your workout clothes.
Traveling solo doesn’t have to put off your exercise routine. Stay fit and sharp by squeezing in a workout into your schedule. Most airport lounges and five-star hotels have upped their ante when it comes to providing fitness facilities to cater to modern business travelers’ needs. If you are attending a high-stakes meeting, all the more reason to stay mentally alert and physically fit.
You know the benefits of exercise, but a business trip can easily ruin your meticulously scheduled workouts. One trick is to pack your workout gear, so you’re less likely to find an excuse to skip a swim or run. Long-time business travelers prefer to exercise early in the morning as it keeps them energized throughout the day. Don’t have a big chunk of time for a workout session? Take the stairs, or walk at least 10,000 steps.
Enjoy pre-flight amenities like a VIP
If you are flying long-haul, the company that paid for your trip likely booked you on a business class flight. Your airline ticket comes with innumerable perks. Hong Kong, Dubai, Frankfurt, and other major cities have exceptional airport services and facilities that you can take advantage of before your flight.
For instance, you can enjoy the exemplary teahouse and relaxation room in The Pier, a premier business lounge in the Hong Kong Airport. Buffet stations in most first class and business class lounges also offer a great variety of local and international food. If you’re flying first class, you can enjoy more luxurious lounge amenities, including complimentary spa treatments and massages. Some airlines have extended the service to business class passengers, i.e. Etihad First & Business Lounge Abu Dhabi.
Bonus tip: Follow some basic travel safety tips. Visit the Bureau of Consular Affairs before traveling overseas. If your company has an officer in charge of assessing and analyzing the risks in a particular destination, let him go through your itinerary before leaving. Before you fly, check health precautions, cultural issues, local customs, and laws that you need to abide by. Last but not least, set up an emergency plan, and keep a record of phone numbers you can call to ask for help.
Have more ideas on how to turn a seemingly lonely solo business trip into an unforgettable vacation? Share your thoughts in the comments.
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