When I first entered into entrepreneurship, I took the idea of bootstrapping seriously, especially when it came to business travel. In fact, my business partner and I would take "budget traveling" to all new levels, often sharing hotel rooms that required us to wear socks at all times and sleep fully clothed on top of sheets.
Our goal was to save money, even if that goal required us to sleep with one eye open.
It was a number of years later when another entrepreneur and good friend suggested that the reasons people start businesses is so they can plan mini-vacations with business travel and expense the entire trip as business. He was mostly kidding, but the small part that was serious really hit home.
By strategically scheduling personal downtime in and around events, and by looking at the expense of travel as an opportunity rather than a burden, I was able to turn business travel into something far more enjoyable -- and actually enjoy my sleep while traveling.
So, as I plan for my visit to New York for this week's Entrepreneur 360 Conference, here are a few tips to help you mix a little pleasure into your next business trip.
1. Venture away from your destination.
On numerous occasions, I have attended a conference or trade show only to stay in the hotel that was hosting the event. While this was more convenient at times, especially during a conference heavy in events, I never had a reason to leave and therefore rarely ventured out to explore the city.
If your business travel permits, consider a hotel a few blocks away from your primary destination. When it is time for meetings, just take a walk and explore the city on the way. Research popular places to visit and map routes ahead of time. While youâ€™re at it, check into and consider extending your stay for local events, such as outdoor concerts and other cultural happenings.
2. Connect with others.
Before you schedule your business trip, reach out to friends and associates that may live in or near your destination. In addition to being a great resource for things to do and places to see, your local friend might be able to help you schedule and secure rooms or reservations. Again, it is a great opportunity to meet up with associates or reconnect with old friends as part of your business trip.
Related: What Your Travel Experience Will Look Like in the Not-So-Distant Future
3. Schedule contingency time.
Traveling by plane has never been easy. Long security lines and delayed flights are but a few of the expected pains of airline travel. The airlinesâ€™ practice of double-booking, however, is one pain that offers opportunities for the ready traveler.
Next time you travel by plane, schedule flexible time before and after your flights. Since many airlines offer compensation to passengers who voluntarily give up their seats in the case of an overbooking, you can be ready to take advantage of the situation.