Have you ever heard the expression, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”? Or do you travel extensively for work and find that you’re getting burnt out on the travel bug? As a young professional, travel is both exciting and time-consuming; a fantastic perk of the job but also a tedious one to plan. How does one make business travel both productive and fun, or how can leisure travel not feel like work? It all comes down to figuring out what makes each style different – and how you can learn from each style to create your very own travel style.
Business travel wins points for efficiency and style. Business travelers are dressed impeccably for short jaunts across the country or to international business meetings, often with just a carry-on luggage for business travel and a laptop bag – no checked bags here. Dress codes are pre-determined, so packing is simple and quick because the checklist of items needed is kept to a minimum and doesn’t always account for additional activities in the city. To spruce up your business trip, pack an extra outfit for an impromptu lunch or dinner with a friend or colleague, (also great for emergencies) or some active wear to get out and explore the outdoors.
On the flip side, we tend to over-pack when we travel for fun. Leisure travel is activity-based (swimming, hiking, nights out, etc.) and therefore the wardrobe possibilities are endless. This leads to heavy suitcases, overage fees, and complaints of “nothing to wear” in sea of endless options – which leads to a more stressful experience than you planned. The rule of thumb is to pack what you think you need into your suitcase then reduce it by half. Then, double the amount of money you planned to bring. No more stress about having to pay extra for a heavy suitcase or having to pay a withdrawal fee at an ATM because you didn’t bring enough cash.
Business travelers are usually on tight schedules and they want to get through the airport as quickly possible. While many young professionals may err on the side of comfort when traveling (I’m guilty of this), the business traveler moves through the security lines with ease, easily kicking off a seemingly uncomfortable pair of heels while others are busy untying their shoelaces. However, business travelers can learn a few things from the leisure travelers – such as packing snacks in their carry-on or using an app like GateGuru to find out which shops and restaurants are available in each airport terminal to plan meals accordingly.
Leisure travelers tend to have longer layovers at the airports – resulting in hours sitting in the waiting area chairs and buying fast food from the food court. If you find yourself on a long travel day on the way home from your vacation, take a cue from the business traveler and consider paying a day pass for access to an airport lounge (some do have public access!). Many lounges provide food and drink, access to showers, Wi-Fi internet, and comfortable chairs to help you stay calm from the stressors of airport navigation – all for a one-time fee.
Here is where business travelers and leisure travelers are often alike – they choose their accommodations based on location and price and often want to be centrally-located so they have access to public transportation or easy access to wherever their daily activities will take place. Where business and leisure travel differs, however, are the amenities offered. Business travelers need internet access, fitness centers, business centers, and ideally, a café or coffee shop in the hotel, while leisure travelers want to have comfortable rooms since they may be staying there for extended periods of time.
Business travelers – consider staying at a hotel that has a running program through the city – you can avoid the confines of a hotel fitness center and get to see a bit of the city you’re visiting for a short period of time.
Last but not least – what you do during your travels is essential to how you feel once you return. Leisure travelers – it’s not time for work, so make sure to consolidate your devices and leave your laptop at home. You can access your e-book library via an app on your phone or tablet, keeping you from bringing multiple devices and constantly staying “plugged in”. Another rule is to turn off access to emails to your phone so you can truly enjoy your free time. Using travel planning apps to coordinate each piece of your vacation will mean less time worrying and more time relaxing.
Business travelers – carve in an hour or two in your evening to participate in a local activity or sporting event (if you have time) when in a city for meetings. Chances are, unless you’re entertaining a client or having a dinner meeting, the night times are reserved for you to catch up on emails or eat dinner. If time is short, make it a plan to always visit one local shop or have the local coffee in every place you travel to – thus making your travels a bit more unique and enjoyable.
Whether you’re traveling for business or leisure – you may think that one outweighs the other, but just the mere act of traveling is already building up your resume to being a better, well-rounded person. All travel is good travel – so make the most of it and find the travel style that suits you best.