10 Tips To Slay Your Work Trips & Have Fun While Doing It
Updated: May 5, 2019
Everybody who has a job has posed the question, "Why can't I quit and take a perma-vacay?!" You wake up, eyes tired, bones cracking, and go through the motions only to arrive at the door of a job you know you only go to because you have to pay the bills.
Sure -- some people love their jobs, but even they have experienced the desire to vacation and get paid to do it! For most, that dream takes a while to come to fruition, but, when the day comes that your boss passes your cubicle and says
"Hey! I need you to fly out on company business..." At first your eyes may glaze over and you'll stop listening because the only thing you heard was "fly out"; But after realizing that you'll be going on a work-cation...I want you to be prepared!
While we all dream of jet setting to far-off places to attend a conference in Milan, or a meeting in Japan and catch a few sights in between, work-cations aren't always as glamorous as they seem.
In fact you actually end up doing a lot of well --- work!
So, if this is your first work-cation, or you've been on a few before, here are a few tips to help you survive when your travel plans require work!
1. It's NOT a vacation
Despite its misleading, albeit catchy title, a work-cation is not actually a vacation --- You're getting paid to work and you better believe you'll have to do a lot of it. Work trips generally require much longer hours than the 8 required in a regular work day, so be prepared and wear comfortable shoes!
2. Pack Light
While the thought of shmoozing with the big wigs and stunting in your best is absolutely appealing; the reality is that every day is NOT going to be a fashion show. Plan out 2 outfits for each day on the trip, and try to stick to that! Try to fit everything in a carry-on because there's nothing worse than an airline losing your bag less than 24 hours before a big presentation. You may be tempted to over pack, but remember, the more space you leave in your suitcase, the more space you'll have to shop :).
3. Plan ahead
Ask your boss for an itinerary of the trip before you go away. This way you can easily map out the times when your presence will be required in advance so you can plan out when you'll have the opportunity to sight see. Everyday we wake up to an onslaught of pictures of the glamorous lives of people getting paid to travel and making us green while they do it. But what they fail to show is how much prep time and opportunity you actually have for a photo-op. In this regard, I stress please plan ahead -- your insta followers will thank you.
4. Always carry at least $50 in whatever currency you'll be using. Sure it's 2019, but believe me, not everywhere accepts your card.
5. Snag a window seat!
On long plane rides it's almost inevitable that you'll doze off at least once, so unless you want to wake up with your head rested on some strangers shoulder, try to snag a seat by the window. Sure going to the bathroom will be a pain, but your neck and your plane ride neighbor will be so much happier!
6. If you have food allergies, always carry non perishable snacks! You may not always find gluten free, or vegan friendly meal options, so always have a little something to munch on.
7. Do not sleep when you arrive
This is mainly to avoid jet lag. Your body may be begging you to sleep but try to stay awake until your normal bed time in that time zone. If you absolutely can't stay awake then keep your nap to an hour minimum. You may feel tired for a day but your body will adjust faster! #teamnonaps.
8. Do not over indulge
One thing that's common on work trips is food and drinks being covered by your company -- emphasis on the drinks. After a long day at work, all the employees on the trip may retire to the hotel restaurant (aka the bar) for a night cap; and while you may be thinking "YESSS FREE BOOZE!" because well -- aren't we all, know your limits and stay within it. Yes, you may be encouraged to let loose, but always remember Linda from HR is alwaaaays watching......
9. Of course you're really only there for the pics (and because your boss told you to), so this goes without saying but make sure TAKE ADVANTAGE OF WHATEVER DOWNTIME YOU HAVE.
DO NOT spend your free time in the hotel! Go out and explore. This could be your one and only opportunity to travel on someone else's dime, so please make the most of it for both yourself and for all of us sitting in our cubicles.
10. Last but not least: HAVE FUN!
Work trips are always a lot of work. They're both physically and mentally draining; but keep the same enthusiasm you had from day one all the way to day seven! It's a brand new experience no matter how many times you go and if you stay positive and have fun, every experience will always be memorable!