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All Work & All Play: How to Make Time for Touristy Stuff on a Business Trip

How to make the most of your business trip

Many of us travel for business on a regular basis. When visiting a city for work purposes, my focus is usually on the job at hand. However, after a decade of traveling regularly for business, I’ve figured out ways to both have my cake AND eat it — in other words, have fun and explore new places when I’m not working. That’s right, it’s possible to do touristy stuff even when you’re on a business trip and here’s how you do it:

Build in an Extra Day

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If possible, build in an extra day at the beginning or end of your work trip to see the sights. I like to do this especially if I’m going to a city with a lot of things to do. For example, the last time I went to New York for a writing job, I stayed a day after my project was completed to take in the Matisse show at MOMA and go out to dinner in the city with a friend. Since I planned this ahead of time, the day felt more relaxing than rushed, and I actually returned home feeling rejuvenated instead of exhausted.

Use Your Downtime Wisely

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Even the most intense work trips are sure to have a bit of downtime. Sneak away to see a historic site during your lunch hour, take an early evening tour before dinner, or book tickets to a weeknight play. If you are moving around a city (or country) for work, figure out where you’ll be in relation to interesting sights and activities and plan out the best ways to use your downtime each day.

It’s even better if you’re traveling with colleagues who like to do the same types of things that you do. Having someone to go sightseeing with will help you stay motivated to actually go out during your off hours.

Your colleague might also have ideas of interesting things to see and do that you didn’t even know about. The last time I was in Los Angeles for work, a colleague took me to a restaurant for lunch between photo shoots for our book project. I would have never gone there on my own, and we ended up having a blast! We even had a few celebrity sightings (and brought back great stories for our colleagues at home)!

Work Smarter, Not Harder

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Try to identify ways to cut down on the time you spend working without sacrificing the quality of your work. By staying organized and communicating effectively with your colleagues, you can shave off precious minutes and spend more time enjoying your location. When I was in Barcelona sourcing for my design company, I made sure to stay focused during the morning at flea markets and vendor meetings so that I could take my afternoons off to explore the city.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you head off to a new city for work. Chances are you’ll get much more out of the experience.

Have you ever done touristy stuff on a business trip? How did you make it happen? Where did you go and what did you do? Let us know in the comments section.


About the author

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

Jen Westmoreland Bouchard

An insatiable foodie, art collector, and international literature aficionado, I have traveled throughout Europe, Asia, the U.S. and Canada. For the past fifteen years, I have written about my adventures for various travel and literary publications. I am the owner of Lucidité Writing ( and Bouchard Design Co. (

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