Road Warriorette has been compensated by Michelin for this post. The views expressed here are her own.
Business travel can get monotonous fast. Get up super early, fly to destination, rent a car, drive to office, work all day, drive to hotel, order room service, try to eat while answering the accumulation of emails that came in during the day, pass out, repeat. While this type of trip is unfortunately too common, there is often a little bit of time that we could use for ourselves. “On this trip, I will go to a yoga class….try a new restaurant….look at the local museum…..catch a play or movie….do one thing fun!” business travelers swear to themselves as they pack their suitcase. But sometimes figuring out that fun thing is so much work it doesn’t seem worth it.
That’s where a good local guide comes in. There are a ton of books, websites, and apps that can help you find something special to the city you are in. One set of guidebooks that has been trusted for years are the Michelin guides. Michelin has guides for many regions, including Italy, France, and various parts of the US. The pocket sized books include recommendations on food, sites and attractions, complete with maps and their reliable rating system.
Here are a few of my favorite ways to get to know the city I’m visiting:
Go out to lunch/dinner. Yes, it’s super easy to have something delivered. But getting out of the office for a while can increase productivity, as well let you eat something tastier than pizza or sandwiches. It’s also a great opportunity to build rapport with your customers or teammates. Of course, when I really have to work, I have brought my laptop to dinner and worked at plenty of restaurant bars.
Skip the exercise room. Sometimes eating out isn’t an option. If you’re an exercise buff, or just a regular person on a health kick, try to do your normal workout out in the city. Bike rentals, running trails, and yoga classes can be found in a lot of cities. In downtown Boston, I walked past a park with a huge Crossfit class. It was a beautiful day, and a ton of people were taking advantage of the workout. If I were looking for a way to get some exercise in (instead of walking by on my way to eat decadent food) it would have been perfect!
Take the scenic route. Having to drive between cities? Take a little extra time and go the scenic route. There are plenty of great eateries and interesting sites off the beaten path, and a road guide like the Michelin Road Atlas can help you put together the best routes. Even when I don’t have time to stop, driving through pretty scenery makes the trip go faster.
Claim two hours. Work trips are usually pretty hectic. A lot of times, though, there is just a little bit of time we can eke out for ourselves if we make the effort. Last week in Manila, I took three hours and went shopping at the famous Green Hills market with a work colleague. It was fun and gave me a great taste of local flavor. Yes, I stayed up a bit later than I would have liked, but it is just not an experience that I can have at home. Whether it’s a local market, play, museum, sporting event, or historical site, take a little time for yourself and explore the city you’re in!
While business trips can be very busy, there’s almost always a way to get to know the city you’re visiting. If you use the widget embedded above, several Michelin guides, as well as the Michelin Road Atlas, are on sale right now. So pick one up and spend some time out with the locals! It will make your trip go faster, and your experience richer.