How to feel at home on a long business trip
World Fashion Apartments offers stylish, clean and modern short stay apartments in Amsterdam, Utrecht and Eindhoven.
Travelling for work can be both a hassle and a delight. Experiencing a new culture whilst forging new work relationships can be offset by loneliness and boredom if you’re unable to get your teeth into the new city.
For longer working trips especially, managing your non-work time is key to the overall pleasure of the trip. The degree to which you can make a new city familiar, or somewhere you’d love to return to, can be a great support to your working time.
9 ways to feel at home on a work trip
This little list should help you put down some roots and get the most out of longer business trips.
1. Get on top of the basics
Take some time to go shopping and buy yourself basic things to make sure you can cook more easily at home: snacks, tea and coffee especially. Even buying a few simple goods such as cereal and breakfast can help you feel more at ease and in control.
2. Get culturally inspired
Check out the programmes of the major museums, theatres, music venues and galleries before you leave to get the most out of the city’s cultural agenda. You can also get tips from your business contacts for the more out-of-the-way and interesting places.
3. Cook for yourself
Home-cooked food, however simple, can break the endless diet of restaurant food and give you valuable time alone. Providing for yourself can also create a sense of ownership over routines that are otherwise managed for you. Arm yourself with recipes beforehand, or make an attempt to cook the local food.
Long walks down random streets, ending up in high-class neighbourhoods, stumbling across a perfect restaurant, or intimate music venue – none of these are possible if you stay firmly on the rails. Make your time alone an adventure, and surprise the locals with the cool places you’ve already managed to find.
5. Build in relaxation time
One of the main aspects of foreign travel is the breakdown of your usual routine. You are also likely to be using a lot of spare time seeing colleagues and clients after hours.
To remedy this, see if you can build in relaxation time that take you out of the usual stream of meetings and decision-making. Run a hot bath, watch your favourite DVD box set or get ahead with the novel you are often too occupied to read.
6. Maintain your fitness routine
A pair of running shoes can turn a foreign city into your own playground. Explore new routes and parks, and above all stay on top of your physical health. Find gyms nearby - if you don’t have one in your hotel or apartment block, your concierge will likely find one for you.
7. Invent rituals
A morning cup of coffee, your favourite place to have dinner or stretch of park to walk in, are all part of gaining psychological comfort in the place where you are staying. See if you can pay particular attention to your local area in the first few days to invent rituals and routines you can rely on for the rest of your stay.
8. Introduce yourself to the neighbours
Finding friends close by can be a huge blessing, humanising the place you’re living in and spreading your social contact beyond the people you’re doing business with. Your accommodation may even run social events you can join. Who knows? You may just find someone you want to stay in touch with.
9. Contain your office hours
Find a way of keeping work out of your personal hours. Without the natural constraints of home or family, you may find it difficult to stop work from taking up all your time. See if you can reserve your non-work time for yourself. Try to keep a reasonable 9-6 schedule if you can, and don’t be tempted to cram in work when you don’t have to.
Find a balance and make the most of it!
All in all, the pleasure of business travel lies in maximising the time you have available, whilst being able to build-in home-comforts. The more you can integrate home life with making the most of local delights, the more enjoyable your trip is likely to be. Have fun!
We’d love to hear your own rituals and tips that help you get the most out of your long stays in the comments section below.
Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Book your next stay with World Fashion Apartments!