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Make a mini vacation out of your work trips with these 4 tips

May 31, 2022
5 min read
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All trips are not created equal. There are romantic getaways, family vacations and trips with friends. Then there are business trips.

All too often, these are quick jaunts that can blur together into an endless parade of hotel ballrooms, bland conference rooms and chain restaurants.

The pandemic has reshaped many things about travel, including the length and frequency of work trips.

But what about their level of fun? (Yes, fun!)

I’ve always tried to add a little bit of “local” to each of my work trips as a way to break up what can otherwise be a monotonous slog from city to city. These days, I find myself doubling down on those efforts to try to make my work travel just a little bit more exciting.

So how do I do it? Here are my tips for getting the most out of your business trips.

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Always pack a bathing suit

A quick dip in the hotel pool or hot tub can transform a stuffy trip into a mini vacation. OK, that might be overstating it — but at the very least, it can help reset your frame of mind.

I find that the act of taking off my work clothes and putting on a bathing suit forces me to stop thinking about my job for a few minutes. You can swim a few laps and get the blood flowing, or slip into the hot tub and ease those sore traveling muscles.

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Try to pack a bathing suit that you know dries fast. Add in a plastic bag, too, just in case it doesn’t. Yes, this is one more thing for your suitcase, but bringing it can help inject a bit of relaxation into your trip.

The swimming pool at the SpringHill Suites Amelia Island at night. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Get outside

It’s all too easy to remain in our travel bubbles. Between taxis, airports and meeting rooms, we forget that we are not actually getting any fresh air.

For me, the best way to get to know a new city is to go on a run. But not everybody enjoys running. That’s OK. There are other ways to enjoy your surroundings.

On a recent trip to Florida, I was still recovering from an injury and couldn’t go on my run. So, I woke up early each day and went for a sunrise walk on the beach.

It wasn’t a giant walk, but it gave me just enough time to enjoy the ocean breeze, hear the waves crash and clear my mind.

The rest of my days were spent in meetings, but I at least felt like I was getting a little bit of a beach trip in.

A sunrise walk on the beach at Fernandina Beach, Florida. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Be smart about upgrades

I usually don’t care about hotel suite upgrades on business trips. Sure they are nice, but I’m typically by myself and not spending tons of time in the room itself.

But I’ve recently been paying more attention to the car I rent.

First off, I almost always rent a car even if other people love relying on Lyft and Uber. Having a car forces me to not have my head buried in my phone. I need to look out the window, see what’s around, pay attention to directions and get a sense of an area.

I have elite status with all three big car rental agencies and love to pick my own vehicle with Hertz and National. And on my recent Florida trip, I noticed that a convertible was shockingly only $10 more a day than a standard ride. For my two-day trip with sunny skies and spring-like weather, it was well worth the added expense.

I didn't have a ton of time to drive, but when I did, each ride felt like a mini adventure.

A Ford Mustang convertible rented from Hertz. (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)

Try local restaurants

My final tip is probably the most obvious one but also the most important: Sample local food.

If you don’t know a good spot, ask your business contacts, the hotel bartender or just about anybody you come across.

It’s easy to get trapped in an endless parade of airport lounge cheese cubes or bland burgers at chain restaurants. Too easy. So, put a little bit of effort in to find something different.

With a group, you can still have a good time without feeling like your meal is the same as the last 20 you've had on the road.

If traveling alone, I usually dine at the restaurant's bar, as it's where I often have interesting conversations with others eating there. They are usually locals, and I learn something new from them.

Bottom line

A business trip is never going to be a vacation. But with a little bit of time and planning, you can transform another dreary road trip into something that feels a little less robotic.

At the end of the day, all you have to do is just shift your mindset slightly and do a little research before heading out. Trust me, it’s worth it.

Featured image by (Photo by Scott Mayerowitz/The Points Guy)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
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  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
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  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023
Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023