7 Tips From Business Traveling Pros On Hacking Your Work Trip

When planning a business trip, many professionals don’t realize how much power they have in crafting their own experience. It's true that most work trips don’t allow for total autonomy — you rarely get to choose your destination, the scope and duration of your trip is often predetermined, and there are many meetings and client dinners to be had. After all, this is work! However, with some careful planning, a work trip can be an exciting opportunity to experience a new city, change up your routine, and even pull off a mini-vacation.

To help you make the most of your work trips, we've partnered with Hilton Hotels & Resorts to put together plenty of info on how to hack your business travel to include plenty of "me time" to experience the destination.

While the main purpose of your trip is to work, there’s no reason why you can’t have some fun on the side. This means doing some research, taking your schedule into your own hands, and being prepared for adventure whenever, and wherever, it arrives. Not to mention, you'll want to be strategic with where you choose to stay. Hundreds of centrally-located Hilton Hotels & Resorts put you in the heart of it all, making jetting to meetings (and also sight-seeing) that much easier.

In order to help you make the most of your next work trip, we talked to frequent business travelers who are pros at planning work trips that work for them – rather than the other way around.

1. Scope Out Your Destination In Advance

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You’d never take an important client to a restaurant without scoping out the menu and the reviews beforehand. So why not give yourself the same consideration? Roberto, an author who travels to annual book festivals to promote his books, says the best way to plan for small bouts of down-time is to know what’s in the area you’re visiting in advance.

This pre-planning prevents him from having to waste precious down-time reading restaurant reviews, “best of” lists, and other guides while on the go. One way to do this is to use the Explore Feature on the Hilton Honors App. From there, you can scope out all the hotspots just steps from your Hilton hotel.

2. Take Advantage Of The Gym

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On a hectic business trip, you might feel compelled to skip the workout in favor of an extra half hour of sleep. But with the variety of full-service workout setups offered by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, you almost have no excuse not to work out.

Whether you’re sweating it out at one of the convenient on-site Hilton gyms, or booking one of the Five Feet To Fitness rooms (Hilton’s in-room gym suite available in select hotels), breaking a sweat is some “me time” that you might not otherwise get on a crazy business trip. And it makes sure that nothing gets in the way of your wellness routine — even travel.

Social video producer Nell frequently finds herself bouncing around the country for various video shoots, but always manages to get some exercise in. “I always try to find time to work out when I’m traveling for work,” she tells us. “It reminds me that I am more than just my job. My body and mind have to come first.”

3. Take Time For Your Caffeine

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For many people, taking morning coffee is like morning meditation. A jam-packed business trip schedule can’t be tackled without that first caffeine boost. Luckily, most Hilton Hotels & Resorts rooms come with an in-room coffee maker. If you’re more in the mood for something gourmet, grab an espresso from the on-site restaurant or hotel bar.

Liz, an Account Exec for BDG Media, explored the value of this on a recent business trip.“I recently traveled to Portland for business, in the midst of a super busy time (I’m planning a wedding and I just moved),” she says. “But luckily, my hotel The Duniway Portland, a Hilton Hotel was close to the Portland Japanese Garden, and had a full-service coffee bar. I lingered for a moment getting my latte in the quirky and chic lobby bar to get my caffeine fix, then grabbed my book and headed to the Japanese Garden for a moment of calm. Sure, it was “back to the grind” pretty quickly, but this moment really helped me appreciate my time there."

Whether you have a chance to take your barista-made Hilton Hotels & Resorts coffee outside or not, getting that morning “pick-me-up” is key.

4. Pick A Hotel That’s In The Center Of It All

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On a recent research trip to Paris, author and editor Stephan had a jam-packed schedule of interviewing research subjects, editing a manuscript, and having a meeting with his French publisher. “When you’re traveling for work, there’s no guarantee that you’ll have a ton of time to explore the city you’re in,” says Stephan, “so choose a hotel that will set you up to get your work done and allow you to experience local flavors conveniently and quickly.”

While he actually did end up having time to explore plenty of Paris, he chose a hotel — Hilton Paris Opera — that was in the heart of it all, making it ideal for quick adventures, and it also offered plenty of opportunities for the City of Lights to come to him when he was busy with work. He hosted research subjects and did some editing at the luxe Rococo-inspired lobby bar, Le Grande Salon, where he got a taste of local flavors with a tea time inspired by the Belle Époque. He enjoyed some craft cocktails like Le French and the Le 1889, created for the 130th anniversary of the hotel. It was like being transported back to 19th-century France, right in the middle of where he needed to be.

“Paris is a huge, sprawling city, but Hilton Paris Opera was so close to the metros and in the center of it all that I felt like I had the whole city at my fingertips,” says Stephan. “I used little pockets of time to dash over to the Tuileries Garden for an Insta-worthy shot, grab dinner in the Marais, or explore the Musée d’Orsay. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get around!”

5. Ditch The Key — Save Some Plastic

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Do you hate having to hold onto those little plastic key cards every time you stay at a hotel? Do you always find yourself schlepping more pieces of paper and little odds and ends than usual on a business trip? Us too. Luckily, Hilton offers a digital key service through the Hilton Honors App.

On a recent business trip to New York, Bustle editor Arielle Dachille stayed at the Hilton Brooklyn New York, and took advantage of the App’s remote key function. “I’m always losing these little plastic keys in my purse, and I would rather just do away with them altogether,” she says. “With the Hilton Honors App, I was able to check in and choose my room prior to arriving at my destination, and even download a digital key on my phone.”

Kiss the experience of “losing a billion room keys” goodbye. Plus, it cuts plenty of plastic out of circulation, which has a bonus for the environment.

6. Finish Your Work, Then Enjoy Some Play

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Your work trip is, obviously, first and foremost — about work. But once your work is all done, there's no reason you shouldn't be able to enjoy the city.

Paul Florez, an entertainment producer and auctioneer who frequently travels to cities across the U.S. to host events, recently took a business trip to Washington D.C. and stayed at The Madison Washington DC, a Hilton Hotel. It was the perfect place to balance work obligations, while having the flavor of DC right at his finger tips.

Once he was fully prepped for his gig, he made sure to enjoy a little bit of local DC flavor at the lobby bar, Lady M. He enjoyed a custom martini infused with local flavors, called the Chai Lady which had white rum (by local makers, Cotton & Reed), honey, vanilla, and chai tea. With the quality of upscale hotel bars with locally-inspired craft cocktails offered by Hilton Hotels & Resorts, you can get your work done in your room, then pop downstairs to get a taste of a local nightlife scene.

7. Work While You’re Working – And Not When You’re Not

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Remaining focused on the task in front of you, rather than trying to be in two places at once, is essential for getting the most out of work trips. Luckily, Hilton Hotels & Resorts offers a perfect balance of both. With world-class, full-service conference spaces offered at most of their locations, they provide the perfect services and experiences for work events and meetings. From the cutting-edge technology to locally inspired food and beverages, and regional influences with contemporary design, they have everything to make your meeting memorable.

Richard, a medical device regulatory professional who frequently attends conferences to stay up to date with the latest technology, says a common mistake his junior colleagues make is bringing work from the office into the conference. “If your company paid for you to attend a conference they are investing in you and are not expecting work product from you during that time. It’s about learning whatever you’re at the conference to learn.”

For more content on making the most out of your business trip, visit our "Doing The Most" hub.

This post is sponsored by Hilton Hotels & Resorts.