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How do you deal with solo business travel?

How do you deal with solo business travel?

Old Feb 9, 13, 8:19 pm
  #1  
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How do you deal with solo business travel?

All those nights in hotels...

This isn't adressed to people who have some built in social aspect to their business trips. It's addressed to all the rest. You've done your work thing, you've gone back to the hotel, and here we are again. OK, you've got your Netflix and all that, but still.

How do you cope with many nights like this?

Weekends I try to get outdoors when possible, go to a museum or something if there's one around (I don't travel to very exciting places), find a nice coffee shop to hang out in for a few hours. If the weather is bad and I can't spend the weekend outdoors I'm kind of stumped.

But evenings are the worst.

Please, nothing lurid, I would really appreciate no such posts. Thanks.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 8:41 pm
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I treat it not too differently than my days at home when I was single. Gym, dinner, email/internet/tv, read a book, sleep.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 9:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Adam1222 View Post
I treat it not too differently than my days at home when I was single. Gym, dinner, email/internet/tv, read a book, sleep.
That pretty much sums it up. I actually enjoy the "me" time during my biz trips. I love my wife dearly, but I really do enjoy spending time alone on the road and look forward to it.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 9:11 pm
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How do you deal with solo business travel?

I like to try a nice restaurant, go to local theatre, concert or movie if available. some cities/towns have museum events during the week and you can always look at local meetups (meetup.com) to see what is on when you ate there depending on interest. Otherwise like home routine - gym, reading and enjoy the quiet.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 9:41 pm
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What do you do at home? Books, movies, yoga, music, jogging... whatever you do for recreation or to fill time can be done on the road with proper pre planning.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 9:42 pm
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I try to hit the local must sees. That could be a place, museum, or whatever. I like the restaurants as well and try to taste the local flavor whatever that is. It really depends on where you are. If there is nothing to see or do then your current plan is my backup.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 9:45 pm
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If I have the time, I get on Yelp and try to get out into the town/city to get a taste of the area's cuisine. Normally, regardless of where I am - be it a big metropolitan city or an old manufacturing town - there's a neat local joint that's either serving up regional specialties or bringing the food of the restauranteur's home country to the neighborhood. This helps kill a little time and breaks up the monotony of airport food/national chain restaurants/hotel room service.

Like others mentioned, I do also try to stick to my normal "home" routine - gym/swim, read, personal email/internet time. If I have to do work in the evening, I"ll sometimes take my laptop to the hotel bar and work there (assuming I'm not working on anything sensitive and yes, I do have a privacy filter for the laptop screen). Usually I just work alone, but occasionally I'll chat with the bartenders to get insider info on restaurants or commiserate with other business people who are stuck in the same podunk town as I.

I do like the idea of experiencing the culture of the city. I'd normally love to attend a concert or recital, but unfortunately, my travel schedule and workdays are so uncertain that I wouldn't have much advance notice to get tickets.

I also take the opportunity to browse through my personal and professional network to see if I know anybody in town. Business trips have been a great way for me to connect with old friends and colleagues around the country. ^
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Old Feb 9, 13, 10:09 pm
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The gym for sure. Never enough time for myself at home so this is the perfect time and it's pretty tough for me to make the usual excuses. You feel fantastic afterward and have done something great for yourself without taking time away from family or the other stuff that always seems to need doing at home.
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Old Feb 9, 13, 10:57 pm
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It's hard trying to have a life-- even a solo life-- when you're on the road a lot. The biggest challenges are time and energy. After a day in the client's office and often 1-2 hours of additional work back at the hotel (status reports, email, research, etc.) I don't have the time or energy for much more than a leisurely dinner followed by an hour or two of fooling around on my personal computer before going to bed.

Weekends offer more of an opportunity to break out of the work-work-unwind-sleep routine but energy is still a problem. After a day of travel and 4 or 5 days of project work I'm often ready just to laze around the hotel all day, maybe going out for a few hours of sightseeing. I've frittered away weekend days in some of the world's best tourist cities being too tired to do much more than walk around the neighborhood.

And, of course, for every trip I've had to one of those great tourist cities I've had 5 to suburban office parks.

ETA: I agree with many of the suggestions offered by JY1024 above. I never order room service; I always go out for dinner, even if it's just the hotel restaurant, and try striking up a conversation with someone, even if it's just the bartender or waitress. I try to meet up with a friend or relative in the area when time permits. Having even one leisurely dinner with someone you know makes the week a lot less dull.

Last edited by darthbimmer; Feb 9, 13 at 11:04 pm
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Old Feb 10, 13, 1:59 am
  #10  
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If you want to meet people, meetup.com and couchsurfing.org are excellent tools. Especially on weekends, you can usually find a local who is willing to show you around the city. Meetup is good for finding a group to go hiking with, for example. Couchsurfing requires you to message people individually.

Or you can go to the local hostel and see if they are organizing any tours or activities that night, or just hang out in the common room and meet other solo travelers. One time I joined a pub crawl that was a lot of fun.
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Old Feb 10, 13, 7:37 am
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Rest for a bit, dinner, [edited by Moderator], tv, internet, book, shower sleep. Not necessarily in that order.

On those rare occasions when I have an extra day or afternoon, I may try to take in some local sights..but not every place has them. A day off in London is not like a day off in Des Moines.

Then, it's usually nap time! I have even been known to catch a movie.

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Feb 10, 13 at 11:10 am Reason: Per FT Rules
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Old Feb 10, 13, 7:40 am
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Originally Posted by pinworm View Post
Rest for a bit, dinner,[conforming edit by Moderator to original], tv, internet, book, shower sleep. Not necessarily in that order.

On those rare occasions when I have an extra day or afternoon, I may try to take in some local sights..but not every place has them. A day off in London is not like a day off in Des Moines.

Then, it's usually nap time! I have even been known to catch a movie.
TMI...

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Feb 10, 13 at 11:11 am Reason: See above.
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Old Feb 10, 13, 8:16 am
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I presume your question is mostly about what to do in the hotel itself (maybe in the hotel room itself) for a situation where you are away A LOT. In this case, it's not a "night away" or down time, it's more like the millionth night in a another boring hotel room. My suggestion is to develop some basic habits other than crashing, watching TV, surfing the net, and other stuff that feels like wasting time. Planning to exercise is a rather obvious one. It's good for you, energizes you, and can be done anywhere. Walk around the neighborhood or a historical part of town, do P90X in the room, etc. when the hotel gym is not appealing (or get a day pass at a local gym).

Some less obvious plans might include:
  • writing a book,
  • learning a new language (e.g., get Rosetta Stone and watch the foreign language channels on the TV),
  • professional development (e.g., get an online degree from somewhere or just learn new tricks),
  • professional networking,
  • vacation planning,
  • design a new house or home improvements,
  • find a new computer "hobby" (e.g., learn to edit photos or movies), or
  • give yourself home tasks that you can do on the road (e.g., organize photos or files from your home computer, work on financial/investment/retirement plans).

Just in case you were not talking about just room activities, I cannot recommend enough that you get out and see things, meet people, and experience local cuisine and culture. You should also try things you cannot do in you own town. For example, a person from Oklahoma may not get too many chances to go sea kayaking.
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Old Feb 10, 13, 8:50 am
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Originally Posted by ScatterX View Post
I presume your question is mostly about what to do in the hotel itself (maybe in the hotel room itself) for a situation where you are away A LOT. In this case, it's not a "night away" or down time, it's more like the millionth night in a another boring hotel room. My suggestion is to develop some basic habits other than crashing, watching TV, surfing the net, and other stuff that feels like wasting time. Planning to exercise is a rather obvious one. It's good for you, energizes you, and can be done anywhere. Walk around the neighborhood or a historical part of town, do P90X in the room, etc. when the hotel gym is not appealing (or get a day pass at a local gym).

Some less obvious plans might include:
  • writing a book,
  • learning a new language (e.g., get Rosetta Stone and watch the foreign language channels on the TV),
  • professional development (e.g., get an online degree from somewhere or just learn new tricks),
  • professional networking,
  • vacation planning,
  • design a new house or home improvements,
  • find a new computer "hobby" (e.g., learn to edit photos or movies), or
  • give yourself home tasks that you can do on the road (e.g., organize photos or files from your home computer, work on financial/investment/retirement plans).

Just in case you were not talking about just room activities, I cannot recommend enough that you get out and see things, meet people, and experience local cuisine and culture. You should also try things you cannot do in you own town. For example, a person from Oklahoma may not get too many chances to go sea kayaking.
OP noted that he/she does not go to very exciting places. In most cities (particularly on weekends) museums are not open in the evening. Many cities are safe in the day, but even in "good" areas may not be safe at night.
Your suggestions (above) are excellent, but if one is staying say 2 or 3 days in a city, I would find most of them "fragmented", you might just start some of them but not get too far.
Unfortunately except for bars and discos, most smaller cities are not geared for the single traveler.
Since OP is on business, if a car has been rented, you can get to a nearby "large/r" city, which may have concerts, plays.
PS: Most (even small cities) have colleges and universities, many of their functions are open to the public--lectures, concerts and plays, which may even be free.
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Old Feb 10, 13, 9:47 am
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If it is a multiday trip I'l usually go to the hotel bar on the first night and ask where the decent places to go are. A lot of my travels have sent me to small midwestern and mid atlantic cities where the hotel bar WAS the place to go. I've found asking on facebook will usually get some good results as well. Either someone I know has been to where ever I am at, or knows someplace near by, or in the best cases lives closeby.

After that it was usually TV from the slingbox at home and treadmill time (sometimes simultaneously if the hotel WIFI reached there).
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