I have been away on business travel a lot in the last 2 years, mostly to African cities. These trips allow me to visit places I’ve never been before and thus adding to the total places in the world I’ve explored. At the end of it all though, my main reason for going there is for work purposes so the vibe is totally different than when I am on a personal vacation. I’ve always been the type of person who makes lemonade when given lemons so I always try to make the most of work trips.
Before I travel anywhere I always make sure to research on the type of activities that are available to tourists and the typical time required for the activities, i.e. an afternoon excursion vs a 2 day excursion. There are usually 2 scenarios that I find myself in when travelling for work: I have time and when I don’t have time to explore the city that I’m in.
It’s much easier when I have some time to myself either before or after my work engagements, here I usually opt for all day excursions. When I was in Dakar in Senegal in October 2017, I spent the whole day exploring that markets and made a turn at the African Renaissance Monument. For my second visit in September 2018 I decided to take the day exploring Ngor Island; having lunch and laying at the beach.
When you don’t have time to explore, this is the time where you should bring in your colleagues from the city you’re visiting. Ask them for recommendations of interesting dinner places to eat or other evening events that you can attend. I’m always an advocate for leaving the hotel even if it’s for a quick dinner. When I’ve had minimal time in Kampala, my colleagues have taken us to a cultural dance and food show in the evenings which I thoroughly enjoyed. Through this I was able to get a taste of Ugandan culture in one evening.
There definitely are ways to make business travel more manageable, it just needs some creativity and energy like a Duracell bunny.