I recently went to Chicago on a business trip and want to share some pics from my trip as well as my latest discovery while sitting in the airport, thinking and people watching (don’t pretend you don’t do it too lol). I travel very often for my job and I decided to share with you all some of the perks I’ve experienced traveling for business. I work for the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville, AL as a Training Coordinator. I coordinate our off-site Forensic Interviewing of Children trainings and sometimes I get to travel for these trainings when a coordinator is needed on site alongside the trainer. In the four years I’ve done this job I’ve visited some pretty cool places like Santa Fe, NM, which has been one of my favs, Washington, DC, Colorado Springs, CO, New York, NY and Las Vegas, NV (just to name a few). If you have to travel for business then I’m sure it can get exhausting, depending on how often, and if you’re married and/or have children it can make you feel guilty for having to leave and sometimes go to fun places without your spouse and/or kids. So, here are a few perks and traveling advantages I’ve learned along the way which has helped make business travel a little better (not just for me, but my hubby has benefited from some of these perks as well).
Chance to explore new and familiar cities
One thing I do enjoy about traveling for business is the opportunity to explore cities I wouldn’t even think about visiting as well as cities I’ve been to before but haven’t visited in a while. My “list of places I’ve been” has grown. Because of my job I can now say I’ve been to places like Santa Fe, Salt Lake City, and Wyoming. Visiting new cities, especially in the dry west, has been an adventure whether it’s a big well-known city or a small remote town. It also helps develop a mental list of places to revisit but with my hubby next time!
Enjoy foods you know and love
This probably has to be my favorite perk! The food! I love to eat and when I travel for business eating out is pretty much inevitable. I like to enjoy popular dishes in whatever city I’m in and I try to avoid chain restaurants that are available in Huntsville or that I’ve eaten at a million times. When you travel, try to eat at local restaurants because that’s where you will get to truly experience the food of that city or town. The only time I will visit a chain restaurant is if it’s a back home (Michigan) fav that’s not available in Huntsville, like Potbelly’s or Benihana. Other than that I will ask around for recommendations for favorite restaurants in the area or I will use Yelp which comes in handy when traveling. Check out reviews of local restaurants, search for food types you know and love and look at the menu and see what others have recommended.
Accrue sky miles
So let me tell you!!! With traveling, sometimes once a month in a 4-6 month span, you can rack up those sky miles quick. I have sky miles with Delta and that’s the airline I choose more often than not for business travel. I book my flight under my personal Delta account, use our company’s Delta discount, and I get those miles. With traveling comes delays, cancelations and inconvenience which can get frustrating. So not only have I earned enough points to book several flights for personal travel at $5-50, I’ve also received “inconvenience” credits which have enabled me to travel for little to nothing. With these perks, I’ve been able to book flights for myself and my hubby for various vacations and trips. If traveling for business, get a sky miles account with an airline or two that you travel with most and watch those sky miles rack up!
Earn hotel and car rental rewards/points
Just like with sky miles, there are car rental and hotel rewards and points you can earn towards free (or practically free) stuff later. Sign up for a rewards account for hotels and car rental companies you frequent. Our company has accounts with car rental companies and because I book with companies like Enterprise often I’ve received discounted car rental rates for personal travel. Also when you stay at a hotel chain, like Marriott, Hyatt or Hilton, regularly you can also rack up those points which can be used towards hotel booking for personal travel later.
Discover new hotels
My family was always traveling growing up, whether for vacations, church functions, family, etc., and we would often stay at our favorite chains we know and love. With traveling for business to sometimes small towns, those chain hotels aren’t always available so I get to discover new hotels which can be interesting to say the least lol. I have, however, been able to find some gems! Discovering new hotels has also helped with personal travel; my mental rolodex keeps track of the best hotels to stay (Hotel Santa Fe in Santa Fe, Park South Hotel in NYC, and Cambria Suites in DC are my favs).
Opportunity for family mini-vacay
With hotel already paid for, per diem being provided/reimbursed (which is another perk! Per diem can be $54-74/day), sometimes car rental booked (depending on location), you can bring your spouse and/or family on your business travel. You just have to purchase their plane ticket! Depending on the location this business trip can also serve as your family vacation. They can enjoy the benefits of exploring the city (bonus points if it’s a big city like Las Vegas, Chicago or NYC) while you are taking care of business. I will be traveling to New Orleans in September which is right around our 4 year wedding anniversary, so Joe and I decided we will make an anniversary trip out of it and extend our stay!
Free trip to visit family
One of the greatest perks about traveling for business has been being able to see my family when I visit certain locations. If you’re lucky enough to have to travel to a place where family or friends reside then that’s the perfect opportunity to meet up with them, hang out and grab a bite to eat. I’ve been able to visit family in DC, Virginia, Ohio and Atlanta. Pretty cool!
So there are some advantages to traveling for business and these are some things I like to keep in mind when I’m not too eager to pack up and head out. Take a look at some pictures from my trip to Chicago – while there I visited the giant bean (Cloud Gate) at Millennium Park, walked the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Ave), visited a childhood favorite – The American Girl Place, did a little shopping, ate some famous Chicago deep dish pizza (so not vegan – don’t judge me), and rode an elevator 103 flights up to the Skydeck of Willis Tower. I almost forgot this was a business trip 🙂
If you travel for business, what are some perks that you’ve experienced? Let’s chat! I’d love to hear from you. Please comment below 🙂
Until next time…