There are few things quite as relaxing as a hotel stay—overstuffed pillows and fresh sheets, swimming pools with lounge chairs and cabanas, bathrooms with a spa-like ambience. So if you’re stressing over an upcoming work trip, consider these tips for soaking in the luxurious hotel atmosphere and turning even the shortest business visit into a vacation.
1. Rise early and explore.
Even if your schedule is booked solid with meetings and dinners, chances are you have a couple free hours each morning. Instead of hitting snooze, hit the beach or city streets for a sunrise jog or walk. This is a great way to get some fresh air and “me” time before your workday begins. If you forget workout gear or want to save space in your suitcase, some hotels like Westin let guests rent fitness wear for really cheap—$5 at Westin gets you an entire outfit including shoes (with disposable insoles).
2. Indulge in dessert.
Buy some fancy chocolates or a piece of cake on your way home from a networking event or dinner (Suggestion: Pay for unnecessary treats on your own card rather than the company’s). Then lie in bed eating that dessert while watching a cheesy romantic comedy or your favorite TV show.
3. Try the local cuisine.
Have you ever tried a Philly cheesesteak? What about Chicago deep-dish pizza? Or Atlanta barbecue? Before your trip, research the best local cuisine and invite colleagues and/or clients to go with you. It’s a great way to enjoy a new culinary experience while getting some work done.
4. Splurge at the spa.
This, of course, is on your own dime and your free time. But when in Rome … why not get a massage or facial? Before an evening work event, you can book a blowout or makeup service to look extra-polished.
5. Take a bubble bath.
It’s the next best thing to a spa treatment, right? If you’re not grossed out by hotel bathtubs, draw yourself a warm bath after a long day’s work, put on some Sade, and let the stress melt away. Be sure to wear that comfy hotel robe afterward.
6. Book a tour bus.
If you have a few free hours between meetings or events, schedule a bus tour to maximize your sightseeing. (Again, don’t expense this one.) Or if you have a rental car, you and a coworker can scope out the major tourist hubs.
7. Lounge poolside.
If it’s summer, or you’re lucky enough to visit a warm climate on your business trip, find some time to sit by the pool. If you’re attending a conference, the itinerary will likely include a few breaks. Even slipping away for 10 minutes to sit among vacationers can boost your spirits—and warm your body after being in a windowless, freezing conference room. Bonus networking opportunity: Invite a fellow attendee to venture outside with you.
8. Get some rest.
If you’re in a relationship or have kids, sleeping alone in a king-size bed is a rarity. So take advantage of your solo time and sprawl out in the giant bed. Go ahead—fall asleep at 9 p.m. No judgment here!
9. Grab a cocktail in the hotel bar.
Sipping a martini while listening to live jazz? Yes, please. Hotel bars are a great place to imagine you’re on vacation, especially when they’re on the rooftop and boast breathtaking city views. It’s also a great place to meet other business professionals. Cities like New York have no shortage of sky-high lounges, from Bar 54 at the Hyatt Times Square to The Press Lounge at Ink48 Hotel.
10. Consider extending your trip.
If you have ample vacation time and work allows it, consider extending your business trip for personal time. This is especially nice if you’re traveling internationally and want to maximize your experience in a faraway land. (Just know that business expenses end when your work does). If a friend or your significant other can meet you for the second leg of your journey, even better!