One of the biggest challenges of business travel is finding time for yourself. It’s easy on the road to focus even more on your work, without the distractions of the office or family. But that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Maintaining a good work-life balance can help you stay healthier, in mind and body, and even make you more productive when it’s time to get down to business.
To maintain this balance, National Car Rental helps make business travel a breeze so that professionals have less to worry about while on the road. This includes its award-winning Emerald Club. To get a better perspective on all aspects of business travel, National Car Rental commissioned a survey of how business travelers incorporate personal time during their trips. As a former scientist, I enjoy reviewing other people’s data, so it seemed like a great opportunity to learn more about how these people travel.
Full disclosure: National Car Rental compensated me for writing and publishing this article, but regular readers know I try to stay impartial. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
According to National Car Rental’s State of Business Travel Survey, 89 percent of recent business travelers (those who spend at least eight nights on the road, or about two work weeks per year) were satisfied with the amount of business travel they’re asked to do. Twenty-seven percent plan to travel more in 2018. Sounds great, but are they really that positive about discussing their feelings about business travel in the workplace?
Eight out of ten respondents take time for personal activities on business trips while at the same time four out of ten avoid telling their co-workers about these activities. This kind of response suggests many people feel ashamed or embarrassed about mixing business and leisure on their trips.
Discussing how we spend personal time on business trips echoes a point that frequent travelers have long known: when you’re away from home, it’s important to take a piece of home with you. Personal time lets us all recharge for the next day’s agenda, and work trips to some cities offer a great opportunity to fit in some fun. Whether it means visiting a hot local restaurant after work, jogging through a regional park, or extending your trip into the weekend, there are many ways to mix work and pleasure without interrupting your obligations to your employer.
Of survey respondents who were bosses, 92 percent (out of 750 sampled) said they support their employees taking some time for fun when they’re traveling for work. That’s more than the 79 percent of business travelers who believe their bosses provide that support. If you fall into in the 21 percent of business travelers worried about your boss supporting you in taking time for personal activities, maybe it’s time to have a quick chat and make sure you’re on the same page. Getting past the worry could make it a lot easier to make time for leisure activities and maybe even make you more productive when it’s time for work.
My experience in the corporate world has been that results matter; the schedule is pretty much up to me. Some of that may be generational. Millennials are much more likely to take some time for fun than older workers. On the other hand, I’m not typical for my gender. Men my age are more likely to say they should avoid fun (41 percent vs. 20 percent of women). Maybe this is why my wife is always telling me about the awesome restaurants she finds on work trips to Portland?
Fortunately, National’s Emerald Club makes it easy to earn points for upgrades and free days when you rent for business. Travel pros who sign up can keep their preferences and payment data on file. Reserve a midsize vehicle and you can choose any car you like from the Emerald Aisle without ever waiting in line.
How you make time for a little R&R is up to you, but these five ways to have fun on business trips can help get you started. I favor getting to know more about the local neighborhoods rather than hitting up the tourist attractions. You might want to drive into the wilderness for a couple days of camping and hiking. Regardless, National Car Rental can make it easier to get around quickly and save you time.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by National Car Rental. All thoughts and opinions are my own.