It’s important to know your objectives on a business trip and to set out with those goals in mind and to accomplish them.  But along the way, something rather amazing happens when you travel on business.  You may get to go to some pretty amazing places and get chances to see things you would have never sought out if you have your wits about you as you travel.

Business trips don’t have to be all about business.  There are times when you have completed your work and you can take in some of the local color, attractions and good food as part of your visit to an area.   The first resource to tap to find out what is really cool to enjoy in the city or town you are visiting are the locals.  If you go to a far away town to conduct business with a partner or vendor, they are often more than happy to show you the lay of the land and what is fun to see and do in town.

If you can secure the evening of a local in your destination town, you can get quite an amazing tour of the area and see things that tourists may never find.   It isn’t that hard to woo a local to be your guide.  If you have expense account money, you can arrange to buy your guide dinner on the company dime.  They get a good meal for free and you get a guided tour of the area.  The first lobster I ate in Boston happened when a person in the office I was working with took me to see the sights and find the best lobster in town.  She got a great meal and I enjoyed the local haunts of one of the great cities in the country.

But don’t be afraid to be a tourist if you are in a great city and you want to see the big sites.  If you are in New York and you want to take the tour of the Statue of Liberty and the boat ride around the island, by God, you just do that.  It can be a fine memory of your visit to the town and after all, you worked hard on your business objectives while in town so your entitled to some relaxation.

One of the best ways to get some free time to enjoy the local events and attractions is if you are there on Friday but your work must be continued on Monday.  Most businesses would rather pay for two nights in a hotel and meals rather than fly you home and back out again.  So you can keep your rental car and have two days to simply be a civilian for a while and really explore the local haunts.

To find those unique events in town that not many know about, read the local paper and look for those little local culture or arts papers like the Village Voice in New York.  These papers will carry details of festivals going on around the area, what is happening in the clubs and theaters in town as well.  You may find a regional celebration not far away that you can be part of and pretend to be a local for a few hours and have plenty of fun along the way.

If you do have a couple days to explore, don’t be afraid to travel a bit to see some things not that far away.  On the east coast, a trip up Highway One will move you through some of the most scenic New England towns you can imagine.  And you can linger and take a whale watching tour if you want to.  If you already have a rental car, usually it is no more expense to use it to see the state or go to the coast nearby where you are doing business.  At most it might cost you a tank of gas and for that you may get so see one of the great sights in the country.

Take advantage of your business travel to see the world, have some fun and as the song says “stop and smell the roses along the way”.  If you do, you will come home with successful business to deliver to your company and a nice set of new memories to keep for a long time to come.