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If you have a job or own a business that requires travel, you’ve probably sat on the balcony of your hotel and had this thought. “Wow, this is amazing. I wish I had the time to enjoy it.” Your schedule may be filled to the brim, but there are ways you can still maximize your getaway as though you had all the time in the world. If you have early mornings and nights mostly work-free, here are a few ways you can make your work trip feel less like work, and more like a destination.

1. Utilize your surroundings

If you are lucky enough to go on a business trip during the summer or you’re travelling to a warm climate, you’ll have no problem getting into that vacation mindset. Most hotels have a pool, and if that’s the case, take your work outside whenever you can. If you have a long enough break, maybe even join the vacationers and take a quick dip in the pool or hot tub. No pool? No problem. Try finding a nice coffee shop or a restaurant with a pleasant outdoor seating area to either get a cup of coffee or finish up on some work.

If you’re somewhere brand new and don’t know where to go, Like a Local is a great app to take you from work to happy hour. Feeling the soft breeze and getting some sun may just help you forget that you’re there for work in the first place. It’s all about tricking your mind into relaxing during the moments you’re able to.

2. Pick a location that shifts seamlessly from work to play

Booking a conference probably doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, but it can be! If you know that you will have to schedule a meet up with a business partner or team, try to schedule it in a place that you want to visit. For example, a town that is known to have great cuisine or some great spots for sightseeing. Everyone attending will surely appreciate it as well. Also, if you plan on going out at night to have a few drinks and possibly to network, make sure the location you’re going to will accommodate. Find a locale that suits your needs, and you won’t waste time travelling to the part of the city you want to see after your meetings end.

3. Hibernate and rejuvenate

You’ll still have to work during a business trip, but you do get some spare time to yourself. If sightseeing is not your thing, you can always stay in and relax. After a long day’s work filled with conferences and meetings, pamper yourself in your hotel room. You deserve it. Order takeout, turn on a movie, or take a hot bath and whip out that luxurious hotel bathrobe and slippers. Bring a good book to help you wind down for the night or find a podcast to listen to while you rest your eyes. Soak it all in – especially if you don’t get alone time often at home.

4. Sweat the stress away

Many gyms, yoga studios, and spin bars offer discounted rates for first-time visitors. Finding a yoga class, or trying your hand at kickboxing can be a great way to stay in shape. It also helps release a swarm of endorphins that your brain desperately needs to relax and enjoy your short trip. If you’re having trouble finding a studio that allows free first-timers, Classpass offers a discounted rate for users who only utilize their app a couple of times each month. It’s perfect for finding a class in the area because it pulls up all available classes near you. Then, you can choose what kind of exercise you want to partake in.

5. Understand which expenses are deductible

Keeping track of your expenses is essential for reimbursement and bookkeeping purposes. It’s actually simpler to do than you think. Here’s a useful checklist for keeping track so you can be paid back by your company later.

  • Business lunches and entertainment are 50% reimbursable. Many hotels and lodging quarters have bars or dining area for lunch specials and cocktails. Take advantage of these hotel amenities to make for an awesome work trip that won’t feel so much like work.
  • Business travel expenses are tax deductible. You can deduct expenses, whether you fly, take a train or bus, or rent a car. Toll and parking fees quality. So keep your receipts!
  • If driving a personal vehicle for business, deduct the mileage and upkeep. For every mile you drive for business, you can deduct 57.5 cents if you use the standard deduction. That adds up. If you itemize, deduct interest on an auto loan, registration and property tax fees, and parking and tolls. That sounds like a lot to keep track of, and it can be, but there are workarounds. If you bought your car through CarMax, use their app to keep track of maintenance costs. Additionally, Fuelly can help you stay on top of gas costs, MPG performance, and service expenses.
  • Lodging costs are fully deductible. You can also write off your accommodations. Ask for an itemized bill when you check out. Keep in mind some hotel expenses might be ineligible, like your trip to the mini bar or movie rental.
  • Conference fees are also deductible. Any expenses you incur, like event registration, renting equipment, or dry cleaning, all qualify for tax deduction.

Business travel doesn’t have to be a headache of meetings and financial stress. With a little free time and an improved mindset, you can make your next business trip feel like a vacation.

Sam Casteris is a content writer who works 100% remotely in Phoenix, AZ. She operates a one-person LLC. Sam knows all about the struggle between running a business and actually getting her writing done. Follow her work on her personal blog and reach out if you’re in need of creative content to attracts visitors to your site.

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