There are times when you can meander through your travels. You can take in the sights, spend days investigating an area, and stay well-rested and relaxed throughout your adventures. However, a business trip hardly ever qualifies under those conditions. Rushed, purpose-driven, and focused, business trips tend to suck the fun right out of traveling. And, of course, business travel during a pandemic is only that much more stripped of its frills.

Nevertheless, if you can make an effort, there are actually quite a few ways that you can squeeze some fun in, even when you’re on a work trip.

Seek Out Local Culture

If you’re limited on time, one of the simplest activities that you can participate in while on a trip is to ask the concierge at your hotel where you can find a culturally relevant hotspot nearby. Every country has its own statues, monuments, museums, and natural sites that are worth visiting.

The best thing about seeking out local culture is that, at times, it can literally be found right in your hotel itself. For instance, Travel by Interest reviewed three gorgeous, uniquely different hotels in Heraklion, Greece.

One of the chief connecting factors between the three? Hospitality. The classic Greek cultural sense of hospitality was on full, though varying, display at all three locations. This allowed visitors to indulge in some local neighborliness without ever needing to step outside of their accommodations.

Go for a Walk

Even if time is short or shops are closed, sometimes all it takes is stepping through that hotel entrance into the great outdoors to find a unique international experience. It’s doesn’t matter if you’re walking the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, Scotland, strolling through Hobbiton in Matamata, New Zealand, or anywhere else in the world, stepping outside to see the natural sites can be an excellent way to slip in an experience while you’re working abroad.

On top of that, there’s the simple fact that getting out into the fresh air has a host of scientifically proven health benefits, such as decreasing stress and blood pressure, boosting your immunity levels, and increasing your quality of sleep. These are all excellent advantages to tap into while you’re on the road.

Indulge in the Local Cuisine

Everyone needs to eat — even on a business trip. If you’re feeling a hankering for some victuals, don’t satisfy your hunger with lame food from home, though.

Look for a local restaurant where you can try a unique dish or a popular watering hole where you can slake your thirst with a never-before-seen drink. You’ll need to spend time eating and drinking, anyway, so use the opportunity to experience something new.

Let Go of the Wheel

No, this isn’t a literal suggestion to let go of that rental car steering wheel. Nevertheless, one of the often-frustrating things about traveling for business is the simple fact that you have no control over your destination. You might find yourself flying to Winnepeg right when you’re craving a trip to the Bahamas, and that desire to visit the Hawaiian islands won’t stop your company from sending you to New Jersey in the winter.

The point is, if you try to align your business travels with your personal desires, it can get frustrating quickly. However, if you simply steer into the random adventures that your traveling career provides, it can be a lot easier to find activities in any circumstance.

For instance, regardless of the local sites or the current weather, you can take advantage of the downtime on a business trip to unplug and spend some time enjoying the local area sans technology. Create an unplugged goal to literally do nothing for an hour, put your phone on “do not disturb” (bring it with you, though, for safety reasons), and then head out into the local community to see what adventures come your way.

Look for Unique Exercise Opportunities

Finally, if you travel for business regularly, chances are you’re used to hitting up a hotel gym on a regular basis. While this can be a great way to stay fit, you may want to broaden your exercising horizons.

Before you arrive in a location, do some research and try to find a way to integrate the local area into your exercise regimen. For instance, instead of spending an hour plodding away on a treadmill, you could plot out a route that takes you to an interesting area near your hotel. Another option would be visiting a local lake, ocean, or other body of water to swim rather than doing laps in a chlorine-filled hotel pool.

Finding Time for Pleasure During Business

While there are many ways to get the most out of your business travels, the possibility of squeezing in some extracurricular activities should never be ignored. Whether you’re visiting a historical monument, indulging in the local cuisine, or simply taking a walk through the neighborhood, there are many different ways to sneak a rewarding activity or two into your traveling business pursuits.