Frankfurt cloudy evening

Making The Best Of Business Travel

I didn’t blog much in May and June because I was away a fair amount – twice on business.  Like everyone early in their career, I thought business travel would be so sexy.  Then I got a job where I had to travel every month.  That’s when I learned that it can take a lot of energy, so I learned a few things about how to make the best of business travel.

Downtown Frankfurt after a day of rain

In May, I spent a week in Frankfurt for work.  Fortunately, D and I spent about 24 hours in Frankfurt about 20 months earlier. We saw more then than I did in my week in May – I was working that much.  How can you make the best of a situation like that?

  1. Bring your camera
    • I was lucky to get a room with a great view and was able to go for a short walk around the hotel.  By having my travel camera with me, I was able to get a great shot of downtown Frankfurt on a moody night (above) and feel a little like a tourist during my walk.  During my last visit, D and I saw a life-sized Batman statue on a street I knew wasn’t far from the hotel.  So, I was on a mission to get a picture.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find it again – but the quest was fun!
  2. Practice your German
    • I got to practice – just a little bit. Still, it was fun to practice the language… and help a colleague buy his dinner.
  3. Eat like a local
    • In Germany, the main meal is traditionally at lunch with sandwiches and cold cuts in the evening.  The company I was working with always made sure we had a decent lunch, often with food Germans typically eat. For dinner, I raided a grocery store near the hotel, buying bread, cheese, wine, chocolate and an antipasti plate.  Yeah, antipasti is Italian, but cultures are crossing borders in Europe, just like in North America.
Zombies at E3
In June, I was honoured to be sent to E3 – the biggest trade show in the video game industry.  It was a working trip.  I spent a good part of the three days working in the booth, providing support to press VIPs as they played a demo of our game.  I also spent a good part of my time in the hotel room, answering emails and providing support to the team back at the office.  Still, I managed to walk around the exhibition floor and have some fun outside of the show. Best tips from this trip are:
  1. Bring your spouse
    • This was the first time D came along with me on a business trip.  I am SO glad he came.  We got him a free affiliate pass (he is affiliated with the video game industry), so he got to take in the show floor and do some networking on his own. Still, checking out the show floor and trying out some games with him was fun.  When a show event didn’t work out one evening, we decided to try a delicious urban farm restaurant. I love my colleagues, but I have been seeing them a lot lately, so it was a needed change to spend some time with my husband in a work context.
  2. Finally meet some people… in person
    •  In our uber-connected world, we often do business over email, telephone and web meetings. While it can work well for the day-to-day, it still makes a big difference to meet the people you are working with face-to-face. Since my time was limited, I only met with the people I currently work with and past partners I particularly enjoyed working with.  That is a lot more useful and enjoyable way to spend precious time.
  3. Take care of some (long overdue) personal business
    • Nothing feels better than being able to take care of some long overdue personal business – no matter where you are! It only took an hour and it’s DONE.
  4. Bad flight schedule? No problem! Visit a favorite place.
    • I was booked on the red-eye flight back to Montreal and I couldn’t get D on the same flight. Ugh. Well, LA is only about two hours away from San Diego, so I decided to rent a car and spend the afternoon at the San Diego Zoo.  Last time I visited was 2001, so I was looking forward to taking my DSLR and adding to a collection of photos originally shot in film.  In addition, due to an accident on the highway, it took me twice as long as expected to drive to San Diego, but I was treated to a drive through Cleveland National Forest, west of Temecula.  So, the next time you are booked on a less-than-ideal flight, take the opportunity to visit a favorite place or a new place.
Turtle photo bomber!
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