As someone that loves to travel, I feel really lucky that my job often requires me to visit and work from other cities.
This year, I’ve been to Hawaii, Las Vegas (for the first time!) and San Diego, all for work purposes. For the past week, I’ve been in San Diego, taking classes and working from my hotel, which doesn’t exactly afford me a lot of time to explore during the week, so I’ve had to pack it all into one day.
Over the course of the day, I’ve thought a lot about some of my favorite things to do while traveling for work, and how I make the most out of my free time in whatever city I’m lucky enough to visit.
Obviously, food is a great place to start when learning about a new city. I usually do some research before my trip and conclude on at least one restaurant that isn’t to be missed. I often start by talking to someone that knows the area (either a friend or a coworker) and then look online to see what else I can find. Breakfast is by far my favorite meal, so I try to find somewhere with great eggs or pancakes. I also love trying to find food that is specific to the region. Either way, I find food is one of the best ways to learn about a new place.
When visiting a new place, I try to do something cultural as well. Museums are always a wonderful place to visit to get this fix, but I love going to historical landmarks or parks and see if I can learn anything that I didn’t know before about the city I’m visiting. While in San Diego, I visited the first mission established in California, which for me, was pretty exciting. If you went through the public school system in California, you probably did a mission project and know what I’m talking about. Sometimes this can be kind of touristy, but I love history, so this is always a must for me.
Some other things I find that help me learn more about the local area, as well as keep me sane while I attempt to live out of a hotel room:
- Taking an exercise class at a local studio is always good for my mental state. Pro tip: if you take something like a yoga class, you can usually rent a mat and don’t have to pack bulky tennis shoes!
- I love checking out the local college area wherever I am, if there is one. You can usually find good, affordable food, cute stores, and great coffee shops.
- I personally have a little mug collection going that I try to add to every time I visit a new city. I love having little mementos that remind me of my trips, and as an avid caffeine consumer, mugs are very useful for me. When I know I have to search for a mug in a city that I visit, that gives me an opportunity to explore the area outside of my hotel as a search for something to add to my collection.
Traveling for fun is very exciting, and traveling for work is a whole other ballgame. Wherever I’m going, I still try to have some fun, learn something new, and usually, I find a little piece of home (I’m looking at you, Paul Smith’s Pink Wall.)