Business Travel

Why Ordering Room Service Is The Worst Thing You Can Do On A Business Trip (And 6 Things To Do Instead)

Room service at the hotel

You’ve probably heard the age-old business advice, “Never dine alone.” But it doesn’t mean that you should fill your work trip with business lunches and dinners with clients. In fact, I believe you should do the opposite. Get out and have meals with locals and other travelers. Not only will it help you get into the mindset of locals (which can be an advantage as you’re making small talk in your next business meeting), but it will also help you avoid burnout.

Going from trip to trip and meeting to meeting without taking a breath is a surefire way to leave town completely exhausted and maybe even worse. One study found that executives who spend more than half the month traveling were 60% more likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression. Getting out and immersing yourself in the cultures that you’re visiting (whether you’re in the Midwest or Mumbai) could help with all of that. You might not be able to have a full on “bleisure” experience, but you can sneak in a few relaxing moments.

As an international vacation concierge, I know how to help my clients maximize every moment of a trip—particularly when it comes to dining out. You’ve got to take a break to eat. Here are some of my easiest and best tips for taking your dining experience to a relaxing and inspiring level on a business trip.

  1. Join someone’s private dinner party. What about booking dinner at somebody’s home? Peer-to-peer companies like “EatWith” allow you to do so in many cities around the world. It’s an excellent opportunity to meet and connect with some locals, ex-pats, and other travelers. You don’t know who else will be there, but that’s part of the fun. By sharing a meal, you get ample time to chat about life in the city, and whatever else topic comes up. By the time you leave, you might feel like a local yourself and have made new friends.
  2. Dine at the hotel’s restaurant. Many hotels such as the Claridge’s in London, the Orania in Berlin, or the Como in Bangkok have great restaurants that are also popular with locals. This way, you can be among other people and do some people watching while enjoying the comfort of your hotel. And, other people might also eat by themselves, and if you’re seated at the bar, this might be a way to do some small talk and socialize. The evening will feel different.
  3. Sign up for a food tour. If you’re a foodie, you may want to sneak in some time to indulge in your hobby. To make it easy on yourself and avoid spending all the time searching the internet for things to do, book a private or group tour with a local expert. This way you’ll not only go to the places popular with locals and learn about the local food scene, it’s also a great way to socialize and learn more about the city you’re visiting. You may even learn about local culture, which might help you understand your local business partners or customers better. And last but not least, you might make new friends as shared interests immediately create a connection.
  4. Go to a hot, new restaurant’s bar or open seating section. Book yourself a table at the newly opened restaurant everybody is raving about and enjoy a fabulous meal. A business trip doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself. This way, you indulge in your curiosity and passion for great restaurants. You’ll feel inspired and almost like on vacation and even get the credit of being a trendsetter back at the office when you tell everybody about it. Follow local food blogs or check out food and travel magazines or international newspapers for inspiration. And don’t forget to book ASAP.
  5. Take a cooking class. If you’re more into trying yourself at something new or if you like to cook, what about taking a cooking class? This way, you’ll not only be able to mingle and try some local food. You’ll be able to show off your new skills back at home when you cook it for your loved ones. And you’ll give your business trip an even deeper meaning. Food is very much tied to a country’s culture. And there is nothing more social than cooking together. There are lots of businesses to book from. Just pick the setting, teacher, and type of cooking class that suits you best.
  6. Explore local food markets. Cities such as Taipei, Bangkok, and others have night markets that are popular with locals. If you are more into getting a sense of discovery, why not eat there? There are also guided tours if you’d like to learn more about it from a local expert.

Have you read?

World’s Most Expensive Hotels For High Net Worth Individuals, 2020.
These Are The Most Traffic-Congested Cities In The World, 2020.
Workplace Burnout: Cities Around The World With The Most And Least Stressed Out Employees, 2020.
Which countries are most and least prepared to deal with an epidemic or pandemic like the Coronavirus?
World’s Best (And Worst) Countries For Older People To Live In, 2020.
Countries With The Highest Life Expectancy In The World.

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Silke Wolf
Silke Wolf is the founder of Local Insiders, a bespoke travel service that makes you feel like a local even when you are thousands of miles from home. Silke has been an avid traveler for decades and has visited over a hundred cities across the globe from Honolulu to Havana to Paris to Shanghai to Bangkok. She has connected with experts around the globe to create a network of more than 100 insiders to match with her clients. While she lives in Switzerland, Silke travels almost every weekend to find the unique sights, sounds, and tastes of regions that you won’t read about in a guidebook. Her mission is to help vacationers experience their dream vacation, discover the undiscovered, escape the crowds, and add a little magic to their time away. Silke Wolf is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. She can be found on Linkedin.