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Mini Vacations – Enjoying business trips

When I ask my coworkers what they like most about business trips, the response is almost universally “Arriving home!”.  It’s agreed among corporate folks that business trips are a necessary evil.  Some more necessary than others of course…

I recently took a trip to San Francisco to attend a conference.  I got a lot accomplished, but it got me thinking about how I spend money while traveling.  Business trips are mini-vacations from my normal life.  They let me spend money the way some  “normal” people do most of their lives

Eating out for EVERY meal!

I typically eat at restaurants about once a week during “real life”.  This costs me about $15-$30/meal depending on where we eat.  So that’s about $1500/year spent eating out.  Sure it’s an expense I could trim a little fat from, but my friends like to eat out so I’m happy to join them.  Plus I enjoy experiencing food prepared by culinary masters.

Once the business trip starts, the company pays for all of my meals.  Three meals a day for the length of the trip starts to add up.  Let’s assume my average meal price when traveling on business is $10 since breakfast is typically cheaper.  That would put the company back about $11,000 if I was constantly traveling.

What I’ve come to realize is that some people actually do live like this, even when they aren’t on business trips.  Currently, my entire food budget (groceries & eating out) costs me about $330/mo ($4,000/yr).  If I ate like I do on business trips every day, I’d be about $7,000 poorer every year (or cut out about 15% or my salary).

I’m not even going to touch on the health liabilities of dining at restaurants every day, but suffice it to say that it doesn’t end well in the long run.  Now I realize that learning to cook tasty meals has, and will continue to, pay dividends.

Luxurious Hotels

Sleeping in hotels sometimes makes me feel like I’m cheating at life.  It just doesn’t seem right.  When I left the room, there was trash laying around the room, the bed sheets had slipped to the floor, and the sink appeared hopelessly clogged…  When I returned, the room looked spotless and everything was fixed.

This isn’t how life works, and I’m not sure that it’s healthy.  It gets me used to having maids do my cleaning for me because I’m too much of a pansy to do it myself.  Thankfully, since I don’t travel that often, I still schedule a deep-cleaning day for my apartment every few months.  It is hard work, but well worth the effort (as opposed to admitting that I’m a wuss and hiring a service).

New experiences in new cities

So the coolest part about these mini-vacations (business trips) are that I get to check out new areas.  I love traveling to new cities and exploring what they have to offer on foot.  Sometimes I’ll just start walking one direction in a city until I discover something interesting.

The trip I was on last week took me to San Francisco (PerfectVille, USA).  It has a year round beautiful temperature, great sites, interesting food, and plenty to do.  So it’s not wonder why I like exploring places like SF.

But I also love adventures in less vacationy towns.  Earlier this year I had a wonderful time enjoying some fruit and granola in a beautiful park located in the center of a Cleveland suburb.  None of the residents seemed to be taking advantage of the space, but I was having a great time.

Enjoying Everything

Anyway, I could spend my own money to travel to exotic locations and live in luxury (and I do now and then), but business trips provide a lot of the same opportunities fo’ FREE!  I’m not saying regular vacations are unnecessary.  Just that if you look at a mandatory work trip the right way, it can provide you with a plethora of opportunities for fun!

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