You have yet another business trip to prepare for. Even if you pack your bags well in advance, experience no travel delays, and take advantage of the airport amenities that come with having elite status, business travel isn’t always something you look forward to. But that doesn’t have to be the case. Savvy business travelers optimize their work trips by earning frequent flyer miles to book a future dream vacation. Having a flexible meeting schedule or keeping your evenings free can also help you play tourist, even when you’re still on the clock.

If you’re looking for ways to make business travel more enjoyable, these tips can help refresh your zeal for being a road warrior.

Skip Evening Meet-Ups

If you’re traveling with co-workers, don’t feel obliged to spend every evening with them. Yes, these precious hours might be the ideal time for networking. However, if you’re already with them all day, there’s a chance you’ll start feeling burned out. 

Unless you need to put the finishing touches on a project for tomorrow, try not to think about work once dinner or happy hour ends. Maybe you want to FaceTime your family to see what you’re missing back home. Or, use the evenings to do your own local exploring. 

Take a Different Way Back to The Hotel

You may only be in town for business but try and live like a local. That’s usually how you’ll find the most interesting parts of a place. While you might normally take the most direct way from your hotel to the meeting site, take a long way back. Even walking back instead of taking public transit can be enjoyable. 

If you have been to the same city regularly, see if there is a scenic loop. Explore old neighborhoods or a new shopping district. You may find a new plaza, store, or restaurant that becomes one of your must-visit spots for next time.

Your evening stroll can also double as physical activity and relaxation. Business travel can disrupt your normal routine, impacting your energy levels and professional focus. A dose of endorphins might be the perfect remedy after a long day at a conference or in a meeting room.

Optimize Your Mobile Apps

Your mobile phone apps can be some of the most valuable tools for business travel. You can use apps to meet locals, calculate currency conversions, and find a ride share. Some cities have a public transit app or tourism app you can download. Try downloading these local apps while you are still on your home Wi-Fi network. While traveling, take some time to try the apps out and make a game plan for your free time once you arrive.

Of course, downloading a streaming app to watch movies or listen to music can also be a smart move. 

Make it a Bleisure

Sometimes, business travel is stressful because you have a long list of things to do before you can leave. Your list may be just as long when you return. Then, while you’re away, your mind might be more preoccupied with what’s happening back home. This can damper the entire trip.

If possible, try arriving a day or two early or extending your stay after your work is complete. Whether you travel solo or can bring a loved one along, building in personal days takes some stress out of travel. Even though you may need to work hard during the week, you have a guaranteed block of leisure time.

Don’t be afraid if your out-of-pocket expenses are a little higher than usual. If your work is at least picking up your airfare and lodging costs, bleisure trips can be cheaper and less time-intensive than a personal trip.

You can also use business travel to see if this location is worth visiting again. Plan enough personal activities to play tourist but don’t feel bad if you can’t see everything. As you are already familiar with the locale, you know exactly where to go the next time you visit.

Stay Loyal to The Same Travel Brands

Loyalty has its perks. Flying the same airline or staying at the same hotel brand lets you achieve elite status sooner. Elite benefits can include complimentary upgrades, dedicated customer service, and priority boarding or check-in privileges. Plus, you can fly in first-class or business class more often for long-distance trips.   

If your work also lets you collect loyalty points, these trips can help pay or off-set the cost for your personal vacations. While business travel isn’t always the most enjoyable activity, it’s an easy way to maximize your time for future rewards. If possible, try to charge your business travel and dining expenses to a premium travel credit card. Not only do you earn frequent flyer miles and hotel points, but you also get travel benefits.