If you're a road warrior who stays in the Hilton (HLT), eats room service, works out in a fluorescent light-filled trap, and gets six hours of sleep, no wonder you hate business travel.
Ditch the familiar, and reclaim the excitement of a vacation when you're away from home on a business trip. With a few small changes, you can turn the predictable into a travel experience, and get more out of your off-the-clock hours.
1. No chain hotels, no matter how convenient. Chain hotels have no soul, and they'll rob you of yours. Find an alternative through Small Luxury Hotels of the World, or consider a local bed and breakfast.
When in Boston, I love the Newbury Guest House, complete with creaky steps and a real live cat under the rocking chair. When I'm there, it's like I'm sharing a room with Edgar Allen Poe himself.
If you're contemplating a chain, remember, your hotel is not your home; it's a place to restore. All you need is a good sleep, a clean bathroom and Internet connectivity. Business travelers punt with a chain hotel when they're desperate for familiarity. But that's what Starbucks (SBUX) is for! It's not just a cup of coffee, it's a global security blanket.Drink all the chain coffee you want, but when it comes time to rest, stay in a place with a soul.
2. Do not enter the hotel exercise room. Oh, you'll still get plenty of exercise; you're just not going to spend 30 minutes of your very valuable time in a tiny, stale, fluorescent-lit hotel gym with antiquated equipment.
"Workout centers" are often little more than a sloping Stairmaster, a couple of eight-pound weights and a stationery bike from back when Let's Get Physical was a hit. And though an indoor pool is seductive, conceptually, let's face it: You can't even breathe in this over-chlorinated steam room, and after five strokes you need to turn around.