So your boss comes to you and says they need you to go out of town for a few days for work. Maybe it’s a conference, or a class/ training, or even a perk. Whatever the reason, you are headed out of town on the company’s dime- YAY!
Generally, this means you’ll need to fly in for timing reasons or because the company is booking a flight, but if you’ve got time off available and you can extend your trip for a few days, you’ve got the option for a road trip within your work trip, making your work trip work for you! 🙂
My husband and I just recently returned from one of these work vacations. He was being sent out of town, across the country for an awards banquet. His airfare was covered as was the resort he was staying at for 3 days and 2 nights. Since his “work” travel time was Wednesday- Friday, we could add on my airfare and take the weekend for some day trips and fly back on Monday, only requiring one vacation day. I was able to stay at the resort booked in with him without any added cost. Because check-out at most hotels is around 11 or noon, we had most of Friday and Saturday- Sunday to see what we could see.
We rented a car for the weekend (you can generally get really great deals on the weekends at most car rental companies just be prepared to have a small amount held on your card for incidentals) and had a road trip plan in place to make the most of our short time.
With a little bit of research we decided which “nearby” destinations we felt were our best options, the places we wanted to visit most. If you just don’t know what to choose, ask around. Find family and friends that have vacationed in that area or live/ lived there, and get their opinions. You can also email me! I’ll give you some input from experience and research.
Now, you can handle this section of your trip in a couple of different ways. You can continue on at the hotel your company put you up in, paying for for the extra days if it’s in your budget, you can find a more cost- effective lodging option that works as a sensible base for you to tour the area and within easy driving distance of your chosen destinations, or you can just go and stay along the way. It really depends on your budget and chosen destinations. For instance, on our recent getaway we wanted to keep costs down and do as much as possible with as little as possible. This meant that staying on at the resort didn’t make sense since we were going to be paying for the perks of a resort room and grounds but we weren’t planning to spend our days there. If you are staying at a well- priced hotel that would act as a good base then it is definitely easier not having to pack up and move, but use logic when deciding. You will be able to find a clean, cost- effective room in the area you want to call your base. As I mentioned earlier, you may also want to just take off toward your first intended destination and stay along your chosen route for the days you are in the area. Be sure to check ahead for lodging though. Trying to find a place once you’re there can be tricky and expensive.
We actually had family in the area and she invited us to stay and her house which was pretty central to the places we wanted to visit. While that was a major blessing for us and our budget, that isn’t always going to work out unless you have very hospitable family in every state. We were visiting the gorgeous state of Arizona and began our trip at the stunning Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park and continued our vacation from our “home base” in Scottsdale, just east of Phoenix. This was the best option for us not only because of our budget but because we wanted to visit destinations in northern, eastern and southern Arizona. Arizona, as you probably know, is the Grand Canyon state and everyone needs to go at least once in their life, but I had already been and there were other places I wanted to show my husband who had never been to there. If your destinations form some sort trail from your original hotel, you may want to make reservations in each of your stops along the way instead of heading out from a given base in order to make the most of your time and travels. From our base in Scottsdale, on Friday afternoon we headed east to experience an amazing scenic route
including hairpin turns and switchbacks through the mountains to Canyon Lake and Tortilla Flat. Now, let me be clear… Tortilla Flat as a destination isn’t really the point. If you’ve ever heard of ‘The Road to Hana’ in Hawaii, this is similar. While Tortilla Flat is a fun little dot on the map that exists solely for tourists, it’s the drive that makes the trip. If you can get a convertible or better yet a open top Jeep, to drive this scenic route, I recommend it. With jaw- dropping vistas at every turn, you can more easily take it all in with the top down. (As an aside, make sure you have, and use, sunscreen if you choose this option.) While taking a break in the actual “town”, make sure you stop in at the country store for some Prickly Pear gelato and if you time it during meal time, grab a burger or some “killer” chili at the saloon, featuring saddle barstools. Take a few minutes and just enjoy sitting on a bench on the old boardwalk. On your way there or back toward the Phoenix area, take some time to stop at Goldfield Ghost Town. It is 100% for
tourists and not a ghost town in the sense that it is an untouched abandoned town, but a collection of shops and attractions including a small train ride. Sitting at the base of Superstition Mountain, it’s a fun little stop to be a tourist at. Check times and plan accordingly for your visit.
We also took a day to drive north to Sedona, stopping at Montezuma Castle National Monument on the way and driving through the adorable quaint town of Cottonwood and the historical landmark of Jerome before making our way back to the highway.
The following day, we got up and drove south past Tucson down to Tombstone. We stopped outside of Tucson at Mission San Xavier del Bac, an old Spanish mission built in
1756. There are other stops you can make as well. I will be elaborating more on this jaunt in a subsequent article for more in- depth information.
These are just some examples of all that you can do if you find yourself with a similar opportunity. Just imagine the possibilities the next time you get the news that you will have to attend that sales conference halfway across the country. Instead of a burden to bear, it is a blessing to be thankful for if you just put in a little brainstorming!
We arranged our return flight in the afternoon so we could return the rental car and have some time in Old Town Scottsdale before we headed home again. We ended up with a 6 day getaway and my husband only needed to take one vacation day to do it. A mandatory work trip can be an amazing opportunity, make the most of it.
In the future, put in a little time and effort up front and make your work trip work for you! Adventure is waiting in some unlikely places. Take advantage of the opportunities you’re given.