Traveling for work is challenging. We like to imagine the intrepid traveler, out experiencing new cultures, seeing new places, and taking care of business. However, all too often while traveling for work, we find ourselves staying only in a hotel. When your day is filled with trying to navigate a new place, living out of a suitcase, and working, it can be easy to stop prioritizing the outdoors and more broadly your own mental and physical well-being. Studies reveal that getting outside, even briefly, can have health benefits for your mind, body, and community. Here are a few suitcase-friendly ways to get outside, clear the mind, and take advantage of the outdoors:
1 – Bring Your Running Shoes: The key to any outdoor activity is access. There’s no easier way to give yourself access to a city’s parks, trails, and activities than by bringing a comfy pair of athletic shoes. Running shoes are lightweight and easily pack down into a suitcase. Simply having athletic shoes will help you reframe your approach to navigating and exploring your temporary home. After work, you’ll feel a lot more motivated to go on an evening adventure.
2 – Rent a Bike: Most major cities have bike share programs with an app-based bike rental system. These short-term rentals are a great way to see the area more intimately, get some fresh air, and boost your mood with some exercise-induced endorphins.
3 – Bring a Packable Blanket: The best way to experience the outdoors during a work trip is simply to be outdoors. Bringing a packable blanket that can live at the bottom of a backpack or shoulder bag is a pro-move that’ll elevate your whole travel experience. Take the opportunity on your lunch break to find a nearby green space, city park, or even a courtyard and have a mini picnic. If you’re feeling social, invite a colleague to join you. If not, read a book or take a few minutes for meditation to help quiet the mental buzz of a busy day. Your blanket can also serve as a place for a midday stretch. After hours of sitting in meetings, laying down for a few minutes of spine twists and pigeon pose will get your blood moving and set you right for that late afternoon push.
4 – Find Fine Fare: If you come into town on a Sunday for a Monday work trip, you could find an open-air market. Open-air markets offer a wonderful opportunity to get outside for a walk, interact with the local culture, and get unique and healthy food to fuel your stay. Farmer’s markets let you sample the best of the local cuisine and stock up on regional snacks like local fruit, pickles, or cured meat. That way, you aren’t heading to the vending machine for unhealthy snacks between meetings. If there aren’t any open-air markets during your stay, see what that town is known for. If there’s a particular local favorite, check it out.
5 – Watch the Sunset
Bring it all together by finding a place to watch the sunset. Slip out of those work shoes, grab your farmer’s market fare and your blanket, hop on that bike, and find a cozy spot to relax while making core memories in a new place. Explore city parks, elevated greenways, and rooftops, and if it feels appropriate, ask a local where the best spot may be. Plus, the nice part about sunset is, it happens every day, at least so far. So, get in there, get out there, and become that calm, cool intrepid travel pro you deserve to be!