There are two schools of thought when it comes to traveling solo for business: 1) You stick to yourself, watch some Pay-Per-View and order room service; or 2) You hit the town and buy rounds for everyone with your corporate Amex card. Now we’re no stranger to either one, but we’ve found a middle ground for you!
Often when we find ourselves in a strange city or on a business trip, we try to maximize the experience by tapping into local clubs and associations focused on young people, young professionals, entrepreneurs, students, or industry specific groups. Not only are these great places to network, but they’re also a great way to get the low-down on the best places to stay, the best restaurants, clubs, shopping spots and anything else you need to know.
Groups and organizations that pride themselves on having large national or international networks tend to be the most welcoming and hospitable to young travelers, especially if you’re already associated with their affiliates in another city or are considering getting involved. The best groups for these kinds of hook-ups are student organizations like sororities and fraternities, AIESEC, SIFE, or young professional groups like Junior Chambers of Commerce.
To make the most out of your travel adventures and connect with local organizations where you are traveling, start by doing a little research on the groups that exist in that area and then call or email them in advance. Let them know you’re looking to learn more about what they do in the area. Ask if there are any events or parties that might be worth attending while you’re in town, and see if you can check out their office or even take out one or more of the officers or members for coffee or drinks. (Feel free to utilize that corporate card if you can get away with it, too! You can always file it under “business development,” if not “entertainment expenses.”)
At the very least you’ll make some new friends, and who knows — these people could just turn into future business partners or clients down the road!