The Hidden Benefits of Short-Term Business Travel

The Hidden Benefits of Short-Term Business Travel

Much has been written about long-term expatriate assignments, but for many of us, a more common “assignment” is the short-term business trip — that four-day jaunt to Dubai or the there-and-back trip to Buenos Aires. Too often, these whirlwind treks leave us numb. As we move from one hotel chain to another and order the same Starbucks drink in London that we do in Shanghai or Tokyo, it can feel like just another business trip as opposed to a personally meaningful cross-cultural adventure.

Despite the inherent fatigue and the surface appearance of monotony, business travel can be more than just getting work done in a new location. Yes, it can be exhausting — both physically and emotionally. But it can also be stimulating — so much so that some people return from business trips energized with a new set of knowledge and a different perspective on their work. Through our own experiences as well as those we’ve interviewed, coached, and worked with, we’ve identified some of the top benefits of short-term business travel.

First, traveling abroad can build your confidence. Traveling anywhere — especially across cultures — is an opportunity to step outside your comfort zone. Sometimes this means having to behave in a way that’s unnatural or awkward to you, but you know is required in the new setting, like being more deferential or using small talk. Stretching your comfort zone might also mean doing something that scares you a bit, like going to a country you never imagined visiting — or where you don’t know the language at all — and successfully navigating the experience. There are many challenges of international short-term travel and successfully conquering them can be a great confidence-booster.

Spending time in a foreign country can also expand your creativity. In fact, research studies have shown that people are often at their most creative and “cognitively flexible” when spending time in a different setting. Encountering difference in a new place — even in the simplest objects like traffic signs — can expand your mind and open you up to more possibilities. Not only that, but when you are forced to solve problems (like how to place an order when every item on the menu looks the same, or how to get to a critical meeting on time when transit workers are on strike), your brain can’t rely on what it already knows. It must experiment and innovate. The most immediate benefit to your company may simply be that you will see innovations and ways of operating that you’ve never thought of before, and you can then bring that knowledge back home.

What’s more, international travel can also enhance your capacity to handle unexpected and potentially uncomfortable situations, a life skill that will come in handy even after you return home. On a short-term trip, you’re likely going to find yourself in a challenging or unanticipated situation or two. Perhaps you’re at a dinner meeting and encounter unfamiliar protocols in eating, gift-giving, or choosing the right place to sit. Or maybe you have to give a presentation and must quickly learn what to do — and not do — to fit in with the local communication style. It’s one thing to read about these differences in a book or an article, but something else entirely to navigate them in person and in real time.

In fact, short-term travel can often test people more than long-term assignments. Consider that companies don’t usually offer the support that comes with expat gigs, such as cultural coaching and language training — but employees may still have very specific objectives they must accomplish in a short amount of time. With so little room for a learning curve, employees can feel like they’ve been thrown into the deep end and must immediately learn to sink or swim. Though business trips may be shorter, they can show you very quickly what you’re made of.

As a result, international travel can also instill a sense of empathy for your foreign-born colleagues and employees. You may not have noticed the struggles they’ve experienced in adapting to your culture, but when the tables are turned and you’re the one adapting — even on a short-term basis — you begin to relate to their experience and therefore better understand and feel more compassion for what they’re going through. Because empathy is such an important component to building cross-cultural relationships, even a short business trip can help lay the groundwork for future success leading global teams.

Finally, traveling abroad can whet your appetite for future international experience, particularly if you haven’t had the opportunity before. Think of it as a low-stakes trial: You can meet new people, learn about and experience new food and customs, and maybe even practice a new language — without the long-term commitment and major life disruption that an expat assignment brings.

Business travel is often anything but glamorous, but by focusing on the potential benefits, you can get more out of your time abroad. Not only will you have a much more meaningful personal experience than is immediately apparent, but you can also use it to build resilience, harness your inner creativity, and deepen your awareness and understanding of the rest of the world.

The Hidden Benefits of Short-Term Business Travel

Hotels are making a major change to be more flexible for travelers

Hotels are making a major change to be more flexible for travelers

Having the flexibility to choose when you check-in or check-out of a hotel can make traveling much less stressful.

Standard Hotels recently announced a new program called Standard Time, which allows guests to choose their check-in and check-out times across all five of its properties in New York, Los Angeles, and Miami.

the standard east village The Standard in New York’s East Village. Facebook/The Standard, East Village NY

Guests will have the option to choose Standard Time from the website’s drop-down menu when choosing their room type. The service includes a fee of about 5% of the rate, and guests will be contacted prior to their stay to determine the estimated check-in and check-out times.

The option might not be able for every room type, and the company recommends booking ahead to ensure you have access to it.

the standard hollywood The Standard in Hollywood, California. Facebook/The Standard, Hollywood

The option of customizable check-in and check-out times at hotels allows guests to have increased time and a more relaxed stay, which is why hotels like the Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, North Carolina, properties of Capella Hotels and Resorts, and The Peninsula Beverly Hills offer similar services.

Hotels are making a major change to be more flexible for travelers

Cuba: History, Culture and Contemporary Life

Cuba: History, Culture and Contemporary Life

Cuba’s new relationship with the United States has opened ways of exploring its complex history and culture. None is quite as intimate as meeting the locals on a People-to-People tour as you cruise from Havana to culturally diverse Santiago de Cuba aboard the 290-foot sailing yacht Le Ponant. Return from this 11-day adventure with a new appreciation of Cuba.

Cuba has historic cities with some of the hemisphere’s best-preserved colonial architecture and idyllic off-lying cays that offer a rich marine life. Be among the first to explore Cuba in the new world order. In the company of local experts, have meaningful encounters with Cuban citizens, artists, professionals and civic leaders. All of this as you enjoy the convenience and reliability of shipboard accommodations. Traveling the three-masted Le Ponant, with its French accent, offers you a unique adventure with an intimate group of like-minded travelers. With two postcruise days in Havana, gain insight into this enigmatic neighbor.

Cuba: History, Culture and Contemporary Life

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

From Byzantine to Baroque—here are 10 buildings from around the globe that exemplify iconic architectural styles.

Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence, Italy

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Art Nouveau Center: Jugendstilsenteret, Ålesund, Norway

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Basilica Cistern, Istanbul, Turkey

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Hanoi Opera House, Hanoi, Vietnam

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

La Compañia de Jesús, Cusco, Peru

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

United States Capitol, Washington, D.C.

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Hotel Ukraina, Moscow, Russia

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Daily Telegraph Building, Napier, New Zealand

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

Forbidden City, Beijing, China

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

St. Pancras Station, London, UK

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World

10 Architectural Wonders Around the World.

Most Important Travel Trends for 2015

Here, a look at 11 trends that are changing the way we move through the world.

Your rental will look more like a hotel


Airports will follow your every move


You’ll sleep better on the road


You’ll take a new route overseas


Your phone will become your wallet


You’ll take your networking to new heights


You’ll give back on vacation


You’ll discover that million-dollar idea


You’ll be tempted by a new class of seats


Boarding a plane will get easier


You’ll get into a fully booked restaurant


Most Important Travel Trends for 2015

This Is The Number One Travel Destination for 2015

Travel guide book publisher Lonely Planet has unveiled its list of the best U.S. travel destinations for the coming year, and the winner is… Queens, New York.

Here’s the full list of top travel destinations:

1. Queens, New York

2. Western South Dakota

3. New Orleans

4. Colorado River region

5. North Conway, New Hampshire

6. Indianapolis

7. Greenville, South Carolina

8. Oakland, California

9. Duluth, Minnesota

10. Mount Shasta region, California

This Is The Number One Travel Destination for 2015 | TIME.

Beautiful Castles Around the World

Take a photo tour of beautiful castles in strategic locations, from the German Alps to the middle of a lake in India.

The countryside is riddled with hundreds of majestic, if sometimes crumbling, castles—and they capture our imagination like no other architectural wonder.

Check out all the photos of enchanting castles (and a few palaces) around the world to find the one that most inspires you.

Beautiful Castles Around the World.

World’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions

Embrace the wisdom of crowds by adding the world’s most-visited tourist attractions to your bucket list.

No. 1 Times Square, New York City


No. 2 Central Park, New York City


No. 3 Union Station, Washington, D.C.


No. 4 Las Vegas Strip


No. 5 Niagara Falls, New York and Ontario


No. 6 Grand Central Terminal, New York City


No. 7 Faneuil Hall Marketplace, Boston


No. 8 Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, Orlando


No. 9 Disneyland Park, Anaheim, CA


No. 10 Grand Bazaar, Istanbul


World’s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions

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