As most people who travel a lot for work will tell you, it’s rare that you often get to see places beyond the airport, conference rooms, and the Marriott hotel you’re staying at. I’ve been fortunate to travel some amazing places in the last few years – Abu Dhabi, Cape Town, Leon, Singapore – and wish I had more time and flexibility to really sightsee in those places! Even with a day or two, whether as part of a business trip or a short stopover on vacation (like we did in Paris where these photos were taken), it’s still possible to pick up a few highlights.
CATCH A HOP-ON HOP OFF BUS TOUR
It may seem cliche, but these are one of the best ways I’ve found to see a city in a few hours. It takes away any concerns with finding cabs or following public transit maps, and the narration will inform you about the history of different landmarks and neighborhoods along the tour. I do a little research before to understand which stops have free admission activities so I don’t feel bad about moving quickly through them. Open air markets and churches are some of my favorite stops on these tours!
FIND OFF-HOUR ACTIVITIES
One of the main limiters for sightseeing when on business trips are client meetings, however lots of cities have evening hours for top attractions that you can take in after dinner. Some of my favorites have been the Christmas markets in France, the Singapore Night Safari (great if you’re catching a late night return flight!), and free evening admission at the Prado museum in Barcelona.
BUY A CITY PASS
If you’re visiting somewhere with strong public transit infrastructure like Paris, London, or New York, look into a one or two day city pass that includes your admission to top attractions. You can often get admission into 10+ tourist sites for the price of 2-3, letting you see more without mounting costs. Plus, it lets you skip the line at some spots. In Paris, we saw the highlights of the Lourve, visited Notre Dame, climbed the Eiffel Tour, and walked up the Arc de Triumph in the same day with our Paris City Pass!
You do have to be somewhat selective about what you choose to spend time on or you’ll feel like you spent the whole day in transit, but with some careful planning, it’s easy to see some of the best known spots with just a day to spare!
Have other tips for making the most of short trips? Comment below!