One of the shared interests of millennials is that we (I'm a millennial as well) prioritize travel and experiences. We value travel as a top perk in our personal life, and also with our work. According to Hilton Hotels & Resorts, 75 percent of young professionals consider business travel to be a perk. The Global Business Travel Association reported that travel influences job satisfaction for 88 percent of millennials.

While appealing, business travel is not always the free luxury we think it is. There are always the frustrations we experience on the road and jet lag is never fun. The solution is to maximize a business trip so it's also rewarding on a personal level. 

I travel hundreds of thousands of miles every year, and I've learned how you can maximize the benefits of business and personal travel at the same time. Here's four tips for getting the most from your business travel, including many of the solutions I have found to be helpful in the process.

1. Add pleasure to your business

Millennials are happy to fulfill the work obligations involved in the business travel, but they also want to take some time for themselves. Hilton's research states that 69 percent of young professionals wish they could tack on extra days to business trips for personal time. Yet, 44 percent of them worry that a blend of work and play could make them look bad in the eyes of senior management.

There is a compromise to be made as benefits exist for both parties. By allowing millennials to enjoy an extra couple of days for personal time, employers stand to provide a valued perk that millennials will appreciate. It's also likely that the millennial will return to work refreshed, inspired and grateful for the personal experience. 

For these reasons, we're starting to see evidence of managers looking beyond costs and providing a better experience for business travel and looking at how incremental costs can help promote their employee's health and productivity.

Businesses and millennial employees should discuss how to make this arrangement work, since it's a win-win situation.

2. Book experiential lodging

Millennial business travelers want more than a big chain hotel with impersonal rooms and service. If you want evidence, just look at what Airbnb has done to the hospitality industry. The idea of enjoying a unique experience while on a business trip is especially appealing.

According to flight-finding site Hipmunk, 74 percent of millennials have stayed at a vacation rental instead of a hotel on a business trip, while only 20 percent of boomers have done the same.

Millennials want to enjoy an experience, not just reach a destination. Booking solutions like Airbnb for Work are addressing that balance between corporate booking and personal experiences. Also, some traditional hospitality brands now offer their own programs to provide a more local experience.

There is one caveat I've discovered from non-traditional lodging: there is rarely a gym. So factor that into your planning if exercise is important to you.

3. Maximize your credit card points

To little surprise, Discover says that millennials redeem credit card rewards for travel more than any other. Maximizing your travel miles can have a big impact on your travel experience.

One great solution to benefit from the personal side of a business trip is to know how to maximize how you earn or redeem points. In many cases, using the right card at the right time, or redeeming from the right card at the right time, can help you save money or enjoy upgrades.Sites like Upgraded Points are very helpful for this effort.  It's worth the time to understand how your credit card, airline miles and hotel rewards can be optimized.

4. Keep an eye on your health

One of the most overlooked factors in one's travel experience is health. I've written on how travelers can stay healthy on the road, yet it's worth updating that information. There's no point in talking to your manager to get that personal time and using your points if you're not going to be healthy enough to enjoy it.

Fortunately, plenty of apps are available to help you keep your routines on track no matter where you travel. Fitness apps, like Runkeeper and Strava, provide reminders and help track workouts. Meditation apps, like Headspace, Calm and Insight Timer, can help sustain your meditation practice. TimeShifter and Flux can also help with jet lag and sleeping schedules. I use a combination of these apps to maintain my routines and health.

Final Word

Millennials expect a lot from business travel and it's a great way for them to feel like they're living life and an easy way for businesses to appeal to millennial workers. If done correctly, both parties can win. The tips above can help you maximize your professional objectives and also enjoy some much needed personal time.  ​

Published on: Oct 17, 2018