How to Get the Most Out of Traveling for a Conference at a Convention Center

Going on a business trip may seem like just another mandatory work assignment, but the opportunity to travel to different places can be one of the biggest perks of the job. Business travelers can fulfill all of their obligations for the company while also taking full advantage of the sights and attractions the location has to offer. It’s within reach of all professionals to strike a balance.

Make a Detailed Plan for Fun

It may seem like one of the great joys of traveling is spontaneity. However, the truth is that time will pass quickly when a person only has a limited amount of time in a destination. It’s easy to extend work hours without really giving it a second thought. However, if a traveler has a detailed plan for having fun, he or she is more likely to stick to it. Instead of simply staying in and ordering room service after a day at work, plan to go sightseeing or dining at a well-known restaurant to take full advantage of what each destination has to offer.

Enjoy the Best Entertainment in Town

Every city has its own culture of fun, so sometimes a little digging is required to uncover the best entertainment options in a new town. In a city like Nashville, a tourist would probably want to check out the Grand Ole Opry, while one who goes to Las Vegas will find it hard to resist a show at a casino. It takes some research to find the best attractions in some locations, but finding and booking tickets to the best entertainment will give a business traveler a ticket to fun.

Take Advantage of Convenience

Whether the company provides a rental car or not, business professionals will likely want to make plans that are near the convention center where the conference is taking place. Traveling too far away in a new town when work beckons the next morning is probably not on anyone’s wish list. Luckily, conference locales are typically built specifically to cater to the needs of out-of-town travelers, and they will be near restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters, and sports arenas.

Similarly, hotels will also be near the convention center. Staying at a hotel that’s near the convention center gives tourists a short commute and, therefore, provides them with more time in the day for doing the fun stuff. Instead of spending a lot of time fighting traffic to get to and from the conference, they can fill those extra minutes and hours with entertainment and new experiences.

Ultimately, professionals should keep in mind that the best way to get the most out of their business trip is to remember that it’s up to them to ensure that the trip is tailor-made for a good time. They need to book time for their own enjoyment and prioritize their down time as part of balancing the pleasurable aspects of travel with the duties that are required at the conference.

A Grand Ole Adventure

My sister’s a real trooper. Her husband is off serving in Iraq, and she’s on her own looking after three kids under the age of five. She’s virtually alone in Atlanta – Burt’s family is in Fort Lauderdale, and we’re recently out here in the Nashville area. But Beth is just one of those special folks who never complains. She somehow manages to see the good in any situation, and is always ready to help those she sees as less fortunate than herself.

Beth is a huge country fan. I firmly believe that it’s her deep love of music that has given her such a positive outlook on life. She’s always whistling or humming, and never seems to let up on her favorite activity; making mixed CDs of her favorite songs and sending them to the important people in her life. The last time I spoke to Burt, he was simply overjoyed at having just received Beth’s latest mix.

That’s when I had the idea to invite Beth and the kids to Nashville for a few days of well-deserved R&R. We’d spend quality time together. George would watch the kids, and I’d arrange a really special surprise for Beth. As a publicist, I had some pretty good connections on the Nashville music scene, and I’d just recently done some work with the Grand Ole Opry, a live-entertainment phenomenon dedicated to honoring country music’s rich heritage. Every year hundreds of thousands of country music pilgrims travel from all over the world to attend the show live. Now, Beth would be one of them.

Early Friday evening, Beth and the kids pulled into the driveway in her GMC Yukon XL. As we hugged in greeting, I could sense a quiet unease in Beth’s demeanor, a tension that spoke of months of separation from her beloved husband and a need to share some of the stress, if only for a while. Of course, George and I were more than willing to pick up the slack.

After a wonderful dinner, the kids went to bed and Beth and I spent time catching up. I talked about the approaching birth of my twins, and Beth spoke of George and how she was looking forward to his homecoming in six months. When Beth asked about the next day’s plans, I said we’d play it by ear.

Saturday morning, we all piled into the Yukon and Beth let me drive. I have to say, I was really taken with the vehicle, and was quite delighted to be in the driver’s seat as we toured around Nashville. Following a scrumptious breakfast of sweet potato pancakes at the Pancake Pantry, we visited Fort Nashborough, a reconstruction of the original settlement in Nashville. Then it was on to the Parthenon, a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece.

I then told Beth that we were dropping George and the kids back at home, and we were going on a girls’ night out. Fast forward three hours, and we were approaching the backstage entrance of the Grand Ole Opry House. When Beth finally figured out where we were going, she squealed with delight and clapped her hands together like a schoolgirl.

It was a night to remember. So many of Beth’s favorite artists were on the bill – Vince Gill, Gillian Welch, Alison Krause, and Rickie Skaggs to name a few. She even got to hang out with Carrie Underwood backstage. One of the highlights of the evening was watching Beth fight with Steve Earle over the last barbequed rib. Needless to say, the girl got the grub!

The next four days went by in a blur, and when Beth and the children climbed back into the Yukon for the trip back from the Nashville area to Atlanta, we both announced our plans for the near future. Beth promised to return for the birth of my twins, and I announced my intention to buy my very own GMC Yukon XL to accommodate them.

Top Festivals In Nashville

Nashville has earned its nickname Music City by virtue of its strong connections to the music industry, but one thing to note, too, about this popular Southern capital is that it is a wonderful place for celebration all year long. Local and regional festivals celebrating the arts, sports, music, and just plain fun make Nashville a must-see travel destination any time of year.

What’s going on in Nashville this year and every year? Get out your calendars and plan accordingly to this sample schedule of Nashville festivals and celebrations, which draw thousands of local and visitors to various points around Music City.

Nashville Shakespeare Festival – One of the most renowned Shakespearean companies brings the best of the Bard to Nashville each year. Fans of Elizabethan theater flock to Centennial Park each year to witness unique interpretations of classic plays like Hamlet, The Taming of the Shrew, and others. The Shakespeare Festival is usually held during late summer and is free to enjoy.

Shades of Black Theater Festival – Underground theater at its finest. Enjoy work on the fringe at the Darkhorse Theater when local and regional actors and writers offer up unique and thought-provoking drama and comedy. The Shades of Black festival is usually held late summer or early fall.

Tennessee State Fair – Nashville is home to the state fairground, where each fall the best of statewide livestock, crafts, agricultural innovations and exhibitions are put on display. Midway rides and live music entertain kids of all ages.

African Street Festival – A social, cultural, and educational experience, the African Street Festival has highlighted African heritage and commerce for over two decades. Held at Tennessee State University, this early fall festival brings hundred of vendors and thousands of people from all over the state and country and is sponsored by the African American Cultural Alliance.

Music, culture, drama, and country living…Nashville finds the best to celebrate and invites everyone to join in the fun.