make the most of convention travel

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For many of us, professional travel can be an absolute nightmare. Going to some distant
place with a back-breaking schedule of meetings and conference sessions, workshops or
trade show booth duty, listening to endless lectures, shaking hundreds of hands or making
the same presentation multiple times a day. It can be a drag.

But, with a little bit of foresight and advanced planning, we can turn our professional
obligation into a great opportunity to cash in on some perks that come from being
a member of your industry, organization, association, or business category allowing you
really to experience different parts of the world in an advantageous financial and
cultural manner.

 

 

Depending upon your business, think about the types of travel opportunities that
may arise for you. Do you belong to a trade association, an industry organization,
a group or subgroup of your company that is involved in business outside of your
normal stomping grounds? Are there educational "upkeep" requirements for your
profession or business, such as continuing education for accountants, attorneys,
physicians, financial planners? Does your company or business require you to
stay informed of the latest developments in your field, or provide you with a certain
requirement of business development?

There are a vast number of ways that you can find yourself either seeking or
being required to expand your horizons for work, literally and figuratively. So
we'll examine a few ways to get the most out of such arrangements and to find
ways for you to enjoy an enriching vacation, even if your primary purpose is
business-related.

 

 

First, you need to get your MBA. No, not your advanced business degree. Your
"More Better Attitude!" We know that business travel can sometimes be a grind.
But rather than think about how you're going to go from the hotel to the convention
center to a restaurant and back to the hotel every day, if your attitude permits you
to consider all the possibilities for infusing fun, excitement, learning and cultural
experience into your business travel, you will be surprised at how many great
opportunities start to pop out at you.

 

 

Here's one example from an attorney's vantage point. Belonging to the American Bar
Association is one thing that helps Atty Atlaw get her required units of
continuing legal education, which for the most demanding of her state licenses is
30 units every 2 years. That represents 30 hours of educational content, not something
easily crammed for in a day or two - although it has and can be done.

However Atty belongs to a few of the sections in that Association, and in addition to
the annual meeting for the entire organization, which is usually in the United States
and Canada, each section has its own meetings often in much more exotic locales.

 

For example the upcoming fall meeting for the section of International Law is in
Paris, France. The organization has arranged for a special hotel rate as well as deals
airlines that can be booked through the association website. The organization also
has a number of member benefits including things like car rentals at special association
member prices.

Many times, conferences or conventions have additional activities for spouses and partners
who are accompanying the attendee. These can range from museum visits to golf outings
and wine tours. There are also usually plenty of breakfasts, lunches, dinners and
cocktail hours available for meeting with colleagues and sometimes experiencing
the local ambiance.

 

 

Here are a few resources for different industries that will give you some idea of
what may be available.

Resort conferences for Certified Financial Planners in locations ranging from an
Alaskan cruise to Atlantis-Paradise Island, Bahamas to Nueva Vallarta, Mexico
and Maui, Hawaii. Golfing, diving, river-rafting, wine tours and more are activities
that you can participate in while at the conference.

Visit  http://www.westerncpe.com for one resource of this type of offerings.

CPAs can look at continuing education in Aruba, Grand Cayman Island, Sicily Italy,
or Sonoma wine country with associated activities.

Check out http://www.nti-inc.com for one source of ideas like this.

Attorneys will find meetings and conferences where CLE (continuing legal education)
can be earned worldwide. Just a few examples include conferences and meetings in
Istanbul Turkey, Hong Kong China, Pretoria South Africa, Islamabad Pakistan, 
Lisbon Portugal and Barcelona Spain.

Here's one place to look for ideas: http://www.hg.org/conference.html

The point is to consider the wealth of learning and exploring opportunities that can
accompany travel necessitated by your business or industry. Seek options that
make your journey more than just a trip back and forth from the convention center
or meeting rooms. You'll undoubtedly have the chance to meet other people in
your industry, some who may even share your passions or interest in wine, art
or golf. Be sure to take advantage of all that your particular business has to
offer. And make your next business travel adventure, truly an adventure to
remember.