Business travel can take you to some new, interesting, and even exotic places. But who says it has to be all business? If you arrive the day before a conference or a meeting ends early, you can use that downtime to relax, get in a workout, or explore the area.
Here are some apps that help you find things to do when you don’t have a whole day to do them in. All of these apps are free, and we’ve tested each one to make sure it’s worth recommending.
And if a few hours here or there is not enough, consider adding a leisure component to your trip by extending your stay over a weekend.
Some cities, like San Francisco and Boston, were made for biking. Riding a bike is a lot more exhilarating than sitting in the back seat of a cab. It is also a great way to see, feel and experience a city. Spinlister is a bike sharing app. (Think Airbnb for bikes.) Depending on your needs, you can rent a cruiser, a mountain bike, or a professional road bike by the hour, day or week from locals in the community.
Every city has its own music scene, and some, like Nashville and Austin, are known especially for their music. If you want to slip out for a few hours in the evening to enjoy some local beats, JamBase tells you what bands are playing, and where. You can search within a radius and by date in case you want to plan ahead. The app also tracks your favorite artists to find out what towns they are playing in.
Not in the mood for physical activity? Maybe a shot of espresso or a latte is more up your alley. Coffee shops not associated with big chains can be hidden gems in local communities. Findmecoffee will tell you exactly what coffee shops are nearby, who is open when, who serves food, and who has Wi-Fi. You can also review cafes and share your findings with friends.
Quiet time hanging out in your hotel room is a good time to catch up on reading. Pocket is the perfect app for that. It lets you download material from the Internet to read later when you are offline. Pocket syncs across all your devices, making it handy for plane travel, too. You can even set up Twitter to link with Pocket on your smartphone, so next time you see a compelling headline in your Twitter feed, you can simply put it in your Pocket.
If you would rather visit a museum or check out a local attraction, Field Trip is your virtual tour guide. As you are venturing around town, this geolocation app pushes information to you it thinks you might be interested in. Depending on how much time you have, you can choose from eight categories of interest (architecture, historic sites, food, and more) and set the frequency of notifications to one of three levels: Explore, Feeling Lucky, or Off. A tab in the app gives you a list of all the locations within walking distance.