When you think of business travel, you probably think of stuffy people in suits, soulless stone convention centers, retractable name badges and pocket protectors. You probably don't think about is swaying palm trees, rocky harbors, mosque minarets or anything of the sort—but you should. No matter which industry you work in, or what types of landscapes and cultures you prefer, business and pleasure don't have to be mutually exclusive when you make your work in these amazing destinations.
01 of 05
Thailand has invested heavily in its MICE (meetings, incentive group, convention and exhibition) industry, although the Kingdom has many built-in advantages. The paradise island of Phuket, for example, would be an extraordinarily exotic place to have a meeting, even if you had to huddle under a frangipani tree instead of in a luxury hotel boardroom the overlooks the Andaman Sea.
Natural beauty, of course, is not the only thing that makes Thailand an extraordinary place to do business. For example, while Bangkok offers a similar array of activities and diversity of industries you find in other Asian cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo, the price point is much lower on things like event space, restaurants, and accommodation.
02 of 05
Los Angeles has long been one of the top tourist destinations in the United States. While it's inevitable that a megalopolis of more than 10 million would attract a certain number of business travelers, you might not realize just how big a business travel market the City of Angels is—Hollywood is only the beginning. No matter which industry in Southern California you target, you'll appreciate the business traveler infrastructure of the L.A. area, which includes dozens of convention centers, a wide variety of limousine and helicopter executive transport services and corporate rental properties decked out with all the furnishings and amenities, to name just a few.
03 of 05
Although two decades have passed since the end of the wars here, the Balkans remain one of the world's most misunderstood regions, and also one of Europe's most unexplored. This is not only great for leisure travelers, who can enjoy a pastiche of cultures, landscapes, and history on a shoestring budget, but also for business travelers who are looking for something out of the ordinary. In particular, the tiny nation of Montenegro has become a hub for business travel. Can you imagine closing deals as you look out over the Bay of Kotor?
04 of 05
Istanbul, Not Constantinople
In many ways, Istanbul offers a similar travel tapestry to the Balkans, and while the city is massive (it spans two continents!), it might prove more manageable, depending on the scope of your business travel. Istanbul's massive convention centers are almost as sweeping as the long history of the city formerly known as Constantinople, to say nothing of how easy the eclectic streets make it to find adventure on your breaks between meetings.
For example, if you do business in the European part of the city, as you likely will, considering taking a boat across to Kadiköy, the Asian side, to have a truly separate cultural experience within the span of minutes. Well, maybe a lot of minutes if the ferry is late!Continue to 5 of 5 below.
05 of 05
At first glance, it's easy to confuse photos of the skyline of Panama City with Miami, their developmental similarities notwithstanding. Indeed, although Miami is a commendable business travel destination its own right, Panamá gets the nod for a few reasons, first among them that you might not consider it for business travel, unless of course you're in the canal business.
The other main reason? Panama City's stratospheric board rooms notwithstanding, this isthmus country offers some of the world's most exotic travel opportunities, whether you explicitly do business as you wander, or simply use your excursions to decompress after a successful deal. From the paradisiacal San Blas Islands to the cobbled streets of colonial Casco Viejo to a boat trip down the international trading route for which many a leisure travel and business traveler alike know the country and its name, Panamá is world-class, and not to be missed.