I just wrote a post about this yesterday actually. In short, there are a number of ways you can take advantage of these trips.
First, brainstorm a list of the following:
- colleagues to meet with (existing ones, ones you don't know, ones new to the company, someone junior to you (possible to mentor them), someone at your level, someone who is a level above you (possible to be your mentor), hiring managers for open jobs within the company, your manager, your manager's manager, if possible)
- A presentation on a company-relevant topic you could give with your team members
- Organize a group outing
- A meeting you normally wouldn't get invited to (just enough above your current level that it would be beneficial for you to learn from, but not so high that it would raise eyebrows)
The goal with this list is more than just socializing. It's to establish new mentoring opportunities, put feelers out for job openings within the company, and, importantly, raise some visibility for yourself.
With these trips, the key is that you don't want to be seen as separate from the group, like some random employee that shows up every now and then. You want to be seen as integral to the team, actively participating in conversations, etc. All things that any employee of any status (remote or not) probably should be doing, but with remote it's more important.
After you've identified the above, reach out to people on your list and setup your other activities. It's a great idea to make your manager aware of what you've planned for your trip, both so that he/she knows you're being proactive but also so that he/she can help identifying others to reach out to, ideas for projects you should be pursuing, etc. Don't make your manager do the work for you, but don't be afraid to lean on them for any help needed.
If you do present on a topic, and you're trying to be strategic about career growth, make sure the audience in attendance is both your peers as well as people at a higher level than you. Impressing just your peers, while great, is not strategic for career advancement. You'll also want to tailor the content to be fitting for this audience.