As the definition of “work-life balance” continues to evolve, there’s a new term many are adding to their travel glossary: “bleisure.” Or the growing trend of business trips lengthened to incorporate added-on leisure time for a work traveler in the same — or nearby — destination. According to a recently published study by integrated travel and expense management services provider SAP Concur, more than 2.2 million trips fell into the bleisure category in 2017 — a 20% increase year over year. And while Millennial jet-setters are the most likely to build in a little extra downtime, taking 38% of these trips, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers weren’t far behind, with each group booking 31% of all bleisure travel.
Here, we offer a few things to consider before you too embark on some bleisure.
1. Get the best rates by using your company’s travel portal. Often, your company’s travel portal will give you the best rates on airfare and hotels due to pre-negotiated deals with many major airlines and hospitality chains, and will allow you to add out-of-pocket personal travel to your arrangements. Just make sure you have management’s approval before adding the leisure half of your dates onto your booking. Which leads us to…
2. Make sure you’re following company policy. It’s important to know the rules at your company about what is considered a business expense and what is personal and must be covered by you. For example, your company may be happy to cover your airfare, as you’ll have to fly to your business destination and back regardless. But take the proper steps to ensure that if your ticket is more expensive as a result of your leisure dates, you offer to cover the difference. Also, clearly delineate your leisure and business hotel nights, to make sure you know which you are responsible to pay for and which you can expense.
3. Schedule your meetings close to the weekend. Friday and Monday meetings are the best way to ensure you can enjoy your business travel destination in a leisurely way for an extended period of time without having to take unnecessary vacation days.
4. Look beyond your business destination. Nearby cities or nature destinations within striking distance of your business destination can create separation between the two halves of your trip so you can make the most out of your journey.
5. Optimize international or long-haul trips. For regular work travelers, adding in a leisure component to a business trip might not always be possible. So focus on ones where you may be heading across an ocean, or even just a few time zones. Extra difficulty in traveling to a new place may provide the opportunity (and incentive) to further explore it.
6. Let your phone be your guide. The top three bleisure trip activities are sightseeing, gastronomy and culture. When it’s time to pack away the presentation slides and shift to mobile city guides, you want to make the most of your limited time and roam worry-free of additional charges. So it’s always worth taking a second look at your phone plan to ensure it offers unlimited data in the U.S. and abroad — like, say, T-Mobile’s Magenta does in over 210 countries and destinations — before you set out to snag those FOMO-inducing photos.
Want to get even more out of your smartphone? Check out Mobile Mindfulness: A Zen Guide to Using Your Device!
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