Have you heard the term “bleisure?” Combine the ongoing conversation about work/life blend with our need to replace the term Brangelina and this is the result: a new way to talk about combining personal travel with a business trip.
I can’t say I love the word, but I do like the concept. If you’re headed off to a fun city like Nashville, why not stay the weekend and hear some great music after your conference? Or, if you’ve spent all week doing trust-building activities at a corporate retreat, don’t you deserve a day or two to actually enjoy the beachfront resort?
“Bleisure” trips are a great idea, but gray areas crop up fast when you’re mixing business and pleasure. Can you bring a companion? When does work end and personal time begin? And who pays for what?
Let’s shed some light on the nuances and best practices of planning a “bleisure” trip.
FLY AND STAY — FOR LESS
“Check that conference schedule. Does it start on a Sunday or end on a Friday? Try to maximize those minimal vacation days. … Check out your company’s policy on booking flights a couple days earlier or later to explore a city without having to pick up the travel expenses yourself. Generally companies are all good with it, especially if that Thursday morning flight is a little cheaper and can save the company some money. … From working in the convention industry I can definitely tell you that booking within the room block has its perks. Convention and visitors bureaus specifically go after convention business to fill hotel rooms and increase economic impact in the city. Thus, you can generally extend your stay in the convention hotel at the pre-negotiated, discounted rate.” — Twenty-Something Travel.
USE YOUR PER DIEM TO YOUR ADVANTAGE
“Most companies have an expense policy that allows employees a modest stipend for leisure activities on business trips …. This isn’t going to send you golfing or to have a grand time at Disney World, but you can use the credit to visit a museum or do something cultural in your destination. If you have this benefit, use it!” — TripIt.
VACATION LIKE A LOCAL
“There’s a consensus among bleisurites that research is key when it comes to making the most of limited time in a new location. … ‘I always try to buy a local SIM card so I’ve got cheap mobile data,’ says [Stuart] Bruce, [a British public relations adviser whose work frequently takes him to a variety of countries] who uses the Moovit app to get real-time public transport information all over the world. ‘You experience far more and enjoy it better on public transport than in a taxi so I try not to use Uber unless I really have to because of odd flight times or tight deadlines,’ he says.” — CNN.com.
IF YOU BRING YOUR FAMILY, CARVE OUT TIME JUST FOR THEM
“Mr. Polito [CEO of the Milan-based Baglioni Hotels] doesn’t mix family and business too closely. Don’t bring your family if you’re ‘going to spend the whole time on the phone talking about business while you’re with them,’ he says. ‘Make sure you can really split business and leisure into different times.’ Often, he adds a few extra days to the beginning or end of the trip, or he tries to squeeze his meetings into the morning or afternoon. ‘I want to be focused on what I am doing so I can enjoy the moments’ with his family, he says.” — The Wall Street Journal.
CONSIDER A SIDE TRIP DURING YOUR CONNECTION
“Plan a layover: Traveling across country may not be an ideal weekend getaway. But, by taking a connecting flight you can plan an overnight, or two, layover. If you live in New York City, for example, and your partner is in Los Angeles, why not plan a romantic weekend rendezvous in Chicago? Then fly home together. Many airlines have hubs in great destinations like Chicago, Dallas and New York.” — Career Intelligencer.