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Bleisure Travel 2017: How Business Travelers Are Using The Latest Travel Trend

March 23rd, 2017 /

One of my go-to airplane small-talk questions—“How was your trip”—has recently made me feel a serious amount of travel FOMO. Over the past year or so, I’ve heard more exciting stories of leisure, adventure, and relaxation while on the road than ever.

One recent seat partner was coming home from four days in my home of New York City—two of which were spent wandering Central Park and seeing Andrew Lloyd Webber classics on Broadway. Another acquaintance mentioned that they had devoted half of their recent stay in Salt Lake City to summiting Mount Olympus. Mixing business with pleasure was practically unthinkable in the early days of my career. Today, it’s almost expected.

Bleisure is booming. The hotel industry is taking note of this change and is providing more activities and tours for visiting employees looking for a story to take home. Luth Research discovered that today, leisure days tend to outnumber business days on the average business trip—and in a time when more and more of us are traveling for work, that realization is staggering.

Bleisure is becoming more common for business travelers.

Image by Flickr user

Bleisure Is Changing In 2017

Even in the time I have been making the frequent flyer circuit, business travel has become less of a nuisance and more of a lifestyle—especially for young employees just starting their careers. More people are traveling for business than ever before, and we’re bridging on a majority of those travelers engaging in bleisure trips along the way.

According to a recent survey of members, “49% of business travelers already extend their business trips to further enjoy the destination.” And a recent survey of Founder’s Card members showed that 81% of entrepreneurs participate in bleisure trips.

Part of this career travel lifestyle includes bringing family members, significant others, and friends along for the ride. This trend may involve more planning as far as tickets and hotel reservations are concerned, which is why it helps to have a travel agent or a personal reservationist on call to handle the extra details for you and your employees.

Some companies are even paying for their employees to take bleisure days. Bleisure perks (including additional airfare, meals, and nights after the business trip concludes) are becoming a more standard part of travel position negotiations.

It’s amazing to me that the economics of this works for companies—but you may have the option of trading these bleisure perks for other kinds of compensation while still impressing new employees. In fact, the same survey found that “30% of travelers would even accept a lower paid job if it meant they could travel more for work.” This is a massive change that I wouldn’t have expected twenty years ago.

Some companies will pay for you to have adventures when you travel on business.

Some companies will pay for you to have adventures when you travel on business. Image by Flickr user Loren Kerns.

How To Make The Most Of Your Next Bleisure Trip

Now that execs are allowing more time for fun on the road, we’re discovering some potential drawbacks to this awesome travel strategy. This kind of trip calls for more self-control, but also means you need to be able to relax when appropriate. Workaholics (self included) may struggle with this entire concept. Here are some “dos and don’ts” that will help make your bleisure experience a good one.

  • DO schedule two extra days.

According to the Bleisure Report, most business travelers on a bleisure trip tack on two extra days in order to have fun and explore their new surroundings. This is plenty of time to stop by the Louvre, experience local sushi, or do some shopping. Plus, it’ll give your body even more time to adjust to a new sleep schedule.

  • DON’T save your work for last.

I know it’s tough, but do your best to schedule your working hours at the beginning of a bleisure trip. Can you imagine playing it up in Vegas all weekend, only to have to present at an all-important client meeting on Monday? The immediate shift to stress can create a “major vacation buzzkill” that you’ll definitely want to avoid. Plus, the vacation days afterward can serve as a valuable reward to yourself for a traveling job well done.

  • DO bring someone along.

When you travel two weeks out of every month, it’s easy to lose track of the relationships that mean the most to you. A particularly fun way to bring back the spark is to invite your significant other or family member on a bleisure trip with you! This is a great way to make memories together while involving your loved ones in your everyday life.

  • DON’T wing it.

Start a bleisure trip with a plan for how you might like to spend your time. Peruse local guidebooks or ask friends what activities they recommend in the location. Make a list of ideas you’d like to try—and don’t limit yourself to just touristy things, either! Include options that are off the beaten path (like a local wine tasting) so you’ll have even better stories to tell when you return home.

  • DO take bleisure trips more often.

While it’s nearly impossible for CEOs or other execs to completely unplug and take a vacation more than once a year (if that), adding a couple of days here and there can work wonders in terms of preventing burnout. I probably schedule anywhere between four and seven bleisure trips per year, and I always look forward to these excursions the most.

Leave two extra days to see the sights while you’re in a new city on business.

Leave two extra days to see the sights while you’re in a new city on business. Image by Flickr user Gonzalo Diaz Fornaro.

Make A Plan For Bleisure

Now, I make a point of including a bleisure trip anytime I’m starting to feel down on the traveling life. It’s easy to get tired, run-down, and jet lagged from constant corporate travel—but adding a little wiggle room for fun can really help keep your mind and body in a positive state.

Plus, it’s much easier to schedule more complicated business trips when you have the help of a team of professionals. My membership with JetLux Hotels not only gives me discounted stays; I also get the peace of mind knowing I can relax in a new city with all the details already taken care of. Let your JetLux reservationist book the stay for you, and you’ll be all set to enjoy a trip evenly balanced between business and pleasure. Interested in learning more? Reach out to us today to make bleisure travel a staple in your yearly corporate schedule.  

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