Making the Most of Bleisure Travel
The old rule on not mixing business with pleasure is so last decade. "Bleisure trips," or business and leisure trips, are the modern way to travel for work. With the average business traveler taking 12-14 work trips per year, it makes perfect sense to extend some of these trips by even just a day or two.
Think about it: you're already investing the time to travel, you're in a new city, and your company paid for the transportation to get you there. Why head home without seeing some of the sights? Even the smallest or most remote destinations often have a lot of unique things to do and see!
Since the leisure portion of a bleisure trip is going to be much shorter than a typical vacation, you'll want to maximize every spare moment. With these bleisure travel tips and a little bit of additional planning, learn how to make the most of your work trip and have an awesome bonus vacation.
Research and Plan Ahead
Once you decide to turn a work trip into a bleisure trip, the planning phase becomes a bit more fun. In order to make the most efficient use of your time on your short vacation, it's helpful to do some strategic planning and research on your destination ahead of time.
- Schedule meetings strategically: If you have any say in it, cluster meetings at the beginning and end of the week. This way, you can easily extend the trip into a weekend without needing to take any days off work.
- If you’re flying, choose early or late flights: Even if you can't spare an extra day on either end of the trip, you can select flights that build time into your day. Choose the first flight of the day or a red-eye to give yourself extra time before or after your workday. These flights tend to be a bit less expensive, plus you won't require an additional hotel night, making this option a win-win for you and your company.
- Research the area: Find out if there are any events, festivals, or concerts going on during your trip dates, and look into where the local hot spots are. Knowing these things can not only help you familiarize yourself with a city's culture but choose a convenient hotel location and have a bit of an itinerary in mind.
- Pack carefully: Using versatile staple pieces from your wardrobe, pack things that easily transition from day to night and can be mixed and matched. Try to limit yourself to two pairs of shoes: one for work and one comfortable pair for your downtime. Get a packable backpack or tote to tuck into your carryon, so you can bring it with you when you explore. Plus, you'll have an additional bag for the trip home in case you do any shopping and need the extra room.
Fitting Leisure Time Into the Workday
You don't get to know much about a new place when you're stuck in a conference room the whole time, but it's possible to fit in some downtime even on your workdays.
- Get moving: Go for a walk, run or bike ride before or after starting the day to take in the local scenery and burn some calories.
- Schedule smart: Plan meetings to allow for a long lunch hour so you can walk around and explore.
- Get some after-hours R&R: Treat yourself to drinks or a nice dinner (with or without coworkers) at a spot with a rooftop bar overlooking the city or, depending on the season, enjoy the hotel pool.
- Deviate from the norm: Chain restaurants are popular for business meetings because they're familiar, but they typically offer a lackluster — and more expensive — experience. Instead, ask locals such as rideshare drivers or hotel staff for recommendations on hidden gems and make that working meal more memorable for both you and your coworkers or clients.
Know the Company Policies
While bleisure trips are becoming more and more popular, it's important to know what your company's specific policies are on certain aspects. Use full disclosure with your bosses and coworkers about your plans and ask questions on work trip policies. You never know, they may even offer you tips on your destination! Insider tip: You may even be able to have your significant other or friends join you for the vacation portion of the trip. Again, be honest and find out what your company's stance is on this.
- Business expenses: Some companies give traveling employees corporate credit cards to use, while others require receipts for reimbursement. Be sure you have a clear understanding of what you will and will not be reimbursed for, and keep personal and work expenses clearly separate.
- Non-work expenses: If you travel frequently for work, your company likely has an expense policy allowing employees to spend a small amount on leisure activities. Even though the amount may only be $5-10 per day, don't let it go to waste. Consider putting it toward admission to a museum, renting a bicycle, or eating at a local food truck.
- Credit cards: Most companies have a specific policy on booking travel. Some require that a corporate card be used, while others allow you to book and then be reimbursed. If you have the option, use your personal card so you earn rewards there also.
- Loyalty programs: One of the main upsides to business travel is earning points with airlines, hotels, and rental cars, which you can redeem for personal use. Many rewards programs like that of Coast Hotels come with perks including express priority check-in and room upgrades.
Every Destination has Something Worth Seeing
If your work trip takes you to a destination that seems less than desirable, remember that almost every place has something cool to offer. Even the places that truly don't are likely within driving distance or a short flight away from something more interesting. Be open-minded and think outside the box.
On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with taking true downtime for your leisure part of the trip. Order room service, binge watch a favorite show, or enjoy the hotel spa. How often do you get to do that at home?
Photo Courtesy of Travel Alberta / Katie Goldie
Where to Stay
With numerous hotels all across North America, Coast Hotels has properties ideally suited for bleisure travel, with both business and convenience amenities. Coast Hotels frequently offer great deals throughout the year, and its Coast Rewards program comes with tons of perks such as members-only rates, upgrades, airline miles, and more. When you're booking your next business trip, be sure to check out Coast Hotels — and block in some time to enjoy yourself, too.