The line between work and life is so blurred today that it’s hard to know when and where to draw it. In the U.S., with our “the business of America is business” workaholic ethos, blending business travel with leisure travel—a.k.a. bleisure—has become more accepted, even encouraged, by many companies.
Not surprisingly, it rates as a 2019 top trend in business travel.
Fun fact: Although those who travel for business have been (usually, clandestinely, since not all employers approved of the practice) tacking on extra leisure-time vacation days for decades, the term bleisure was first published in 2009 by the Future Laboratory as part of their biannual Trend Briefing.
As work perks go, it’s significant in terms of vacation-cost savings. It’s also a great way to increase work-life balance—especially when your “significant others” are available to join you for fun mini-vacations. Given those two leading job-satisfaction attributes, you might assume bleisure has close to universal acceptance among employers. Not yet.
It’s also a great way to increase work-life balance—especially when your “significant others” are available to join you for fun mini-vacations.
According to National Car Rental’s second annual State of the Business Travel Industry Survey, 76 percent of bleisure-traveling bosses and supervisors report encouraging their teams to take time for themselves while on business trips, compared with 51 percent of bosses and supervisors who don’t partake in bleisure travel.
But, that doesn’t stop employees from doing it.
Almost all millennials—90 percent—say they engage in bleisure travel. Generation X logs in at 81 percent, and boomers at 80 percent. The majority of employees still don’t publicize their leisure-time activities when they return to the office post business trip.
Across all three generations, bleisure travelers are significantly more likely to be satisfied with their quality of life (93 percent versus 75 percent) as well as their work-life balance (87 percent versus 64 percent) while on the road than non-bleisure travelers.
In addition, the survey shows that bleisure travelers are more likely to prioritize self-care on the road than non-bleisure travelers, which includes following a healthy diet (42 percent versus 29 percent) and exercising (57 percent versus 31 percent).
How To Do Bleisure Right
This will tell you the boundaries of bleisure, if any, such as how many leisure days you can add to a business trip. Be aware on any need to purchase your own insurance while traveling, or particulars in terms of separating business from personal expenses and obligations.
Try to schedule meetings on Monday or Friday so you use the weekend for fun and maintain the least impact to your regular in-office work week.
Most companies negotiate lower rates with select hotels. While regular travelers might pay upwards of $150 per night, your company might only pay $80 per night.
Ask if you can use your company’s prerate. Many bleisure-friendly companies are open to extending this benefit to employees. Most companies have the ability to accept personal payments for lodging stays.
To get lower rates on your personal travel days, try booking certain reservations with the company travel portal to get discount rates for certain travel expenses, such as booking a rental car.