Bleisure Travel: Where Business Meets Escapism
What is Bleisure Travel?
Ever since the advent of business travel, employees have always sought to make it a little more enjoyable. From catching a movie between client meetings to trying out a trendy new business at day’s end, workers have often interspersed a bit of pleasure with their business. Now, though, business travelers are approaching their job-mandated getaways with a definite eye to intentionally enjoying themselves. Say goodbye to the bizcation and hello to bleisure travel. So, what is bleisure travel? You’re about to find out.
According to surveys conducted in recent years, bleisure travel is here to stay. A 2014 study by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality found that 60% of respondents took bleisure trips with more than half bringing a family member or companion with them. In 2016, Expedia Group Media Solutions reported that more than two out of every five business trips got extended solely for personal enjoyment. And despite the chaos wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, big hospitality players such as Marriott International think the trend will continue, and according to The Wall Street Journal, are “offering travelers the ability to book a hotel room for just a day, or to get a full day and a night’s worth of use out of a one-night booking.”
This article will explain what bleisure travel is, how it works, and the best places in the world for a bleisure getaway.
How Does Bleisure Travel Work?
Bleisure travel typically involves more than a spur-of-the-moment decision to stay over an extra day or two during any given business trip. Instead, travelers are intentionally choosing to extend work-related jaunts into lengthier, pleasure-focused getaways, and (as mentioned above) some even choose to bring spouses or other family members. While companies typically foot the bills for employees’ flights and hotel rooms during the business event, everything other than the plane ride home will have to come out of your own pocket.
So, what do people do on a bleisure trip? Well, they obviously work — at least for part of it! But once that is over, the options are limited only to your local and interests. According to Expedia Group Media Solutions, bleisure travelers typically prefer areas with great food (60%), beaches (58%), pleasant weather (55%), natural sightseeing spots (49%), and historical sites (48%).
Pros and Cons of Bleisure Travel
Given the advantages of bleisure travel, it is no wonder that the trend has become increasingly popular. For starters, the fact that your company pays to get you to (sometimes) exotic locations and back home again is a main reason why bleisure travel has taken off. It does not hurt that planning meetings on Fridays and extending trips into the weekend gives you free vacation days. And you also can take advantage of the pricing deals offered by business travel when you have to open your wallet.
Of course, the biggest downside of bleisure travel is that you are going to have to pay for it. Pretty much every activity, meal, and hotel room not associated with the business portion of your trip will come out of your own pocket. You also do not get to choose the locations to which you travel (although you do generally get to select which trips you will extend).
Finally, not every company looks kindly on the idea of bleisure travel. While some businesses have implemented bleisure-travel policies, many managers will not approve of you taking a little personal time on the side. Knowing your organization’s rules and your boss’ temperament are absolutely essential before engaging in this kind of travel.
Top Destinations for Bleisure Travel
So, your company allows bleisure travel, your boss does not mind if you take a couple days for your own enjoyment, and you want to give it a try. What places make the most sense? Well, the simple answer is any place where you land for a business jaunt and that sparks your fancy. But that is something of a cop out. Though you can find worthwhile entertainments most places, some locales are simply more desirable, such as …
Atlanta. A world-class city in its own right and a major metropolis in the American south, Atlanta combines lots of business opportunities with leisure options such as professional sports, museums, and cultural landmarks. Catch a Braves game, visit the Fernbank Museum of Natural History, and sip soda at World of Coca-Cola.
Aruba. Want to work from a desk that is literally on the beach and sip mixed drinks under a cabana when the day is done? Establishments such as Aruba’s Boardwalk Boutique Hotel are making it a reality.
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New York. The Big Apple was, is, and always will be The Big Apple, a worthy hub for profit seekers and vacationers alike. Broadway, Central Park, the Met, the Statue of Liberty, and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum are only starting places.
London. For more than two millennia, the Home of The Big Ben has stood as a cultural and business icon. If you find yourself in the city for work, it is an ideal place to catch a play, gaze at gorgeous architecture, and hoist a pint or three.
Tokyo. Nippon is the world’s third largest economy, and Tokyo is its signature city. For Westerners, it is an ideal candidate for bleisure travel. Scope out the latest tech in the Akihabara district, splurge on luxury goods in Ginza, go bar crawling in Golden Gai, and visit historical structures in Asakusa.
Shanghai. What Tokyo is for Japan, Shanghai is for China. To the west lies Puxi, Shanghai’s historic district filled with striking architecture. Pudong, the easterly district, strikes an entirely different tone with ethereal skyscrapers, Shanghai Disneyland Park, and the gorgeous green spaces of Century Park.
Chicago. Deep-dish pizza. Cutting-edge comedy and jazz. Tony shopping along the Miraculous Mile. The seemingly endless expanse of Lake Michigan. This is only a small sampling of what the “Windy City” has to offer for business travelers with a little extra time on their hands.
Paris. More than just “The City of Love”, Paris boasts nearly two-and-a-half million people living within 40 square miles and some 20 distinct districts. The Musée du Louvre. Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie. Zoo de Vincennes. Canal Saint-Martin. An unimaginable selection of incredible food and equally excellent wine. Paris truly has an embarrassment of traveling riches.
Tel Aviv. A cosmopolitan oasis, Tel Aviv blends business acumen, deep history, and cultural panache with a vibrant nightlife and gorgeous beaches. No wonder some have dubbed it the Miami of the Middle East.
Singapore. Economic think tanks routinely praise Singapore’s famously open markets, and travelers have long delighted in its museums, family attractions, futuristic skyscrapers, luxurious resorts, and amazing cuisine. (Even some of its food stalls have Michelin stars!)
Wherever You Happen to Land!
While not every business trip may take you to some exotic locale, that does not mean you cannot make the most of it. Innate curiosity, a little conversation with locals, and some ingenuity may net you an experience you remember for long after.