Those who travel frequently for business know that the average business trip is not all fun and games -- business travel usually has little in common with the typical vacation, and more often than not, business trips can leave you much more fatigued and burned out than if you had just stayed at home.
For many, the solution is “bleisure travel,” a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure” -- and an increasingly popular way to travel. According to Visa’s 2015 Global Travel Intentions Study, which surveyed the travel habits of over 13,000-plus travelers worldwide, 16 percent of travelers combined business and leisure on their most recent trip. The majority of these so-called bleisure travelers are young execs from Asia who spent an average of around 10 nights on their most recent trip.
We here at Oyster.com talked to a couple of frequent bleisure travelers about how (and why) you should add leisure to your next business trip. Here's what they had to say.
The Value of Bleisure Travel
Jacob Cherian, a “Chief Ideas Officer” from India, usually tries to tack on some leisure time to his business trips. “In the practical short-term perspective, planning leisure around work is actually a very 'efficient' way to go about it in terms of time and money spent on tickets. The good bosses understand this and actually appreciate this sort of 'optimization.'”
Jay Langley, who works for an international NGO in Australia, frequently travels abroad to attend workshops, as well as for last-minute trips to respond to international emergencies.
And while there’s no questioning the fact that adding some vacation time to your business trip can end up saving you cash, Cherian believes that it also might help you perform better as an employee. “Especially if you have an intensely online and creative role, like my own, where it is important to lose contact with the Internet for at least 24 hours if not 72,” he points out. “I think it's critical to have that time away from people you know and with people you don't to gain fresh perspectives and new ideas.”
But even bleisure travel can be taxing, Langley notes, particularly for those who spend a lot of their working lives on the road. “It's all about balance -- balancing your commitments so that people in the office don't resent your absence, balancing work and leisure, and balancing time at home versus time away. It sounds nice to add on a week or a weekend to every trip, but if you're a frequent business traveler, home time quickly becomes more precious. Also, castles, markets, beaches, and art galleries are much less fun when you're alone.”
How to Add Leisure to Your Next Business Trip
“I ask clients, or my partner, to schedule the ticket in such a way that I can take between a week to a fortnight in a place around one of the cities,” Cherian explains.
As an Australian, Langley gets four weeks of annual leave time. “It's usually not a problem to use a few of these days to extend a trip, or even to plan to take a couple of weeks' break at the end of an international engagement,” Langley explains. “Also, if I need to travel over the weekend to reach somewhere by Monday, my boss doesn't mind if I use those lost days at my own discretion - as long as I pay my own hotel and costs when I'm doing it.”
The bottom line? Be transparent and most bosses, especially those who understand the value of getting a little refreshing time away from the grindstone, will be more than happy to accommodate. “Just don't hesitate to ask for it,” suggests Cherian. “Bosses and colleagues are usually understanding of such things, unless of course if you have a total tumor of a boss.”