How Business Travelers Can Manage Work and Leisure Together
Back in the day, business trips were strictly confined to work. Business travelers’ daily schedules were overflowing with long hours of meetings, conferences, and client interactions. Hence, they got increasingly burnt out, stressed, and frustrated.
However, companies are striving to improve employee travel experience these days. This has given rise to traveler-wellness-oriented trends like Bleisure. Bleisure (business+leisure) is a term used to describe business trips that combine work and leisure activities.
Post-pandemic, business travelers are increasingly gravitating toward bleisure travel. According to a study by The American Hotel and Lodging Association, 89% of business travelers plan to add a leisure component to their business trips.
As glamorous as it may seem, managing work and leisure simultaneously can be daunting. First, you have to ensure your company is on board with the idea. If affirmative, you must plan the trip so that work and leisure don’t overlap. Moreover, you have to find ways to have fun without compromising productivity.
To help you handle all this easily, here are a few tips on how you can manage work and leisure together:
Check the Company’s Travel Policy
Bleisure travel is a relatively new concept in the corporate travel management world. Most companies have not figured out how to incorporate it into their travel policy. According to a GBTA poll, 88% of travel managers say their company’s travel policy does not include a bleisure component.
There is a fair chance that, like most companies, your organization might not have any provision regarding the duration, scope, and reimbursement of bleisure in their travel policy.
In such cases, your company will consider all the leisure-related expenses you incur during business trips as out-of-policy. Therefore, you will not receive any compensation for such claims. Moreover, you can warrant a reprimand from the HR/Travel manager if there are many out-of-policy expenses in your expense tracking software.
Hence, you should check the company’s guidelines before planning any bleisure trip. You can skim through the policy document for bleisure-related terms and conditions. Additionally, you can double-check with your travel manager if you don’t find any relevant information in the policy document. This way, you can spend within the travel policy limits and avoid expense submission mistakes.
Ensure You are Protected
Traveling for business entails various risks. Whether visiting a domestic or international destination for work, you can find yourself facing troubles like sudden civil unrest or a mass health emergency.
In such cases, the company’s duty of care is to ensure you escape danger unharmed. However, when you add leisure to the equation, complications can arise. Your company may not have a proper bleisure travel support system in place.
Hence, before traveling, you should clearly understand what your company’s duty of care plan covers regarding business and leisure. You should also check whether the business travel insurance plan includes leisure activities.
Prepare a Detailed Itinerary
Planning a bleisure trip can be quite a handful. You have to find ways to accommodate work and leisure activities. Moreover, you must do it in a way that neither work nor fun overlaps with the other.
For instance, if you are traveling to the Bahamas for a two-day business conference, you might want to enjoy the beaches. You may also want to participate in adventure activities like Kayaking and windsurfing. However, managing work and all these activities requires a precise schedule to help you divide your time.
Therefore, instead of creating a rough list of activities, you should prepare a detailed bleisure itinerary. Your bleisure itinerary can include all the details of a corporate travel management itinerary along with leisure activities.
Preparing a detailed itinerary can be strenuous and highly time-consuming. However, once you have a plan of action, you can be confident about your trip.
Packing for a bleisure travel is very different from packing for a business trip. Business trips are shorter and are limited to getting the job done. Hence, you only need to pack formal business clothes and work essentials like your laptop and documents.
However, bleisure trips usually last longer and include a variety of activities. Other than meetings and conferences, you might want to explore local tourist destinations. Or you may go thrill-seeking through adventure sports. Hence, you must pack more extensively while being mindful of luggage limitations.
A pro tip for bleisure packing is to keep versatile clothes you can wear for both work and leisure activities. You can pack your clothes using packing cubes to save space.
Also, use multi-port USB chargers to avoid carrying multiple charging devices. Moreover, pack safety gear and a basic first-aid kit if you plan to indulge in adventure sports.
If remembering all this seems daunting, create a packing checklist to ensure you carry every essential item.
Bleisure travel allows you to relax and work simultaneously. However, sometimes you may have to choose between leisure and business. For instance, a deadline on a significant client project might force you to work beyond official hours. Which means you have to skip a few late-night cocktail parties.
While missing out on such events can induce major Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO), you must prioritize work. Always remember that the trip's primary purpose is to accomplish organizational goals. So, if you can’t naturally accommodate leisure activities without disrupting the work schedule, don’t do it.
Get Proper Sleep
While traveling for work, your day is jam-packed with activities. You have to prepare presentations, attend conferences and meet multiple clients. Additionally, the schedule becomes even more hectic when you factor in leisure activities like sightseeing. Due to this, you may become sleep deprived.
Sleep deprivation is a bigger problem than it seems on the surface. It can adversely affect your mind and body, resulting in nausea, irritability, forgetfulness, and many other issues.
Hence, you should take all the necessary steps to get 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep to ensure physical and mental wellness. Only when you are healthy will you be able to function properly.
Here are some things you can do to get good sleep:
- Follow a sleep schedule
- Reduce blue light exposure 3 hours before bedtime
- Eat a hearty dinner
- Create a relaxing environment with soft music, dim lights, and essential oils.
If you plan to combine work and leisure, staying at a single hotel is not the best idea. The reason is that the hotel you choose in the workplace may not offer access to significant local attractions. Moreover, if you are traveling to Europe, where various countries are just a short train ride away, you should not limit your reach by staying in one place.
Therefore, once you are done with the business part of your bleisure trip, shift to a hotel best suited for fun. You can use the company-provided travel and expense tracking software to find policy-compliant hotels according to various locations in your itinerary.
While traveling for work, you are responsible for achieving the company’s goals. There is a fair chance that business projects may occupy most of your trip, leaving you with no time to enjoy leisure activities. In such cases, smart scheduling can help you out.
If you get to plan your business travel, make sure you take advantage of the weekends. You can do that by scheduling the trip to begin on a Monday so you can arrive on the previous Saturday. Or you can ensure that it ends on Friday so you can have two extra days to enjoy before returning to the office.
Bleisure Travel is the Norm.
Incorporating leisure in your business trips can help you relax and avoid burnout. So you should take full advantage of the extra resting time and enjoy the adventure activities thoroughly. However, you must manage it so that fun activities do not interfere with work. The tips mentioned above can help you juggle work and leisure seamlessly.
Above all, remember that a bleisure trip is your company’s incentive for you. So work hard and play hard.