Are you planning a getaway sometime soon? Imagine if someone else paid for your flights! Does it sound too good to be true? Well, we’re happy to tell you that it can be your reality. This is where “bleisure” comes in. Imagine a side trip to indulge in the cultural delights of Kyoto when you head to Tokyo for work. Or spending a few days after a conference sightseeing with an old friend in London.
Did you know that over two-thirds of business travelers around the world take at least one bleisure trip per year according to a study done by Egencia? In fact, 41% of North American respondents said they planned to take a bleisure trip. Furthermore, the Travel Trends 2018 Report on US travelers’ attitudes and preferences by WEX and Mastercard found that nearly 60% of people surveyed extend their business trips.
Read our helpful guide below for everything you need to know about bleisure travel.
What is bleisure?
Bleisure refers to combining business travel with leisure time. It can also be referred to as “bizcation”, but bleisure is the preferred term. The boundaries between work and personal time are disappearing and bleisure travel seems like the perfect blend of the two.
Recent studies of business travelers had some interesting findings on bleisure travel and the bleisure traveler.
Did you know…
- Female business travelers are more likely to take bleisure trips (8.5% for women vs 6.8% for men).
- Younger travelers are more likely to take bleisure trips. For those aged 20 to 25, the rate was close to 15%.
- The greater the distance for travel, the greater the likelihood of bleisure travel. Intercontinental trip rates for bleisure travel were three times higher than domestic trips.
- Millennials preferred bleisure trips that allowed for sightseeing and exploration.
- Older travelers preferred using the time to visit friends and family.
- Bleisure travel isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, so make sure your company is prepared for all the questions your employees may have about bleisure travel.
Organizing your bleisure travel
Book your meetings close to a weekend
There are two ways to go about bleisure travel.
- Take annual leave for your leisure days
- Utilize the weekends
Where possible, organize your business trip on either side of the weekend so your Saturday and Sunday are free for personal enjoyment. Save your annual leave for another vacation or trip.
When booking your accommodation for extra nights, your Corporate Traveler Account Manager can factor your desire for a bleisure trip into the corporate booking. This prevents you from having to switch hotels or move too far for the leisure part.
Who pays for what
Don’t expect your employer to cover everything for your bleisure trip. Usually, they’ll pay for anything associated with the business component of your trip, but as soon as you hit leisure time, it’s time to open your own wallet.
Your company will definitely need to get you to the destination you’re working in, so they will pay for your flights. If you’re hoping to travel to another destination on the way home, you’ll have to foot that bill. In some cases, you may need to chip in for the flights if you want to come back at a busier time than the original return date. Consult your travel policy for details.
This depends on your employer’s business travel insurance plan. In some cases, employees may need to take out a separate travel insurance policy for the leisure portion of their trip.
Domestic Travel Insurance – Even if you’re traveling domestically, you want to be covered for any unforeseen circumstances. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Any loss or damage to work property should still be covered by your work’s insurance policy (providing you’ve taken reasonable care).
International Travel Insurance – If you’re traveling abroad and your business policy doesn’t cover leisure components of a business trip, you may want to take out a separate insurance policy for the leisure time.
It’s best to check with your HR department about your travel insurance policy and what it covers. Don’t have a business travel insurance policy? Our team of experts are happy to help; contact us today.
Accommodation & Food
Whether you receive a travel allowance in your pay or you have a company credit card, your employer won’t pay for any components of your trip that are for private purposes. Make sure you know your expenditure limits and eligibility before you order a fancy lobster dinner.
This one can be a bit tricky to navigate. The general rule is that work has to be a major factor contributing to the injury. If you’re on a work trip for a business meeting, but decide to go hang-gliding in your spare time, there’s a good chance that you won’t be covered for associated injuries.
If the “leisure” is part of work, what happens if you get injured during that time? For example, you’re at a conference overseas and take part in a team building activity where you ride camels and you fall off your camel. It would need to be determined whether you were merely encouraged to take part in the activity or obligated to do so. As we said, it’s a tricky area so it’s best to consult with your employer about these situations beforehand or avoid high-risk activities altogether.
If you’re abroad, your travel insurance should cover medical expenses, provided that you have the right coverage and take reasonable care of yourself.
Bringing travel companions
Want to bring a partner along on your business trip? You’ll need to pay for additional costs associated with their stay. That will include flights, meals, and, depending on how many people are joining you, extra accommodation. It’s best to check with your HR department or travel policy about the protocol for partners joining business trips.
Benefits for Employers
A number of business travelers choose to forgo leisure time on their business trips. Why? A lot of it comes down to how it may be perceived by their employer. However, bleisure often provides a huge benefit for the employer. With fewer days off from work for travel to and from a location, the employer will pay less for annual leave. Furthermore, if the employee can make use of weekends for their leisure travel, the employer doesn’t even need to pay for time off at all. Millennials are most likely to extend a business trip for bleisure and see this as a major work perk.
Bleisure travel helps give employees flexibility with their holidays at a lower cost to them as well as allows employers to deal with a smaller impact on annual leave.