I still cringe a little bit every time I hear the phrase ‘bleisure’, but despite not being a fan of the buzzword that describes the combination of a business trip with leisure time, there’s no denying that the ‘bleisure’ buzzword is here to stay. Although the term bleisure has only gained popularity in recent years, the art of tagging on some leisure time to business trips isn’t a new concept, but changes in attitudes to flexible working, such as work from anywhere policies, and improvements in technology have made bleisure easier for everyone.
For those that don’t travel for business purposes, the thought of jetting off to far-flung corners of the globe for ‘work’ is a glamorous and enviable part of the job, but for those that travel regularly it can be anything but. Tight schedules, different time zones and time away from home are all factors that eat away at the glamour of business travel, so much so, it’s easy for business travellers to fall into the trap of arriving at a destination, checking into the hotel and then thinking of nothing but the task they’re there to accomplish. But those that embrace the idea of ‘bleisure’ consider this approach a missed opportunity, instead they seize these opportunities to discover and experience what their destination has to offer - even if they can only spare a few hours!
So instead of telling you how to add on a few days at the end or beginning of a business trip (we’ll do that in another blog post), here are 5 ways you can squeeze some leisure time into your trip WITHOUT spending any additional time away from home.
# 1 – Plan your time before you get there
You don’t have to put together a full itinerary to enjoy a city or town, but a little forethought can go a long way. If you’ve booked your trip through a business travel agent, they should be able to advise you on how to make the most of your time, they may even be able to suggest places that are worth a visit. Tripadvisor is also a fantastic place for inspiration with honest reviews and covers pretty much every town and city. Don’t forget to ask the people you are visiting too, showing an interest in their local culture is a great topic of conversation and a good way to build a rapport with the people you’re doing business with.
# 2 – Scrap the spending money
Don’t let a lack of spending money put you off exploring the sights, you don’t always have to pre-book or pay to enjoy what’s around you. Getting up early to see a sunrise over an unfamiliar city, or a walk along a famous river bank at dusk and watching the world go by can help you appreciate where you are and experience the local way of life. Taking time to be mindful when you’re travelling on business, can help reduce stress and make you more productive too - it’s got to be worth a try.
# 3 – Treat yourself to a show
If you’re staying overnight in a destination like London, New York or Paris and you love a good show, then catching a show is a no brainer, but don’t forget that most cities have a theatre or two, so it’s worth checking what’s on wherever you go. Some theatres offer cheaper tickets for those that arrive at the door on the night or pre-book to get the best seat in the house. A few hours in the theatre sure beats spending the evening with room service in your hotel room and you’re more likely to switch off for a bit too.
#4 – Enjoy traditional, local food
It’s so easy to stick to the hotel restaurant or well known food chain you’re familiar with, but there are often some brilliant local restaurants within minutes of your hotel. Tripadvisor is a great resource for uncovering hidden gems and your hotel concierge will know all the best places to go. Experiencing the local culture is a huge part of travelling and sampling the traditional food will really help you connect with the local culture. You’ll be supporting the local community too.
# 5 – Make the most of the weather
If you’re fortunate enough to be in a destination where the weather is a little more favourable than your usual climate, why not take full advantage and soak up some sun. Whether it’s by the hotel pool, the nearest beach or just a simple stroll in the sunshine, controlled exposure to the sun has been proven to help lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality - definitely a bonus when business travel can make these things difficult to maintain in the first place!
So next time you dread the thought of going on yet another business trip, why not apply some of the tips above to make the most of the experience. In the words of the famous author, Hans Christian Andersen, “to travel is to live” so make sure you take as much from every trip as you can.
What are your top tips for making the most of your business trips? Share your thoughts in the comments below.