Mixing Business With Pleasure: Combining Your Business Trip With A Vacation

Your next business trip is taking you to a destination you have always wanted to explore. Unfortunately, you will be spending most of your time indoors in office buildings that might as well be down the street from your house. Too often when we travel for business, there is no time for sightseeing or leisure. Here’s an idea: what if you combine your business trip with vacation? This has become more and more popular among frequent business travelers, and it isn’t hard to understand why. With more demanding work schedules and the work/life balance line blurred due to the rapid development of technology, bringing work and vacation together is the natural next step in our society.

As long as you are thoughtful about planning, you can easily combine business and pleasure without causing any issues with your company or the IRS. When planning your business and leisure (“bleisure”) trip, there are certain considerations to make.

Business Comes First

You may be more excited about the “leisure” part, but remember why you’re making the trip in the first place. Ultimately, you’re here for business, and even though it would be wonderful if you could add some time for leisure to every business trip, it’s not always going to work out. Make sure to choose the right trip to make bleisure. For example, if your team needs to get a lot done either before or after the trip, now is not the time to be sitting on the beach with a cocktail in hand while everyone else is scrambling.

Use Weekends

You can turn your business trip into a vacation with strategic timing. Let’s say you are going to a week-long conference. Planning to fly in the Saturday before and leave the Sunday after gives you four days to enjoy your destination without business getting in the way or taking precious paid vacation days. By building two weekends into your schedule, you can start and end your trip in a relaxing way without causing an issue with your work.

Save on Hotel Costs

Chances are, your employer paid a corporate rate for your hotel stay, which is usually lower than the traditional rate. You might be able to extend your stay and ask to keep the same lower rate; just talk to the reservations manager. Chances are, they will let you keep the rate for your personal stay. They want to reward you for loyalty, so hotels are often more open to giving you a discount to make sure you come back again.

Add Another Destination

You don’t necessarily need to stay in the same place where you have been doing business for the vacation portion of your trip. Particularly in Europe, you can easily hop between cities based on what interests you. Let’s say you’re flying from New York to London. You can stay there, or you could hop on a train and be in Paris or Amsterdam within a couple of hours.

Location, Location, Location

Not all business trips are well-suited for bleisure. At Sapphire, most of our customers are international business travelers and traveling overseas offers among the best options for bleisure. This is because it’s a lot easier to afford international travel when your company is footing part of the bill. Make sure to choose a location where it is worth it to extend your trip.

Take Care With Companions

If you are taking a vacation, it’s natural to want to bring along your family or friends, but when it comes to bleisure, proceed with caution. As fun as it is to bring your spouse along on these trips, make sure that they are able to entertain themselves during the “business” portion of your trip and won’t be too much of a distraction. It might make the most sense to fly them out after you’re done with your work if they won’t be able to independently explore your destination.

Talk to Your Boss

Make sure to talk to your boss and other teammates about the fact that you will be adding personal time to the end of the trip. While this is becoming a more and more common practice, it’s best to be fully transparent about this upfront so they don’t get the wrong idea about your combination of work and play. This will also keep you on the same page in terms of travel expenses so they don’t worry about you abusing the company policy on expenditures.

Pack Strategically

Because you will be both working and vacationing, it can be tricky to know exactly what clothes to pack. The best way to do this is to find outfits that will translate from work to play easily. Pack clothes that you can dress up or dress down that offer comfort so you can fully enjoy the vacation portion of your trip. We suggest a blazer, which can easily dress up an outfit, regardless of your gender. Once you take it off, you’re in vacation mode!

Ask Your Colleagues for Recommendations

A great way to facilitate a good relationship with the colleagues you are visiting is by asking for their recommendations. Not only will they be able to provide you with expert, local advice, it’s a great conversation topic that will flatter them. Once you go to one of their recommended places, make a note to send them a “thank you” email after the fact so they know you appreciate them.

Use Transportation Wisely

Chances are, you aren’t going to be able to hang onto the company rental car for the pleasure portion of your trip. Therefore, make sure you take the time to figure out transportation ahead of time. If you want to save money, it’s best to figure out the public transportation system than rely on cabs or Ubers. Walking as much as you can is also a great way to absorb everything you can about the city while getting in some refreshing exercise while you’re at it.

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