With the rise of remote work and millennials increasingly opting towards micro-trips over the typical two week vacation, “bleisure trips” or “bizcations” have become big trends in the modern working environment. In case you’re not familiar with the lingo, a bizcation or bleisure trip refers to a business traveler turning their business trip into a mini-vacation — usually by extending their stay at their destination or making some time throughout their trip to take in the local sites and culture.
But how do you make the most of your bizcation in a relatively short timeframe? To help, we asked frequent bizcationers for their top tips on how to plan a bleisure trip, schedule your days and coordinate with your boss to incorporate leisure into your business travels.
Business or Leisure: When and How to Combine Both
It’s appropriate to turn your business trips into bizcations when you have the time and are able to cover any personal expenses while prioritizing your work when it matters.
If you’d just like to tag a little extra time on to your trip to do some sightseeing, the easiest way to go about it is to plan your meetings on Fridays or Mondays. If your meeting is on Friday, flying back on a Sunday or even Monday morning will give you a couple of days to explore.
Depending on your location, it might even be cheaper for your employer to book your flights during an off-peak travel time.
You can also use any vacation days to bridge the gap between your meetings and the weekend. For example, if your meeting falls on a Wednesday, take Thursday and Friday off to spend a four-day weekend at your destination.
Make the Most of Your Bizcation: Expert Advice
If you’re looking to board the bleisure train, we asked a few experts to weigh in and give us their best advice so you can get the most out of your trip. The unique tips below will help you easily combine both productivity and downtime on your next business trip.
1. Prioritize Self-Care
Remember that taking time off is an essential part of self-care. Dr. Sheree Sekou — who heads a consulting firm for individuals and organizations in hospitality, healthcare and education — says, “When I prioritize self-care, I am a much better leader and colleague. When I take time for the things that bring me joy, I carry that joy to work with me and in all of my interactions. It allows me to serve from a place of joy.”
Think of your bizcation as a way to enhance your work skills. Whether it’s to boost your creativity and focus or simply build rapport with your business acquaintances, there are immense benefits for you and your employer when you participate in bleisure.
2. Set Realistic Goals and Expectations
When booking and planning your bizcation, keep your workload and available time frame in mind. If you have piles of work to get done and only two or three days at your destination, you might be tempted to work during your time off. Be sure you speak to your manager to set a realistic workload or perhaps ask a colleague to help take some items off your plate.
Dale Johnson, a remote marketer and founder of Nomad Paradise, says, “my number one tip is to not feel guilty for wanting to explore and sightsee, and have an honest conversation with your manager about work hours and set realistic goals around what is expected of you.”
3. Make a Note to Fully Disconnect
“During the non-work days, to get the most of your bizcation, turn off your phone and don’t check email. Fully immerse and be present to get the most out of the vacation part of your business trip,” says Stacy Caprio, founder of Growth Marketing.
Once you’re finished with work, do your best to fully disconnect. Turn your email notifications off, shut down your laptop and try to clear your headspace from any work thoughts. If this gives you a little anxiety, as it does many of us, tell your team to call you for emergencies. This will keep you from reading any miscellaneous work emails and messages that can be left for your return.
4. Stick to One Neighborhood
For a short trip, booking your hotel near the city center or your favorite neighborhood will help you stick to a realistic sightseeing plan. Staying in the city center will help you check off the main attractions from your list instead of wasting precious minutes in transportation.
It’s also a good idea to visit one neighborhood at a time. “I try to stick to one neighborhood per day so that I don’t waste valuable time on transportation, and I have my ’today’s office’ carefully researched and mapped out in advance so that I’m not wandering from cafe to cafe in search of outlets for my laptop,” says Sara Maria Hasbun, a linguist at Meridian Linguistics.
5. Make a One Item Bucket List
Mike Rheaume, a graduate publisher in travel for Finder, recommends you, “make sure that you have your priority experience, museum, restaurant, hike — whatever it is that most draws you to spending leisure time in that location and do everything you can to get that checked off your list. Then if work gets in the way of other preferred personal time — as it often can — at least you will have that one great memory to take home with you.”
Try to think about the one activity, excursion or site you’re dying to experience at your destination. Whether it’s having world famous beignets in New Orleans or going whale watching in Seattle, checking your most anticipated item off your list will help you avoid major FOMO and feel like you’ve accomplished something for yourself.
6. Network with Your Business Acquaintances
Building strong relationships with your clients or another branch of your team is a great way to kill two birds with one stone during your bizcation. Kate Sullivan from Otis Travel Group suggests you, “break the ice with whomever you’re meeting with – ask them for recommendations about places to see, restaurants to try, locals-only experiences, etc. It’ll help build rapport and help you make the most of your brief stay on your bizcation!”
Make it a point to spend some time with your business acquaintances outside of work and let them show you the best local spots. Getting a true sense of their culture will not only help you better communicate with them and build your relationship but give you a sense of the city outside the typical touristy sites.
7. Change the Scenery
Nothing like a change of scenery to get us in vacation mode. Paul Bromen, CEO of Helpful Habitat, suggests you “mark the transition from a business trip to bizacation with some activity or scenery change. For example, I will switch hotels. This will allow me to mentally transition from work mode to vacation mind.”
Whether it’s booking a different hotel for the vacation portion of your trip, or simply getting out of your business clothes, a small change can help you decompress and enjoy your vacation.
8. Work the Time Zones in Your Favor
Aalap Shah, founder of 1o8 Marketing, suggests you, “travel in time zones that are at least 5 hours behind your current time zone to maximize work and be present for your client. It does require sleeping early in your vacation time zone to wake up at a twilight type of hour to work a full, normal workday in your current time zone.”
Depending on how well you can sleep on a plane, we recommend taking a redeye and arriving at your destination as early as possible. Use your plane ride to sleep and once you arrive at your hotel, take some time to freshen up and head out to explore.
On the other hand, if you have trouble sleeping on planes, we suggest leaving your city as early as possible. No matter when you reach your destination, you’ll still be tired enough at night to wake up early the next morning in your new time zone.
9. Keep an Open Mind and Open Schedule
“Take time to do nothing. My favourite ways to explore a city are not for specific sightseeing but instead of going for a walk, seeing what I find, enjoying a coffee in a local cafe or finding a park to sit and read a book in,” says Hannah Cox, CEO and founder of the group travel company, Better Not Stop.
It’s always a good idea to have a general plan or a short list of things you’d like to check out. However, if you’re looking to have a relaxing bizcation, keeping an open schedule will allow you to take things at your own pace and truly take in the sites and activities you get to experience.
10. Make Any Possible Upgrades
Calloway Cook, president of Illuminate Labs, recommends you, “use credit card rewards points to stay at upscale resorts. I barely ever pay for travel or hotels because of my credit card rewards. It’s hard to have fun or be motivated for work if you’re staying in a run-down hotel.”
When you’re short on time, it’s also a good idea to rent a car to comfortably travel around and quickly get to each place on your checklist. If you have some miles accumulated, booking a short flight to a nearby city or spot is also an option. Whether you use your rewards or pay for some of these upgrades yourself, making your stay as comfortable as possible will help your mind go on vacation mode.
Bizcation Talk with the Boss
Numerous studies have indicated that taking short breaks both throughout your workday and work week can not only be beneficial to your health but help boost productivity and overall happiness at work. With this in mind, you should feel encouraged to speak to your manager about planning your business trips to accommodate for some downtime.
Here are some easy steps and a template on how to bring up bizcations to your boss.
1. Touch on the frequency of your business trips
If you travel often, catching flights and transportation to long meetings then heading back to catch a flight immediately after can be exhausting –– especially if you’re switching time zones.
For the occasional travel, needing some time to adjust to your new time zone and destination could help you get a better understanding of the culture and, in turn, your clients.
Whether you travel every month or only twice a year, be sure to discuss with your manager why a break before or after your business meeting will help improve your work.
2. Speak on the benefits
For both employers and employees, bizcations can have a significant, positive impact in the workplace. Adding a day or two to your trips can help you recharge, boost your mood and get back to work with increased focus.
In addition to discussing the work — and overall mental and physical health benefits of taking breaks — be sure to tailor your points to your specific line of work. For example, if your clients are in a foreign country, speak a different language and practice different traditions, taking a few days to immerse yourself in their culture can greatly improve your communication.
3. Establish covered expenses and dates
If your employer shows concerns about any added expenses, draft one or two different itineraries that show the same or even lower prices in flights and hotels. Booking your flight and room on weekdays, for example, might be cheaper.
Make any expenses you’ll be covering clear and, if needed, list them out for your employer to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This can include hotel nights outside of your business trip, transportation needed for your excursions, meals and upgrades.
4. Suggest remote work
Depending on the nature of your work, you could suggest extending your trip to a week or two and work remotely for part of it. This will give you the chance to build your own schedule to explore your destination and get your work done. If you don’t have vacation days available, this can also be a great way to find a happy medium.
Now that you’re ready to take the most satisfying and productive bizcation, rent a car to enjoy everything your destination has to offer. Whether it’s a two-day trip or a weeklong vacation, nurturing your sense of wanderlust comes with incredible benefits. And if travel is a major part of your career, your experiences will also look great on your resume.