You may have heard that you shouldn’t mix business travel with pleasure. But many people who are taking “bleisure” trips these days consider that an outdated saying, or they think it’s one that doesn’t need to mean absolutes in today’s world. As a business traveler venturing around the world to take important meetings, attend networking events, do gigs, and close deals, it makes sense to interject some levity and fun into what could otherwise be a quite heavy and boring business trip.
To keep yourself balanced, and so that you can perform your best while doing business because you’re able to relax a bit in your off time, bleisure travel should be your travel form of choice. Bleisure travel is becoming the new sort of travel for today’s business person, whether traveling just to the next state or all the way overseas. So how do you get in on the action? How do you turn your business travel into a bleisure trip, and take advantage of the opportunities to sightsee, meet new people in a casual setting, and create memories in locales that would otherwise be mere places to stop over?
You familiarize yourself with the following and then you call me.
Be Transparent With Those You Work With
Whether you’re traveling solo or as part of a team, you’ll want to keep everyone who matters informed that you plan to do a little clubbing, adventuring, or relaxing while you’re on your bleisure trip. State your intentions before your co-workers see those pictures of hot bar nights or stories of envious activities that you might be posting online.
Bleisure travel shouldn’t be considered a work crime – and in fact it’s a type of travel that I wholeheartedly recommend for people who have the chance to journey away from where they spend most of their time – but, you may not want to have to explain your actions and whereabouts in an inquisition-type of setting during your trip or afterward. Just let know whoever needs to know that you’ll be taking care of business as usual, and possibly skipping out for some down time or renewal now and then.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Some Time Off
If you want to arrive early in your destination, or stay a few days after business is done, don’t be afraid to ask for some time off to extend your trip and to turn it into a full-fledged bleisure extraordinaire. If you visit a city frequently for business, you might be able to spend a couple of days doing things you haven’t had the opportunity to do, such as touring historical sights or taking photos of famous landmarks. Maybe you’d love to take train or bus ride from that city to somewhere sensational nearby.
For those who have to conduct business travel in places that offer once-in-a-lifetime chances for discovery, it can be perfect to arrive before work or stay after everything is wrapped up. Your trip is already arranged, so take advantage of it by seeing if you can tweak your flight dates and times just a bit in order to explore somewhere you might not get back to. If your company is footing the bill for your travel, you might even be able to save it money by flying in or out at a different time, so that creates a win-win situation.
Keep Personal and Business Finances Separate
It’s important to keep business and personal finances separate while on your bleisure trip, for reasons that have to do with company policies as well as your personal finance benefits. Your company might reimburse you for certain expenses on a business trip, such as meals and transportation, so it will likely only want to see business-related items listed on a company credit card statement.
In addition, you may be able to write off some of your personal expenditures, so log these items in your own books. You may even get perks on your personal credit cards for spending on things like food and activities.
Check Your Corporate Travel Policy
As you’re working through the details of your potential bleisure trip, check your corporate travel policy to make sure you understand what expenses will be paid for as part of your business trip and what will be reimbursed to you. Be certain you know how the process works when it comes to book hotels, or transportation, and then submit receipts.
See if you have the absolute freedom to choose any type of services you want, such as accommodations in a chic downtown hotel with a great rooftop bar or intimate meals in someone’s home rather than dinners at a typical restaurant.
Take the Tax Advantages
Turning a business trip into a bleisure trip can save you money on taxes, so that’s incentive enough for some business travelers to try out a spa service in their hotel or look for a concert to attend in the evening after a work conference. If you take a bleisure trip, you may qualify for some generous tax breaks like being able to deduct personal expenses as business expenses.
The tax rules state that as long as your primary purpose for your trip is business related, you’re able to write off all qualified travel expenses within the United States. These expenses include lodging, transportation to and from airports, and even 50% of your meals. The IRS also says that any company reimbursements are tax-free for you.
Use a Travel Agent Experienced in Managing Corporate Travel Interwoven with Leisure Components
There can be a lot of negotiations and special accommodations necessary for a business traveler to enjoy a successful bleisure trip. That’s why it’s important for you to work with a travel agent who has experience managing corporate travel and interweaving leisure components. If you want to get to a city before business begins, or stay after it’s over, an experienced agent will know how to keep you in the same hotel room for the length of your trip and give you a great rate throughout your stay.
Travel agents who specialize in bleisure travel have access to perks and discounts at theaters, museums, and nightclubs that you might not get if you hire an agent who only books corporate travel. A bleisure agent will know about top tours and activities where you’re staying, partial-day rentals for many services if you only have a few hours to play around town, and unique experiences that can turn a routine business trip into an amazing one.
The BlueOrange Travel team is an experienced team of travel agents that knows how to help business travelers make the most of a business trip. Our agents realize that work can comprise a great deal of a person’s life and that it’s important to take opportunities for personal fulfillment whenever possible.
If you’re looking for the right agent to help you plan a bleisure trip, whether it’s to extend your business trip by a day or give you something thrilling to do every day during a week-long trip to somewhere, give us a call.