Have you been on a bleisure trip yet?

Having a little more fun on your business trip can help you achieve the perfect work/life balance. Here's how to 'bleisure like a boss'.

Aerial view of Manly beach in Sydney.
  • Jo Stewart
  • November 2018

Banking your holiday leave to use all at once on a long trip is so 2017. Meet the bleisure boom – merging business with leisure on frequent trips throughout the year. Tagging on an extra few days to take in the sights at the end of a hectic business trip or flying in the family for a short holiday when you’re already at a destination you’ve been meaning to go to, really seems like a no-brainer.

The portmanteau "bleisure" first came into our collective consciousness in 2009, when British consultancy The Future Laboratory coined the term to describe the growing number of travellers mixing business and leisure travel in one trip. Nearly a decade later, bleisure has officially gone mainstream.

In an increasingly digital world where smart devices, cloud-based apps, near-universal Wi-Fi and co-working spaces have transformed the way we work, the concept of being chained to a desk is slowly becoming a thing of the past. As the way we work evolves, so have our work-related travel patterns.

A study by the Global Business Travel Association found that 37 per cent of travellers managed to add some serious leisure time on to their business travel last year, with millennials (48 per cent) leading the bleisure charge.

Globally, more and more business travellers are parlaying their work trip into something more fun, with the opportunity to relax or experience a new culture helping to enhance work-life balance.

Employers, too, are increasingly recognising the benefits of combining a business trip with a side serve of downtime – the “pleasure” add-ons help boost staff wellbeing and increase job satisfaction, thereby also aiding in improving productivity and employee retention.

On the flip side, as legions of digital nomads show the world how a beach shack or organic juice bar can be just as effective as the “office”, the work-play lines blur even further. (That’s called a workation, by the way, and it’s a longer holiday away from home where you combine working with a vacation.)

Two people walking through a Waiheke vineyard.
Why not add on a weekend of wine tasting in Waiheke after meetings in Auckland?

While not everyone may be cut out for swapping the nine-to-five for a co-working space in Bali quite yet, hitting Sydney’s beaches after a few days of business meetings or enjoying a weekend of wine-tasting on Waiheke Island after attending a conference in Auckland is certainly a win-win new way to travel.

Top tips to make the most of your next bleisure trip:

  1. Instead of flying in and out of a buzzing capital city for a mid-week meeting, schedule your next meeting for a Friday, then spend the weekend at your leisure.
  2. Schedule meetings, conferences and other work events before your leisure time. With your commitments taken care of first, you’ll be free to enjoy a break without having work on your mind.
  3. Choose your base wisely; hotels located in business districts may be convenient for meetings but these areas are usually dead zones on the weekend. Instead, stay in a happening neighbourhood to be close to hip galleries, cool bars and restaurants and great boutiques.
  4. Research your destination and make bookings beforehand to avoid missing out on a table at that hot new restaurant or tickets to that must-see gig.