How to Make the Most of Your Business Trip

The term “bleisure” refers to the combination of business and pleasure. While the idea of traveling around the globe for work sounds great, there are many aspects of business travel to consider—especially in today’s volatile travel industry, where rules and regulations about how, when, and where to travel are fluctuating by the day (be sure to keep up to date on the latest business travel news before you consider leaving your home country).

Still, if done correctly, you can turn a run-of-the-mill business trip into a fun getaway, too. Research has shown that Americans are notoriously work-focused and have poorer work-life balances compared to workers in other countries. And this is the entire premise behind “bleasure”; to create an indulgent experience and make the most of every business trip. For those who must travel frequently, finding abroad activities that make you happy will help you perform better, think more creatively, and incentivize you to remain in your position for years to come. And with that in mind, here’s how you can make the most of your business trip.

Smart Scheduling

According to American Express, Monday’s and Friday’s are the best times to schedule your business meetings. Both options offer the ability to have a long weekend at your destination. To leverage your time as much as possible, book an early inbound flight and a late, red-eye flight on your return. Doing so allows you to capitalize on an extra few hours in your location, and these ticket prices tend to be cheaper as well.

Bring Your Partner or Friend

While your company likely won’t foot the bill for an extra seat during your business travel, bringing a partner or friend might be a good idea depending on your business and travel situation. But be careful about spending company dollars on anyone but yourself, as it may put you in a legal bind with your company.

If you are bringing a family member or friend along, try to book a verified Airbnb rental instead of a hotel when it makes sense to do so. Renting an entire apartment can give you a much more authentic experience in your destination and additional space for your co-travelers.

However, it’s important to note that you should choose your co-traveler wisely. According to a study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, although traveling together can strengthen relationships, the number one reason couples fight during travel is because of work. To avoid this, set expectations early on. Let them know that you won’t be available to partake in the majority of the itinerary and that you may have to work longer hours than normally depending on how your business trip plays out.

Manage Your Personal Expectations

While you’re away on business, it’s important for you to manage your expectations and remember that your priorities remain with your company. For instance, let’s say you’re on a business trip in Bangkok. While you may want to take a tour of all the city’s notable temples, island hop in the south, or spend hours exploring the sprawling 27-acre Chatuchak Market, these idealistic wishes might not have a feasible place on your to-do list.

Instead, focus on small things you can do while abroad that help you experience the country in a local manner. For instance, take a simple two-hour cooking class with a local host, visit a popular museum, or dine at a restaurant revered for its cuisine. Lastly, with a short amount of time for leisure activities, it’s crucial that you plan ahead and prioritize your wish-list activities.

Talk to Your Company

Bleisure trips are becoming an increasingly popular HR tool to help attract and retain top talent in an economy where burnout is common. Companies that want to improve their work culture and help their employees benefit from better work-life balance are happy to accommodate their team’s bleisure request. If your company doesn’t already offer or practice bleisure, talk to them about your goals. You’d be surprised how open and accommodating many companies are when it comes to business travel.

If your company already allows bleisure travel, be sure to understand their policies and fine print. Pay particular attention to expenses that you can and cannot put on your company card. You’ll also want to review guidelines to gain a thorough understanding duty of care obligations during both the business and pleasure parts of your trip.