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What Is “Bleisure Travel” and How Can It Benefit You?

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Lori Zaino
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Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lan...
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As corporate and leisure travel have both bounced back after the COVID-19 pandemic, companies, travelers, and the travel industry itself are all figuring out how to navigate the “new normal” in the travel world, which includes concepts like revenge travel, the return of meetings and large events, a major focus on sustainable travel, and a particular concept we’ll focus on with this article: “bleisure travel.”

Business travel was slower to pick back up than leisure travel, but it’s made a comeback in recent months. Now, however, people have a decidedly new outlook on how to handle it, especially now that remote work and hybrid office models have stuck around beyond the end of the pandemic. Corporate travel and personal travel have evolved, and people are looking at these 2 spheres of travel in different ways and combining them like never done in the past.

We’ll discuss the bleisure travel trend, how people are doing it, how it can benefit you, and how the travel industry is (and should be) responding to it. We’ve interviewed professionals in the travel and event planning industry as well as business and bleisure travelers to understand a bit more about why and how this movement is changing the way people travel, work, and vacation.

What Is Bleisure Travel?

Bleisure travel is the blending of both business and leisure travel, and it can be manifested in many different ways. Bleisure travel can mean:

  • Business travelers who tack on extra personal days before or after a work trip, meeting, or corporate event
  • Remote workers who take vacations but can also work remotely from whatever destination they’re in
  • Business travelers who bring along friends or family with them to enjoy the hotel or destination while the main traveler is working or in meetings, then take time off to spend with them in the destination
  • Any type of trip that combines traveling both for pleasure and professional purposes

We do want to make it clear that bleisure travel isn’t suggesting you take a personal vacation and turn it into a business trip. In fact, it’s really the opposite — ensuring you can make time for leisure and relaxation before, during, or after a work trip or corporate event.

People are more open to bleisure travel than ever before. According to a survey by Booking.com, business travel is picking back up. But in a post-COVID-19 world, employees want team building away from the office, which reflects a feeling that work travel includes “productive play.” In fact, 51% of survey participants are hoping to see their employer use the money saved from the shift to remote work spent on corporate travel and retreats.

And those whose companies have done so seem to have nothing but positive feedback. We chatted with a Paris-based product director in a tech startup who told us his 20-person company has employees around the world in places such as Sweden, France, and the U.S. While he’s able to voluntarily pop into the Paris office a few times a week, he also works from home and connects with his team during the optional quarterly meetup retreats his company offers.

“The trips are fully paid for by the company (travel, hotel, and food), usually a week long in destinations like the Alps, Mallorca, or Marrakech. It’s really helpful to spend time with the team, work in the morning, and do fun activities like yoga or skiing afterward. It’s also such a privilege to bring my family along — my company has even paid for a nanny to help with our 2 children. We work hard all quarter knowing these retreats are coveted rewards that also help with team building and connection,” he explained.

Bleisure Travel Is Everywhere

This move to mix business and leisure travel is happening in all industries and for all kinds of work trips. We spoke to Catherine Chaulet, President and CEO of Global DMC Partners, to understand more about why and how this is happening.

The trend to mix work and leisure is requested more and more for groups, meetings, and incentives. Allowing for free time is also now becoming a must. As meeting planners work on attracting attendees to their meetings, incentives, conferences, etc., they’ve had to integrate these into their programs. Attendees want free time to work but also to relax,” she told Upgraded Points.

As combining work and play becomes the norm, travelers, employers, and meeting planners are figuring out ways to incorporate leisure into work travel and events, including adventure, wellness, relaxation, family and friend time, exploring, and beyond.

Not convinced bleisure is for you, or aren’t sure how to incorporate it into your professional life and travels? Read on to find out how.

Bleisure Travel Offers Numerous Benefits

A study done by the Expedia Group in 2023 showed that 62% of travelers plan to travel in the next few months to relax and disconnect. And this is exactly why you should take a business trip and spin it into a bleisure trip. Why not take a few extra days and turn a work trip into some time to also relax, disconnect, and rejuvenate?

Here are just some of the ways bleisure travel can be beneficial to you.

Save Money

If your company pays for airfare or you get a discount on additional hotel nights (or you can write the trip off as a business expense), you’re saving money on your vacation. And now, with the cost of airfare and accommodations on the rise, being able to travel affordably is key.

To understand a bit more about how employees can save money on bleisure travel, we spoke to Nick Morse, a Group Category Director at Rubix Group, who frequently travels for work and meetings.

He told us that since the pandemic ended, business travel has picked up once again, and he’s been traveling during weekdays and then using weekends to stay in destinations like London, Germany, and France. “It’s been a great way to get some fresh air and take a break, and at a reduced cost because my air travel is already paid for. When possible, I take my wife along, too, and she has time to relax and enjoy while I’m working; then we take the weekend exploring together, saving us money on a vacation.”

To understand the other side of things, we spoke to Michael Johnson, Senior Events Ninja at Event Dojo, who primarily plans incentives. He told us that he’s started to plan entire leisure days into incentive trips, and has had a 100% positive response from attendees. “People get to enjoy themselves without having to spend their own hard-earned money to do so. Additionally, with the costs of flights soaring, this huge expense is covered by their company, which allows them to extend their stay by a few nights on their own to really make a memorable vacation out of it.”

It’s a Better Use of Time

If you’re already on that 8-hour flight for a business trip, take advantage of this time. You’ve already spent the time flying and overcoming the jet lag. Now you can enjoy a getaway without having to fly long-haul again or catch up on missed sleep.

Business traveler at airport
Take advantage of the travel time and stay a bit longer. Image Credit: Mitchell Luo via Unsplash

For example, we talked to an IT Project Manager for a global consulting firm who explained he loves flying to destinations that have a 1 to 2 hour time difference, but earlier. “I can get a head start on the East Coast with work, complete all my tasks by about 4 p.m. local time, and then enjoy the beach, restaurants, and nightlife like a local.”

Make Sure You Get the Leisure Time You Need (And Deserve)

According to a study by Pew Research Group, 51% of Americans don’t take all their vacation time. Tacking a leisure trip onto a business trip ensures you’ll take the vacation time you’re entitled to, especially if you don’t have the time and energy to plan a standalone vacation. You earned this time off — take it!

Have New and Memorable Travel Experiences

If you have a business trip or event in a foreign, far-flung destination, you may be exposed to a part of the world or a culture that you may never have gotten to see otherwise. You may even get to visit a state you hadn’t previously considered planning a vacation in. The IT Project Manager told us that his company has a small presence in Brazil, with 3 employees there that directly report to him.

By combining a trip to see the team with a vacation, he could both connect with his team and explore São Paulo. “I used less vacation time by combining a work trip with a vacation, and I was exposed to a whole new culture, which was exciting and novel,” he said.

And people within the travel industry are seeing this type of travel more and more, especially when it comes to meetings and events. Mr. Johnson mentioned that “After unprecedented lockdowns, we’ve seen more excitement in getting out and exploring the world than in the years previous.”

Bottom Line:

The next time your company considers that meeting in Buenos Aires, an event in Bangkok, a corporate retreat to Egypt, or even a sales meeting in Wyoming, make sure to take advantage by tacking on a few extra days, turning a business trip into a bleisure experience to see a new place.

Feel More Fulfilled and Become a Better Employee

Rested employees are happy ones, and according to that aforementioned Booking.com study, more than half (59%) of workers around the world believe traveling can help them to be more productive at work, which brings us to our next point: Bleisure travel is good for businesses, too.

Bleisure Travel Benefits Both Employees and Companies

With a focus on remote and hybrid work, it’s more important than ever to get employees together — not just in business settings, but in leisure ones, too.

According to Ms. Chaulet, “Corporations sometimes have challenges building team spirit within their companies with staff working from home. Combining business and leisure on these trips helps build this sense of camaraderie among employees. This brings efficiency, better teamwork, and ultimately stronger loyalty to corporations.”

Extending a work trip to include some leisure time, or better yet, having leisure time built into a corporate retreat, event, or incentive trip, can boost employee efficiency, productivity, and fulfillment, leading to happier, healthier, and more loyal employees. This can boost team morale and company productivity, achieving a strong ROI and benefitting the bottom line in the process.

Bleisure vs. Workcation

Workcations” and “bizcations” are terms that are often used interchangeably with bleisure travel, but it’s important to note that they aren’t the same thing.

Working during what’s supposed to be a relaxing vacation often happens (a workcation). Many Americans don’t take their allotted time off as it is, so if working on a vacation can be avoided, we suggest trying your best to make that happen (we know it’s not always possible). And workcations are also different than working remotely from a new destination — or digital nomad-ing — where you may travel to a place to work “from home” for a significant amount of time, but also build in some leisure or vacation time.

According to a JobSage survey, “More than half (59%) of Americans don’t like the concept of workcations.” And honestly, neither do we. Working during your vacation kinda stinks, after all. But the reality is that many people take workcations because they simply can’t take vacations. Some can’t fully disconnect, while others can’t dedicate the time to really relax and not work. According to the survey, 47% of respondents have taken a workcation because they felt they couldn’t take time off.

Instead of thinking of workcations and bleisure travel as the same thing, perhaps it’s time to think about bleisure travel as a possible solution (or at least a Band-Aid) to banishing workcations.

We can’t expect centuries of ingrained ideas about hard work to dissipate overnight, but perhaps tacking on a few days of “true vacation” after working hard during a corporate trip is a realistic scenario.

How Hotels Can (And Already Are) Catering to Bleisure Travelers

Employers aren’t the only ones capitalizing on bleisure to benefit their companies. Hotels are also taking note of this movement and offering amenities and features that benefit bleisure travelers.

IHG, for example, has called it “blended travel,” understanding that flexibility is key when it comes to providing comfortable stays for all kinds of travelers. Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Brand Management, Global Crowne Plaza, said in a white paper discussing the future of travel: “Our guests are looking for more flexibility to rebalance their lives, and we’re continuing to evolve and invest in the blended travel space to provide the lives that they now want to live as they travel.”

The paper states that 60% of U.S. travelers plan to add leisure days to future business travel, so hotels need to be ready, offering elements that bleisure travelers want.

How Bleisure Travelers Can Maximize Hotel Stays

A study by Passport Photo Online showed that 65% of Americans book hotel rooms for work 1 to 4 times a month, and nearly 72% of working professionals plan to use hotels for work in 2023 and beyond, noting that they have higher levels of productivity and creativity when working at a hotel.

According to travelers, things like having their bed made every day (hotels that are cutting housekeeping — take note!) are really important for creating a comfortable working environment, as are things like plentiful food and drink offerings, speedy Wi-Fi, special discounted rates for those who extend business travel into leisure travel, comfortable in-room workspaces, business-friendly amenities like free adapters upon request or plenty of electrical outlets in guestrooms, a business center or dedicated co-working space, printing options, childcare options, and flexible check-in and checkout times.

The aforementioned study also stated good lighting and quiet rooms as additional wants and needs for bleisure travelers.

Beyond just amenities for business travelers, hotels need to embrace the versatility that a bleisure traveler needs to enjoy themselves during the leisure part of their trip, too, by offering things like pools, fitness centers, beach access, and beyond, all things someone might want to enjoy after a few days of meetings or work events.

Bottom Line:

Bleisure travelers need the best of both worlds: amenities that benefit business travelers as well as amenities that make for a fun and comfortable leisure vacation. Find a hotel that has it all for the best bleisure travel possible.

Credit Cards, Elite Status, and Rewards Are Key

Holding certain travel credit cards, membership, or elite status can make it easier for travelers to get some of these perks. For example, the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card offers a 7% discount on standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels when booked direct (terms apply), as well as complimentary Gold Elite status, which offers late 2 p.m. checkout (upon availability), among other benefits. The Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts program offers early check-in when available and late checkout at 4 p.m.

Hot Tip:

Looking to capitalize on hotel benefits like late checkout? A host of credit cards offer hotel complimentary elite status so you can take advantage of perks like free Wi-Fi, late checkout, early check-in, and much more

These benefits can provide essential value for bleisure travelers. The IT manager we spoke to told us, “When I go to European destinations like Madrid, I stay in hotels with free and fast Wi-Fi and work U.S. ET hours. This frees up my morning on Central European Time for exploring the city, cafes, etc., and as Madrid has a later nightlife, I still have time for dinner after work. Without early check-in, this would be more difficult. And thanks to late checkouts due to hotel [elite] status, I can often put in 8 hours at a hotel on the day of departure and then fly home or onwards to another destination for some additional time off. That certainly helps, too.”

The Future of Bleisure Travel Rewards

Mr. Johnson looks at these types of perks from the eyes of an event planner, floating the possibility that hotels could further reward business travelers that tack on additional leisure days after meetings and events. “I’d love to see hotel properties get creative with how they reward and incentivize business and bleisure travel, especially for meetings and incentives attendees,” he said.

And we’re hoping to see the same. We think that beyond just a variety of amenities, hotel loyalty programs should incentivize business travelers with discounts, additional points, and perks, encouraging them to become bleisure travelers, which is a win-win for everyone.

Bleisure Travelers Should Stay at These Hotels

A woman works
Hotels that offer co-working spaces are ideal for bleisure travelers and digital nomads. Image Credit: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

Obviously, you can’t always pick where your company is hosting a business trip, meeting, or corporate retreat. But if you have any say in the matter or are able to work remotely, consider these hotel brands, which offer amenities and perks to bleisure travelers, digital nomads, and remote workers. Likewise, meeting planners and corporations should take note of which hotels are catering their offerings toward bleisure travelers.

Hyatt Hotels

Hyatt’s Work from Hyatt program offers hotel rooms for daily work use, but bleisure travelers should perhaps consider its Great Relocate program, ideal for digital nomads and remote workers who want to combine working with a vacation for a period longer than 29 days. Find this program in 125+ hotels throughout Africa, Europe, India, and the Middle East, including popular destinations like Paris and Dubai. It offers perks like discounts on laundry services and complimentary boardroom access.

Hot Tip:

Loyal to Hyatt? Get The World of Hyatt Credit Card to earn bonus points on Hyatt hotel stays.

Crowne Plaza Hotels

Crowne Plaza’s Plaza Workspaces are hybrid spaces designed to adapt to whatever a bleisure travel needs, from co-working and collaboration spaces to large meeting rooms. Find them at Crowne Plaza locations in cities including Atlanta and Los Angeles.

Arlo Hotels

This trendy boutique chain has business offerings like cool co-working spaces and rooftop bars for when you’re ready for an after-work drink or weekend hangout spot. Booking an Arlo Means Business stay means you’ll get 40% off the best available rate, waived urban fees, and late checkout when available. Arlo properties are located in Chicago, Miami, and New York.

How Home Rentals Can (And Already Are) Catering to Bleisure Travelers

Home rentals are also an easy way to combine meetings, remote work, or corporate travel of any kind with a leisure trip. They’re especially ideal for longer trips or for anyone who wants to work remotely but also take time off for a vacation, too.

How Bleisure Travelers Can Maximize Home Rentals

Websites like Airbnb have filter options like “dedicated workspace,” and you can also filter for any leisure amenities you’d like to have from pools to BBQ grills and more.

Airbnb Filter Options
Airbnb allows users to filter searches by amenities useful to bleisure travelers. Image Credit: Airbnb

Some vacation rentals also offer long-term discounts for week or month-long stays that can make them more affordable for bleisure travelers. Some may even have multiple work areas, relaxing outdoor spaces, or office supplies, or are kid- and pet-friendly so you can take the whole family along. VRBO allows users to filter properties by “family-friendly,” ideal for bleisure travelers who want amenities for the kids like high chairs, cribs, play areas, etc.

Hot Tip:

It’s always a good idea to read reviews and see what people say about working remotely at a given property. Message the host to check the Wi-Fi speeds, too!

One senior marketing executive at a New York City-based media agency told us he loved a recent bleisure trip to Mexico, thanks to an incredible rental he was able to find. He was there for almost 4 months, working during the week and taking long weekends to relax, unwind, and discover more about the local culture. “The most important amenities to me were speedy Wi-Fi and organizing with the host to have a weekly cleaner, with whom I was able to chat and practice my Spanish. It felt like home and was the perfect place to decompress and have a vacation after long work days,” he said.

How Rental Property Hosts Can Cater to Bleisure Travelers

If you’re a host, make sure to update your listing and explain why it’s a great fit for business or bleisure travelers, take photos that accurately reflect workspaces (extra points for Zoom-friendly backgrounds) and leisure amenities, and offer discounts for longer stays. You can even include words like “leisure,” “business,” “digital nomad,” or “remote work” in the description. Extra amenities, such as complimentary office supplies or well-stocked kitchens, can go a long way, too.

What To Pack for a Bleisure Trip

Every bleisure trip is different, of course, but it’s best to pack day-to-night pieces that can work for both a meeting and a leisure activity, like dinner or a stroll around town. Obviously, weather and destination are both big factors when it comes to packing, but packing layers is a good idea, as well as pieces that can pull double duty. A mix-and-match capsule wardrobe that works for a variety of occasions and situations is key.

When in doubt, make sure you concentrate on business wear because it’s a lot easier to pick up a swimsuit coverup or sunglasses at the hotel gift shop or in town than it is to find a perfectly tailored suit. Don’t forget any gear you’ll need for work, like a mouse, chargers, microphone, headphones, etc., and throw in your favorite vacation items, too, like that beloved baseball cap and a good poolside read.

Final Thoughts

Items on a beach
You won’t regret taking a blissful beach day after a busy work trip. Image Credit: S’well via Unsplash

Bleisure travel is trending, and we don’t see it going anywhere anytime soon. As Ms. Chaulet put it, “Bleisure is much more convenient today,” and we couldn’t agree more. Take advantage of that company-funded plane ticket and add on a few vacation days after a business trip. You’ll likely return home a healthier and happier employee.

The information regarding The World of Hyatt Credit Card was independently collected by Upgraded Points and not provided nor reviewed by the issuer.

For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, click here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of bleisure?

Bleisure travel has numerous benefits. To start, it can benefit the traveler, because they can save money and time while having leisure and vacation time during a work or corporate trip. It also helps companies, as employees are happier and better rested after a bleisure trip. Finally, hotels can benefit from customers staying longer by adding additional days to a corporate trip, event, or meeting.

What is the concept of bleisure?

Bleisure is the combination of business and leisure travel. It refers to anyone that takes a work trip but also enjoys a vacation, too. Post-pandemic, bleisure travel has become very popular, as flexible work schedules make the concept easier to manifest.

What is the difference between workcation and bleisure?

A workcation isn’t as great as it sounds. It happens when you take a vacation but end up doing work. In contrast, a bleisure trip is taking a work trip and adding an element of vacation to it.

What does bleisure mean in tourism?

Bleisure is the combination of 2 types of travel: business and leisure. Bleisure travelers usually work or are in meetings during the day, but enjoy tourism during the vacation element of their trip.

Lori Zaino's image

About Lori Zaino

Lori is an intrepid traveler who loves creating itineraries that exude “luxe on a budget.” She’s written for CNN, NBC, The Infatuation, and more, and loves to muse about points-fueled trips to Sri Lanka, Sicily, and Myanmar.

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