Travelling for work is one of those things that is exciting in theory but not-so-great in practice, especially for the trips where you spend a bunch of time flying to an exciting destination, only to spend the entire time indoors, staring at pale, windowless walls, drinking bad coffee and eating stale pastries, while talking about nothing but work. Although the work portion of a business trip can be exhausting and unfun, sometimes it’s possible to add on a few vacation days at the end so you can actually see the place that you spent all that time and effort getting to.
In the past, during my more carefree childless days, I tagged along with my husband to a workshop he taught in Malaysia and stayed an extra day or so when I’ve gone to conferences in San Antonio, Boston, San Francisco, and Santa Fe. The work-trip expenses were already accounted for, and paying for an extra night or two at the hotel was a relatively minor cost compared to what it would take to fly to these places on my own. The upside was that I got to see cities that I wouldn’t have otherwise visited on my own.
Adding on vacation to a work trip is on the rise
As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, hotels are seeing an uptick in reservations on Sundays and Thursdays, which suggests that business travellers are adding on an extra day to their trip. As per usual, people have come up with a name for this practice, settling on the (regrettably awful) name of “bleisure,” which is a mixture of “business” and “leisure.”
Although this practice is certainly nothing new, the increase in hybrid or work-from-home setups does mean that the distinction between work and home is blurred more than ever. Although “workcations” — where you spend your own money to go work in a fun destination so you can (in theory) enjoy the surroundings during evenings and weekends — are a total scam and one that should be avoided at all costs, a “bleisure,” on the other hand, can be a good idea, as long as it’s done appropriately.
Have a plan for combining work with vacation
If you are going to combine work with a vacation, there are a few things to keep in mind. As the Wall Street Journal advises, it’s important to clarify your employer’s policies before making plans to tack a vacation onto a work trip, and to make sure work expenses are clearly delineated from personal expenses. You also need to have a practical plan for making sure you are productive during the work portion of the trip.
If you are planning to bring your family along, you will also want to talk these details out with your partner. That includes describing what your work schedule will look like, as they’ll be the one wrangling the kids while you are working.
As the New York Times reported in a 2017 article, if you are planning to stay to an extra day or two, ask the hotel if they are willing to offer their corporate rate, which is often lower, for those extra days. As the Times advises, if done appropriately, it’s also possible to fit in a little bit of extra “vacation” in during the work portion of the trip by finding a popular local restaurant for dinner, spending your lunch hour walking around the city, or fitting in a sightseeing tour on your off-hours.