All Work & No Play

A few days here and a few days there – but are you talk­ing some real va­ca­tion time?

Business Traveler (USA) - - TALKING POINT - — Dan Booth Ed­i­to­rial Di­rec­tor

Within the last five years or so, a new word has en­tered the lexicon of travel: bleisure. This un­for­tu­nate id­iomatic amal­gam blends two hereto­fore dis­tinct ideas – busi­ness and leisure – into one time- and letter-sav­ing con­trac­tion. It’s what we have come to call the prac­tice of tack­ing a few days’per­sonal time onto the end of a busi­ness trip. Pre­sum­ably the word‘bleisure’puts the‘b’(for busi­ness) ahead of‘leisure’be­cause the per­sonal days usu­ally come at the end of the busi­ness travel. Or it could just be be­cause ‘leisi­ness’is just too close to‘lazi­ness’for any­one’s com­fort.

When the word‘bleisure’was first bandied about in travel cir­cles, I thought it was just a ploy by hote­liers to mar­ket those high­va­cancy week­end nights, get­ting road war­riors who nor­mally de­part on Fri­day to stay through un­til Sun­day. How­ever now I find that no less au­gust a body than the Global Busi­ness Travel As­so­ci­a­tion has lent its im­pri­matur to the word in new re­search en­ti­tled Ex­tend­ing Busi­ness Travel into Leisure Time – Bleisure Study.

In fact ac­cord­ing to the sur­vey con­ducted by the GBTA Foun­da­tion, bleisure has be­come more than a word – it’s be­come a real thing; in the past year, the re­search found over one-third (37 per­cent) of North Amer­i­can busi­ness trav­el­ers ex­tended a work trip for leisure. Nearly half of Mil­len­ni­als (48 per­cent) did so, which was a much higher rate than Gen-X trav­el­ers (33 per­cent) and Baby Boomers (23 per­cent).

At first blush it may ap­pear the rea­son for the ris­ing pop­u­lar­ity of bleisure is cost-sav­ings – the idea of pig­gy­back­ing a lit­tle family va­ca­tion time onto a busi­ness trip. (Some­thing busi­ness trav­el­ers have re­ally been do­ing for years.) But the sur­vey, which was con­ducted in part­ner­ship with Hil­ton, found that cost was the pri­mary driver for only about a third of bleisure trav­el­ers (34 per­cent). The most com­mon rea­sons busi­ness trav­el­ers cited for tak­ing bleisure trips are to visit a destination where they like to spend their time (43 per­cent) or visit a new destination they wanted to see (38 per­cent).

How­ever there may be deeper ques­tions to pon­der in our search for the ideal break. We busi­ness trav­el­ers are a no­to­ri­ously im­pa­tient bunch; our work of­ten re­quires us to make sac­ri­fices of time and en­ergy just to ful­fill the mis­sion. So we set­tle for drive- thru meals on our way to the air­port, or se­lect our ho­tel lo­ca­tion based on con­ve­nience rather than com­fort. Could it be we are as im­pa­tient about our leisure time? Are we mis­tak­ing bleisure for real time away?

Brain sci­ence shows us it takes about a week to dis­con­nect from our worka­day world and truly start to re­lax and re­ju­ve­nate. Then we need some­thing like an­other week to get all the benefits of time off. So what do we hope to ac­com­plish for our­selves with these on­a­gain, off-again get­aways? Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big ad­vo­cate for travel, any­where, any­time and for prac­ti­cally any rea­son. And for busi­ness trav­el­ers to em­brace more of the world they ex­pe­ri­ence dur­ing their trips is al­ways a good thing. If we must travel for work, let’s also travel for life while we’re about it.

With the sum­mer upon us, pools and beaches are beck­on­ing and we want to fig­ure out how to make the most of the mo­ment. So by all means, take those long week­ends, visit old haunts, dis­cover new places and lever­age the time you spend on the road to the max. But don’t over­look the value of tak­ing that real time away ei­ther.

If you have the pa­tience for it. BT

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