All Work & No Play
A few days here and a few days there – but are you talking some real vacation time?
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