Unless you’ve been living under a rock or traveling via wagon, you know that bleisure travel is on the rise.While travel of the business-leisure variety always gets chalked up to the increase in millennial travelers (afterall, 48% of bleisure travelers are between the ages of 22 and 35), there are some other illuminating factors as well. One of these is the fact that the average cost of airline tickets has decreased over the past three years, leading to more flights overall. Also, companies have taken notice that if they allow travelers to extend their trip by a couple days, the savings on airfare can be enormous.If you’ve been wanting to take a bleisure trip, but aren’t quite sure how to broach the subject, then read on. I’ll tell you what to say to your boss and how to say it.
- Bleisure travel, or extending travel for personal reasons, isn’t mentioned at all
- Bleisure travel is not allowed
- Bleisure travel is part of the company policy within specific guidelines (rare)
Most likely, your company travel policy doesn’t provide guidelines on bleisure, so it’s up to you to figure it out.If your company travel policy says it is not allowed, then your bleisure trip has ended before it’s even begun. You can attempt to figure out why it’s not allowed, but I wouldn’t suggest diving into trip itineraries any time soon.If your company doesn’t have an official stance on it, then it’s time to make a clear, professional request for your trip and spearhead bleisure travel for yourself and your colleagues.
- Business travel is exhausting and often bleeds into weekend "off-hours" with Friday returns or Sunday take offs. If taking an extra couple relaxation days will recharge you and make you a stronger asset upon return, your boss will understand.
- Bleisure travel is growing and will only continue to grow. Most companies want to be known as a great place to work and want to keep their employees happy.
- By extending your trip and covering your own costs on the additional days, you might even save your company money on airfare
- You have a long flight overseas (say 10, 15 or even 24 hours), but the time you’ll spend doing business on the ground is only a day or two. You’d like to extend your trip to make the travel experience less exhausting and make the most of it.
- You’re going to a city that you want to explore, and you have some vacation time that you would like to use.
- Your wedding anniversary falls during the business trip, and you’d like to bring your spouse with you and enjoy an extra couple of days in the city or surrounding areas.
- If you stay three extra days, the airfare cost for the company will be $400 less, so you might as well stay and enjoy a long weekend.
Those are examples to get you started. Unless your company is known to be bleisure-friendly, it’s very important to backup your request with a good reason.
- Transportation - Ask your boss to cover the departure and arrival flights only if the cost is very close to (or preferrably lower) than it would be if you didn’t extend the trip. Make it clear you’ll cover ground transportation during your off time.
- Lodging - Book lodging separately for the additional days. While this means you’ll have to switch hotels, it will reduce friction and confusion about cost-splitting. Long term, you might be able to work out other arrangements, but to bring bleisure to your company for the first time, keep all invoices separate.
- Food - Use your daily allowance or per diem during your business days, and cover your own costs during your vacation days. For reimbursement purposes, your boss will appreciate if you separate the work and leisure days rather than work half days.
Don’t just ask an open ended question about a bleisure trip. Instead, come prepared with a plan that your boss can’t say no to.
When you come back from your trip, up-play the business part and down-play the leisure part. If you come back and only talk about snorkeling, you might foster distrust around bleisure. Better to focus on the fact that the business objectives of the trip were met (side note: you had a great time).