Let’s get one thing out of the way: It’s a silly name. It’s not the kind of word you want to say out loud. (Perhaps if you have a charming British accent you can pull it off; for the rest of us, it’s a stretch.)
That said, the merits of “Bleisure,” or the melding of business and leisure, are too good to ignore. The premise is simple: Somehow extend or expand your business trip to include the fun stuff. This can save you cash, unlock certain perks (subsidized sightseeing!), and transform a dreary work trip into an unforgettable vacation.
While the core idea isn’t new, happily, the Bleisure trend has nudged hotels to cater to both your work life and your life-life, such as the new boutique hotel in Atlanta, the Kimpton Shane. There you could visit Hartley’s Kitchen and Cocktails, for example, in either Work Mode (to power up with a coffee) or Play Mode (to unwind with a drink).
But don’t leave your Bleisure — we know, we know, the word is tough — to chance. Here are 7 ways to do it right:
1. Put the B before the Leisure
There’s a reason it’s called Bleisure, and not “Lusiness.” Frontload your work. Ideally knock out your to-dos first thing each morning, or stack the meetings in the first few days of your trip. Psychologically, you’ll be more relaxed, up for adventure, and primed for new experiences once you’ve done the nitty-gritty of your job — Broccoli before dessert.
2. Go easy on the Insta
If you’re connected with work colleagues on Instagram (or social media app d’jour), then think twice about posts that broadcast your bonus vacation. Even if it’s true that you did go to the conference and you did go to every work meeting — you really did! — the officey-parts won’t be seen on social, giving your coworkers the (wrong) impression that you were on vacation mode for the entire trip. Save these stolen moments for yourself.
3. Weave in the weekend
Basic? Perhaps, but this is foundational to the Bleisure concept. The easiest way to pull it off is to anchor your trip around a weekend, ideally wrapping up early on Friday and then soaking up your new surroundings, stress and guilt-free. (So if a conference runs from Tuesday to Thursday, for example, take Friday as a personal day. Worth it.)
4. Smuggle in a +1 (or 4)
Does your boss need to know if you’re in the company-comped room by yourself, or with a partner, or with a friend, or with a group of friends? None of their business, right? So bring a +1 or +4. The best way to take your mind off the company is by bringing your own company.
True, the very conceit of this trip is the blending of business and leisure. But once you’re actually at your destination? Try and keep them separate, even if that means short bursts of “micro-compartmentalization.” Let’s say you’re in a conference that ends at 5pm — great, give it your full focus, and then shift to Cultural Immersion Mode without any misgivings. (Bonus points for severing work email from your phone, even if just temporarily.)
6. Splurge with Purpose
If now is not the time to use the corporate credit card, when is? This is the real upside of Bleisure — the B can upgrade the Leisure. Pick the one splash restaurant that you would never visit on your own dime, for example, and use that for a client dinner. That rooftop bar with the stunning views and the stunning price of $24 cocktails? The drinks taste better when they’re free.
7. Puncture the business bubble
The odds are good that the business leg of your trip will be packed with stuffy lunches, convention halls, and the absolute safest activities that are designed to offend no one. [Yawn.] As a counterweight, speak with locals about their favorite cafes, restaurants, bars, and hidden gems. Escape to a different corner of the city. Take a long walk. Explore. Remember that the world is wider, and wilder, than any one business or business trip.