How to Get the Most Out of Bleisure Travel and Workcations

Megan Doyle

By Megan Doyle | American Express® Freelance Contributor
6 Min Read | August 03, 2022

How to Get the Most Out of Bleisure Travel and Workcations

Positive attitudes toward business travel experienced a double-digit surge from February to April 2022, according to research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), with responding companies saying they will return to 79% of their pre-pandemic spending levels by the end of 2023.[1] Contributing to this surge is a new era of workplace flexibility that allows business travel to take on more flexible forms – namely “bleisure” travel and “workcations,” both of which empower employees to get out and explore for themselves while fulfilling their professional responsibilities.

Whether called bleisure, workcation, bizcation, or another term invented tomorrow, travel that meaningfully blends work and play appears here to stay because it can benefit both businesses and their employees. Here’s an overview of what bleisure is, why it’s beneficial to workers and their companies, and what businesses can do to help ensure ideal work-from-anywhere experiences.


What Is Bleisure Travel?


Bleisure travel is a term used to describe a trip that fuses both business and leisure. Also known as blended travel, bleisure trips are typically business-focused but allot time for leisure activities, usually at the beginning or end of a business trip. A businessperson might attend conferences or sales meetings during the week, but take the weekend before or after to relax, go sightseeing, and enjoy the local culture.


Workcations tend to be the mirror image: personal travel experiences that incorporate some work. More specifically, flexible scheduling arrangements and work-from-home policies can enable employees to embark on a holiday while retaining a full-time (or, in some cases part-time) work schedule for the duration of their stay. An employee might bring their laptop on a week-long trip and intentionally carve out blocks of time to both get work done and see what the destination has to offer.


Though coined only a decade ago, in many ways bleisure travel is not new. With or without their organizations’ knowledge, many business travelers have always incorporated “play days” and other fun activities into their work-related trips. What’s different, today, is businesses’ growing endorsement of bleisure in recognition of the value it returns to them in the form of improved employee relations. And, with that acknowledgement, comes formal programs and guidelines.


The Benefits of Bleisure and Workcations


Bleisure travel and workcations can be an obvious win for many workers, as blended travel offers not only the opportunity for additional relaxation, but the ability to enjoy experiences that might not otherwise be readily available. In other words, business travel no longer needs to be strictly transactional; Good personal experiences during business travel can boost employee morale, cultivate a positive mindset, and be rejuvenating – and any modern business owner knows the importance of employee well-being.


Instead of rapidly transitioning from travel to business, bleisure allows employees to use weekends to decompress and enjoy the location they’re visiting. This additional time can help ensure their personal needs are met in addition to work needs, and ultimately gives them a chance to recharge their metaphorical mental and physical batteries. Similarly, workcations allow employees to enjoy an oft-needed change of scenery without using vacation days or putting work responsibilities on hold.


What’s more, permitting – and even promoting – bleisure trips and workcations can also encourage employee autonomy, which in turn can help build employer-employee trust. Besides improving an employee’s sense of well-being, bleisure and workcations can help increase job satisfaction, all of which ripples outward to positively influence employee retention and engagement.

How to Make the Most of Bleisure Travel


Bleisure trips and workcations can be somewhat of an art form. For employees and their companies to truly benefit, it’s important to set each trip up for success. The following tips can help businesses make sure they and their employees get the most out of every blended travel experience.


Make it easy to switch between business and leisure. While blended travel does blur the lines between business and pleasure, it can be helpful to keep work and play separate. For example, ensure workspace at the hotel or other rental lodging is optimal, from desk size and outlet access to Wi-Fi speed, and set clear scheduling expectations. When playtime comes, businesses can have a role in making it easier for employees to find things to do to bookend their trip. Curate itineraries or idea lists for different traveler types – foodies, outdoor enthusiasts, cultural connoisseurs – so employees don’t need to spend too much time researching opportunities.


Be transparent about what costs are and aren’t covered. For a traditional business trip, your company might consider flights, hotels, and meals as business expenses. But be clear about whether you’ll also cover any leisure expenses. Some companies choose to cover full bleisure trips as an employee reward or incentive; others have the employee cover costs on non-working days. Some employees might bring family along – will the business cover those costs, too? Create clear guidelines and enforce them for all employees.


Set expectations about responsibilities. Whether on a business trip or workcation, employees must set clear expectations with their colleagues and managers, and vice versa. For example, ensure employees know exactly what work must be done and by when. For workcations, if your company permits flexible schedules, it can be helpful to block out time for work and leisure – as long as everyone’s on the same page and all responsibilities are met.


Take advantage of credit cards and loyalty programs. A business credit card is an important tool for any business traveler. But the right travel card can help companies get more meaningful value from pure business trips, bleisure excursions, and workcations. The Marriott Bonvoy Business® American Express® Card, for example, offers cost-saving benefits for business owners, plus a potentially more enjoyable stay for employees. For example, Card Members can enjoy:

  • A 7% discount on standard rates for reservations of standard guest rooms at participating Marriott Bonvoy hotels, subject to availability and as long as you book directly through a Marriott channel. Terms and conditions apply.
  • Complimentary Gold Elite Status, which includes 2 p.m. late checkout when available, enhanced room upgrades upon check-in when available, complimentary enhanced internet, and more.
  • Ways to earn extra Marriott Bonvoy points, such as 6X Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on eligible purchases at participating hotels; 4X points at restaurants worldwide, U.S. gas stations, U.S. wireless telephone service providers, and U.S. shipping purchases; and 2X points for all other eligible purchases. Points can be redeemed toward stays at participating hotels, ultimately saving the business money.


Don’t consider bleisure tips and workcations a replacement for time off. Even with added leisure days to bookend a business trip, travel can be tiring. And workcations can be busy – especially if you plan to work full time and see the sights. Remember that blended travel isn’t a replacement for actual holidays. According to Expedia’s 2022 Vacation Deprivation Report, 61% of respondents who took at least one workcation in the past year said they don’t consider workcations to be “true” vacations.[2] In the same survey, 92% of respondents agreed that taking regular vacations is important for a person’s overall health and well-being. People still need time away from work, so blended business travel should be complimentary, not a substitute.


The Bottom Line

Bleisure trips, which add extra days at the beginning or end of a business trip, offer employees additional rest and relaxation before or after diving into work. Workcations promote additional work-life balance by allowing employees the chance to experience a change of scenery while still getting work done. Both can boost employee satisfaction and productivity, benefitting the company in the long run. A smart approach – from setting clear expectations and ensuring employees still get true vacation time, to taking advantage of business travel credit cards – can help companies ensure blended travel experiences that are rewarding on a personal and professional level.

Megan Doyle

Megan Doyle is a business technology writer and researcher whose work focuses on financial services and cross-cultural diversity and inclusion.


This content was written by a freelance author and commissioned and paid for by American Express. 

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