Using your vacation days with “bleisure” travel

I read an article recently that said Americans don’t use 30% or more of their vacation days, and in 2016 that number was as high as 50%! While I definitely struggle some years to use all of my days, there is no way I would only use half. It’s a little late for this year, but next year we should all vow to use every single one of our vacation days.

For those of us who frequently travel for work, and easy way to to do this is by combining our business trips with our leisure trips, for so called “bleisure travel.” It makes sense, right? If you’re going somewhere cool for work you may as well stay a few extra days and get a fun vacation out of it. I’ve taken several combination trips, and here are the ways I make sure to get the most relaxation possible.

  1. Do the business first. This is certainly a matter of opinion, but for me all of the relaxation from a vacation is sucked away when you go from vacation straight into a work trip. Knowing you have to work can hang over your head, making the “off” days less “off”.
  2. Turn off your email. It’s hard, especially everyone has their email on their phone. But if you are checking your work email every five minutes, it’s going to be hard to get into the vacation groove.
  3. Have clear boundaries. If your family is going to be with you the entire time, including when you’re working, make sure they know that it’s just like home and when you’re working, you’re working. Just remember: it can be super sad to see your family going off to do fun stuff while you head to the office.
  4. Pack double duty items. Pack smart! Bring clothes that transition easily between work and play so you don’t have to pack a ton of extra stuff. In the summer, wear your fun tanks and camis under a cardigan for work. Pick dresses that can go with heels or sandals. And I know it’s hard, but try to limit your shoes!
  5. Don’t expect perfection. My experience has been that while combo trips can work, they take a lot more planning to be successful. This is doubly true if your family will be with you the whole time.

I definitely want you to use all of your vacation days! But just because you’re on a regular work trip, not a “bleisure” trip, doesn’t mean you can’t have any fun. Here are a couple of posts about making the best out of a few spare hours: my fun train adventure in Boston and exploring the city you’re in.

Readers, do you combine work and fun trips? What are your tips?


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