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Business Travel: Who’s Mixing Leisure for Pleasure

Anyone who’s ever traveled for business can tell you that it’s nothing like traveling for pleasure. You may be in an exciting place, perhaps for the first time, but there’s no time for sightseeing. Your days, and often nights, are filled with work obligations.

So, it’s not surprising that many business travelers tack on some extra days at the end of their work trip in order to do some sightseeing. Indeed, these business travelers realize that giving themselves a chance to relax and unwind is more than a perk; it can be beneficial to the bottom line.

A new report from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) also finds support for bleisure travel – trips that mix business and leisure. In the GBTA survey, 37 percent of travelers from North America report that they’ve extended a business trip for leisure in the past year. Younger workers, who may be traveling widely for the first time, are even more likely to do so. Forty-eight percent of millennial travelers, in their 20s to early 30s, report combining business and leisure. Only 23 percent of baby boomers took a bleisure trip and 33 percent of those ages 36 to 54 did so. For travelers who don’t take a bleisure trip, 58 percent reported that they simply didn’t have the time.

According to the GBTA report, the average bleisure traveler takes seven work trips a year. When combining business and leisure, travelers extend their stay for an average of three days. They tend to work for larger companies, with an average of 950 employees, and 42 percent hold middle-management jobs. Additionally, 58 percent have children at home. Forty-four percent report that they travel with someone else for the vacation portion of their trip. The reasons they give for extending their trip include the desire to visit a location where they enjoy spending time, a chance to visit a new destination, as a way to take a cost-effective vacation and simply needing time away from home and work.

How do business travelers spend the leisure portion of their trip?

Most stay in or close to the city where they went for work, usually in the same hotel, even if they book the leisure portion separately. They take the time to be a tourist. That can include visiting museums and other cultural attractions or enjoying a meal at a restaurant they may have heard about. Depending on their interests, perhaps they’ll take in a sporting event, a concert or a show. They may spend time relaxing on the beach if there’s one nearby. If their trip coincides with a festival or cultural event, they may decide to take advantage of that opportunity and attend.

Next time you plan your next work, take a few extra days to explore. Your body, mind and soul will thank you later.

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