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Business travelers will tell you traveling for work can get old. Between the exhausting flights and nights away from family and friends, it can be hard to think of business travel as a job benefit.
But more business travelers are tacking on leisure activities to business trips, according to recent data from the National Car Rental 2019 State of Business Travel Survey. About 50% of millennials are taking advantage of “bleisure” travel to add on a personal vacation.
Almost half of millennial bleisure travelers say saving on vacation costs is a major reason to extend business travel into a leisure trip. That’s compared to the 34% of non-millennials who cite saving money on travel as the major reason. People who extend their business trip into a vacation can save money on flights and hotels. As an added bonus, business travel can help people rack up points on their travel rewards cards if they can expense the costs. That means they can use the points for upgrades, flights and stays to make the personal portion of their trips even more affordable.
» Learn more: Shake up business travel by taking some “bleisure” time
These bleisure trips don’t have to be solo excursions either. The cost savings for the employee can make it more affordable to take a companion or even the entire family. A third of millennials bring their spouse along. Thirty-five percent of parents who’ve scheduled a vacation around business travel say one of the major reasons to do so is it’s less work than planning another trip.
The destination is a big factor
But it all depends on the destination. About 3 in 10 people say the destination of their work trip determines whether they’ll combine business and personal travel. That’s more than the number of people who say factors like the current workload or affordability determine their travel plans around work trips.
The destination probably helps make sightseeing one of the most popular activities among bleisure travelers. Three-quarters of bleisure travelers say they are getting out to visit local attractions, while 65% say they watch TV and 62% say they call or text with family.
Travelers often have to rely on their supervisors’ flexibility to make these bleisure trips happen. The 2019 State of Business Travel Survey found 51% of bosses who don’t participate in bleisure travel still encourage their employees to take time for themselves on business trips. However, 46% of bleisure travelers say telling their bosses about taking time for fun activities while traveling is a “no-go.”
Employers could help keep their employees happy by letting them take advantage of opportunities to pursue personal travel along with business travel. A vast majority, 93% of bleisure travelers, report satisfaction with their quality of life compared to only 75% of non-bleisure travelers.