“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

That proverb has a lesser-known second phrase which dates back to 1825: “All play and no work makes Jack a mere toy.”

With so many people spending significant amounts of time away from home on business, family relationships can suffer. What if there was a way to bring the family along on a trip, build in some leisure time, and come back from the trip not only accomplishing your purpose but getting away as well? You can do that, and it’s called bleisure travel, a portmanteau of business + leisure. And it’s a great way to make business travel a little more enjoyable for you and your family.

Here are several ways to plan bleisure travel.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it's especially fun if you're near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

Bleisure travel can happen anywhere, but it’s especially fun if you’re near Orlando. This is the Geosphere at EPCOT.

If you’re going to a popular tourist area, say Orlando, for business, the company is paying for your airfare and your hotel. Why not take your family with you? If you do that, you’re already down there, and that’s one less airline ticket you’ll buy personally. Plus, the room is already paid for, regardless of who’s in it. (If the hotel charges more for more guests, you can personally pay the difference.)

If you don’t think you’ll be able to divide your attention between work and the family, arrange for them to arrive at the end of your scheduled business and extend your stay at the hotel over the weekend or the entire week. We’re not suggesting you bill the company for those extra days, but that’s one less logistic you have to think of when planning your time away with your family.

Those who are entrepreneurs or self-employed could write off part of the expenses related to the business travel even if the family is in tow. For example, if you are representing your company at a trade show, the miles you drive to that event and the lodging costs for the days that coincide with your work can both be expensed to your business, even while your family is off doing their own thing. While you may not be able to do everything the family does due to your obligations, you can capitalize on the fact that you can meet up with them at the end of the day to share meals and have some special experiences.

Another type of bleisure travel is the “busman’s holiday.” The Oxford Dictionary defines that as “a period of holiday or leisure time spent doing something similar to one’s normal occupation.” A professional writer who attends a writer’s conference, a contractor who takes a week off work to participate in a Habitat for Humanity building project, and a travel agent who goes on a cruise so they can share their firsthand knowledge of the experience with their clients are all choosing a busman’s holiday.

Have you ever taken a bleisure travel trip? Where did you go? What did you do for the vacation portion? Share some stories with us in the comments below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.


Photo credit: Erik Deckers (Used with permission)