Modern Life

The new job perk everyone wants: Bleisure travel

Millennials are piggybacking personal travel onto business trips, which saves them and their employers money while making travel goals more accessible.

By Garage Staff — May 17, 2018

Millennials are tweaking business travel for the better. By adding a few extra days to a work trip for personal exploration, this generation’s employees are minimizing the number of paid-time-off days they need to take and flights they need to pay for, making it easier to achieve their see-the-world dreams. The travel industry already has a name for this business-and-pleasure approach: bleisure.

Last year’s MMGY Global Survey found that 81 percent of millennials associate business travel with happiness and job satisfaction and that on average, they travel 7.7 times annually, outpacing all other age groups. And the corporate world is responding. American Express now offers its employees flexible corporate travel options after becoming one of the first business-travel management companies to form an official agreement with Airbnb in 2016.

“Now, when people travel for business, they want to travel as if they’re on vacation,” says Andrew Sheivachman, business-travel editor at global travel news site, Skift. “They want to stay at a place that suits their lifestyle.”

Courtesy of Local Adventurer

Filling the personalization gap

To suit consumers’ wishes for bespoke bleisure trips, startups and corporate acquisitions are racing to serve this growing demand. Now easier than ever for the do-it-yourself business traveler to manage every aspect of a bleisure trip.

Last year, Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline, launched the business-travel booking tool Upside. By working directly with employees and bypassing corporate trip managers, Upside aims to get business travelers to think like consumers. The website also features city-centric editorial content covering leisure activities that business travelers can check out in their free time, such as Denver's famous beer culture.

In 2016, corporate travel giant Concur acquired Hipmunk, a travel-search startup that simplifies business travel by integrating the user’s calendar and offering hotel options, viewable as a map, based on the user’s upcoming meeting times and locations. The site, which focuses on frequent travelers, also incorporates accommodation and transport options such as trains and Airbnb.

Deeper discounts and recruiting pull

The cost savings of bleisure travel extend to employers as well as employees. A 2017 report by the Global Business Travel Association found that 43 percent of business travelers of all ages take bleisure trips — and 82 percent of them stay at the same place for both the business and leisure portions of their travel. Extending a business trip can give employees access to the discounted hotel rates that are often available for longer stays. It also allows travelers to book cheaper flights by avoiding peak air-travel times.

“Now, when people travel for business, they want to travel as if they’re on vacation.”

Andrew Sheivachman, business-travel editor at Skift

Providing bleisure opportunities can make a company more appealing to job candidates as well. A 2017 report found that 45 percent of those surveyed cited the ability to book bleisure trips as a better work perk than traditional workplace benefits.

The crystal ice cave is one of the locations Jacob Fu and Esther JuLee of Local Adventurer suggest travelers visit while in Iceland.

Courtesy of Local Adventurer

The crystal ice cave is one of the locations Jacob Fu and Esther JuLee of Local Adventurer suggest travelers visit while in Iceland.

“My role involves extensive travel and overtime, so it’s important for me to work for a company that allows some flexibility around mixing business travel with a little leisure,” says Brie Jeffrey, 32, a project manager director at experiential agency SET Creative in New York, who recently combined work and leisure when she saw a live music show on a trip to San Francisco.

Tips for bleisure travelers

When it comes to making the most of bleisure trips, Sheivachman has some advice. “Fly early,” he says. “The later in the day you fly, the more likely you will be delayed. And flying early gives you more time to do what you want.” Before you go, research unique local experiences at your destination so you don’t waste time once you’re there, and choose accommodations that are close to the things you want to check out.

One site,, is dedicated to providing local tips for bleisure seekers. The married couple who run this travel-lifestyle blog, Jacob Fu and Esther JuLee, move to a new city each year to explore and aggregate their local finds, allowing readers to maximize the leisure portion of their work trips.  

“Plan according to your interest, not just what is popular,” says Fu. “If you’re excited about what you'll be doing then you’ll be more motivated to explore. We like to create a personal Google map with a list of things we’re interested in checking out in the city. That way if we have some free time, we can reference the map and see what's close by.”

“There’s really no good reason why you shouldn’t do more things you want to do while you’re on a business trip,” says Sheivachman. “As long as you get your work done.”


Before any travel, make sure your tech equipment is secure. Read advice from HP on working outside of the office and security.