With summer in full swing, many travelers may plan to jump on the bleisure bandwagon in the coming weeks…and can you blame them? When the bleisure traveler walks out of their last meeting on Friday at 4pm, they’re not trucking to the airport or waiting in long security lines…instead, they’re getting ready to hit the town and start their weekend. Bleisure travel has skyrocketed in popularity over the last two years, and it’s clear that business travelers have grown tired of flying into a city for one meeting then jumping on the next flight home. Depending on your company’s travel policy, turning an otherwise stressful overnight into a bleisure trip by inviting your friends and family along can also help make travel more enjoyable (and more cost effective!). If a bleisure trip is on your agenda this summer, here are five of our favorite destinations for combining work and play.
1. London, England (or anywhere in the U.K.): With the recent news of the U.K. leaving the European Union, many are concerned about how this will impact their travel plans. Although time will tell, one thing is for sure: with the value of the British Pound dropping further than it has in 31 years, now is an excellent time to book travel to England. Travel options will be cheaper, and you may find yourself able to score a great deal right in the city even if you’re only staying for a couple of days. While there is a potential for peaceful protests and demonstrations due to the recent vote, travelers should expect minimal travel interruptions. London is full of things to do outdoors, regardless of the weather, including attending a performance at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, visiting Covent Garden or seeing a film at the Rooftop Film Club.
2. Paris, France: If you’re headed to Paris, Bastille Day is a can’t-miss event. Every July 14th, the French commemorate the day the citizens of Paris stormed the Bastille. Parisians celebrate with parades, dancing, music and food. If you’re arriving a few days too late, Paris is still the perfect bleisure destination. The city’s endless museums, gardens and restaurants are sure to keep you busy no matter how long you’re staying. Aside from typical attractions like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, some of Paris’s hidden gems include the Catacombes, the famous bookstore Shakespeare and Company, and the Père Lachaise Cemetery which is the gravesite to many notables including Oscar Wilde and Jim Morrison.
3. Oslo, Norway: Norway may not be top of mind when you think of vacation destinations, but as one of the top ten global business destinations, you may find yourself there for a business engagement in the near future. Oslo, the country’s capital, is filled with plenty of interesting attractions such as the Viking Ship Museum and the Vigeland Sculpture Park. If you’re looking to venture away from the city, consider the Bygdoy Peninsula which is only four miles from Oslo by public transport or car. It hosts some of the best tourist attractions, cultural destinations and a large, organic farm. The temperatures in Norway are mild in the summer months and typically range from the mid-50s and low-70s in July and August.
4. Toronto, Canada: Canada consistently ranks at the top of several categories when considering where to do international business, and it was named number one on the Forbes list of best countries for business.. Toronto is a huge tourist destination and an excellent place for a little bleisure time. Consider spending a few extra days exploring some of the top things to do in Toronto this summer, including catching a Blue Jays game, attending the Summerlicious Food Fest or seeing a concert or musical. Toronto also offers a CityPass which allows you to see several of the city’s top attractions at a discounted rate. Niagara Falls is also just under two hours away via car or train.
5. Shanghai, China: Shanghai is still considered the busiest destination in China for corporate travel and
in a new report, Shanghai was rated number six on the list of most appealing destinations for luxury retailers. What better way to unwind than to spend a few days shopping in the some of the most luxurious stores in the world? If you’re looking for something a little faster paced, take a ride on the world’s fastest train or enjoy a cruise down the Huangpu River before a walk down The Bund. The Bund is one of Shanghai’s must see attractions as it’s one of the most well-known architectural spots in the city. Things to do and see at the Bund include viewing the electronic waterfall clock, checking out the large skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower, and touring the Yu Garden.
Regardless of where business travel takes you this year, don’t discount the possibility of a bleisure trip. A few extra days away from work could be just what you need this summer! But before you depart, just make sure to check with your company’s HR and/or travel departments for clarification on what types of bleisure policies are in place such as who is financially and legally responsible for your traveling companions and establishing a clear distinction between business and personal expenses.