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Bleisure=Business + Pleasure Extend Your Business Trip During Covid-19

Tourism is big business in Italy. According to government statistics, more than 61 million people visit each year and spend 42 billion euros while enjoying Tuscan and Amalfi Coast scenery, historical locations like Pompeii, famous museums with world-renowned art, gondola rides in Venice, family-made limoncello in Sicily and opera in Milan.

While tourists from the EU, as well as countries like Canada, Australia and South Korea are more than welcome to visit Italy, well-heeled Americans, who accounted for between 5 and 6 million tourists in 2019, have been banned by the European Commission’s agreement of member states due to the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S.

However, Americans who need to visit for some essential businesses are able to enter Italy under the current EU rules.

It’s a perfect time for the entrance of bleisure – also known as bizcation – travel, a portmanteau describing the blending of business and pleasure into one trip.

For the past several years, bleisure travel has become more and more popular, especially with Millennials. As up-and-coming, forward-thinking companies increasingly hire distributed work forces, as job posts extol the virtue of working remotely as an important perk, the line between work and vacation has blurred, too.

The most basic reason to take advantage of these blended trips is obvious: The primary and expensive portions, airfare and accommodations, are already provided on the company’s dime for the duration of the business portion of a trip. In addition, many companies offer per diems or reimbursement for other things like dining or in-country transportation.

There is another, more subtle reason, though: Bleisure travelers report significantly higher satisfaction in their personal lives. According to National Car Rental’s 2019 State of Business Travel Survey, Boomers, GenXers and Millennials alike found tacking on days, a weekend or even a week to sightsee, take in local culture and physically rest during business trips positively affected their personal interaction with work/life balance. The numbers are startling: Bleisure travelers reported 93% satisfaction with their quality of life, while non-bleisure travelers only reported 75% satisfaction. There’s an even greater disparity between bleisure travelers and business-only travelers in terms of happiness with work/life balance – 87% versus 64%.

And, adding to the overall distinction between non-bleisure and bleisure travelers, the survey found that self-care like exercise and eating healthy foods, happened with much greater frequency for those pursuing some R&R while away on business trips.

This causes them to return home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to go back to working full-time with renewed energy and creativity, instead of exhausted by all work and no play.

Here are some important tips to make the most of your bleisure trip to Italy or elsewhere, no matter the length.

Look Ahead

If your company plans trips well in advance, or if you’re making use of educational time provided by your company and know when different conferences will be held for the year, plan accordingly.

Which place are you most interested in going? Are there things about it that intrigue you? Bucket list boxes to tick?

Also bear in mind – the further your business travel takes you and the more luxurious the accommodations and dining options, the higher value for you in terms of extending your stay for pleasure.

Can you choose an international conference? What about overseeing the opening of a new branch in another country? Will your company be sending someone to look over a new piece of equipment made overseas? If it’s open for discussion, volunteer to be the company representative.

You can also make a shorter business trip into a bleisure trip by looking ahead for holidays to build in more time for fun while taking fewer days of vacation. Adding a weekend before or after your business engagements is another opportunity to easily extend your trip without using up precious time off.

Expand

If a business destination isn’t someplace you’re particularly interested in visiting for pleasure, but it’s within a reasonable distance of a place you’d love to go, buy yourself a train ticket or reserve a rental car in advance.

As soon as meetings end or your responsibilities are over, head out right away. Have the car brought to your hotel so you won’t waste time trying to find the rental company. Take the first train out instead of staying another night. Make certain your hotel, hostel or pension knows you may be arriving late.

Bleisure trips are also the perfect opportunity to add friends or family to your party. You’ll still have to pay for plane tickets, food or tours, but your hotel is already paid for, so sharing with someone traveling with you is a smart idea.

Additionally, planning that special event during a bleisure trip will make memories that will last a lifetime – an amazing way to take what might be a boring series of paper presentations and business lunches and turn it into something truly special.

Be Smart

To make the most of your bleisure trip, ask the planning person at your company to schedule your flights as early or late as possible, whichever gives you the most time to play with. If you’re planning your own trip, get the most direct route available. Long layovers are wasting time you could spend enjoying yourself.

Finally, always ask for an upgrade. If you’re attending a large conference the hotel has likely prepared a block of rooms for attendees. Inevitably some of those rooms will be higher end than others, even if it’s as simple as an ocean view instead of a lovely panorama of the parking lot. Ask for a room on a high floor away from the elevator for as zen an experience as possible.

Regardless of whether you’re traveling from EU and Schengen Area countries or the U.S., extending your business trip to Italy during the coronavirus pandemic to include a hefty dose of pleasure is a possibility you can – and should! – consider.

Taols Luxury Travel can help you make the most of your bleisure trip to Italy.