The bleisure travel trend is growing at an astronomical rate, and shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, with research showing that bleisure travel helps to reduce stress, increase productivity at work, and improve mental health, this is a trend that may end up becoming the new normal.
Not familiar with the term ‘bleisure travel’?
It refers to combining leisure activities with a business trip, meaning really making the most of your business trip destination, rather than visiting it solely for work.
If you know that you need to plan a few business trips in the near future, here are 2020’s top six bleisure travel destinations.
With Tokyo recently being rated as the best bleisure destination in Asia, it seemed only fitting that the Japanese capital made first place on this list.
So, what exactly makes Tokyo so suitable for bleisure?
Well, when the bleisure study mentioned above was carried out, Tokyo came out top in a number of areas, including:
- Quality of international links
- Opportunity for cultural experiences
- Availability of consumer goods and services
- Culinary reputation
Bleisure travelers appreciate being able to immerse themselves in a new culture, and Tokyo really does provide this. The streets of Tokyo are sprinkled with multiple shrines and temples, and traditional art forms are abundant wherever you go, from origami to flower arranging to tea ceremonies, all of which bleisure travelers can easily take part in.
When it comes to food, Tokyo boasts around 226 restaurants with Michelin stars, which is more than any other city in the world. Whether you’re into fine dining or street food stalls, Tokyo has it all. Yes, you may have tasted everything from sushi to ramen to yakitori in your own country, but nothing quite compares to the authentic flavors you will experience when eating these iconic dishes in their homeland.
With more and more bleisure travelers now choosing to extend their business trips to spend more time in Tokyo, there are now hotels popping up that cater to this. Now, many travelers carry out the business portion of their trip at a more business-oriented hotel, before booking themselves in to somewhere more authentic and traditional for an extra couple of days.
Being the main business hub of the Middle East, Dubai receives millions of business travelers each year. Thanks to the city’s incredible selection of hotels, restaurants, attractions and sights, this is a fantastic destination for a bleisure adventure.
Chances are, the business portion of your trip is taking place in the city center, meaning that you can spend your evenings exploring some of Dubai’s most legendary landmarks, including:
- The Burj Khalifa – the tallest building in the world, with the world’s highest observation deck, giving you an amazing view of your surroundings
- The Dubai Fountains – the world’s largest choreographed fountain system that sits on a 30-acre man-made lake
- The Dubai Mall – the second-largest mall in the world, with more than 1200 stores, including several high end boutiques
- Kite Beach – one of the most popular beaches in the city, with large stretches of white sand and waters that reach 32 degrees Celsius
As you can see, many of Dubai’s attractions are worldwide record breakers, and there really is no denying that the city is full of glitz, glamor and bling.
However, what many business travelers don’t usually experience is the seclusion and isolation of the deserts that surround the city, along with the unique culture and heritage of the Bedouin people. This is something that greatly appeals to bleisure travelers, because it provides such a contrast to city life.
Desert safaris are always popular, especially with adrenaline-seekers who want to try their hand behind the wheel, navigating those precarious sand dunes. You could then spend the night at a Bedouin camp, enjoying a traditional meal.
The dunes are also ideal for quad biking and sand boarding, both being experiences that you will never forget.
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
The capital of the Netherlands, Amsterdam is nicknamed the “Venice of the North”, due to its ultra-elaborate canal system. The waterways definitely play a large role in adding to the city’s unique appeal, although its narrow gabled houses, artistic heritage, and complex history help with this too.
Amsterdam tends to be quite a popular destination for business travelers, and this is a city where you can really embrace the bleisure trend.
The best way to get around in Amsterdam?
Cycling. The city is home to more than 800,000 bicycles, meaning more bicycles than people! Cycling in Amsterdam is a way of life, thanks to the city’s naturally flat landscape and convenient network of cycle routes. Visitors can easily rent a bicycle for the day and then use this to explore every corner of the city. Since Amsterdam is a relatively compact city, you will still be able to see quite a bit, even if you only have a couple of days to spare.
Of course, a visit to Museumplein is a must. This is the cultural heart of the city, filled with impressive 19th century architecture, along with some of the finest museums in the world. A few must-sees include:
- The Van Gogh Museum
- The Stedelijk Museum
The summer months see Museumplein packed with open-air markets and exhibitions, along with a paddling pool for both children and adults. In the winter, the space turns into a large outdoor ice rink, making Museumplein perfect for a visit no matter the time of year.
If you enjoy shopping, then you will love the vast range of retail therapy that Amsterdam offers. You will find everything from high end luxury designer stores to vintage boutiques here. If you don’t have much time to spare, concentrate your shopping efforts around Hobbemastraat, which is home to some of the finest luxury brands in the city, including an OROGOLD store. Stop by for your skincare fix, whether you have been looking for some new products, need some advice, or want to enjoy a complimentary VIP treatment.
When it comes to business travel destinations in Australia, Sydney comes out on top, meaning that it only makes sense for some of those travelers to combine their business trips with a few leisure activities.
So, how exactly do you do this in Sydney?
Well, a visit to the beach is a must, since beaches are a firm part of the culture in Sydney. The beach you choose will likely depend on your exact location, with the area of Bondi and Manly being the most popular.
Bondi is home to the famous Bondi Beach – head further north to get away from the tourists. A short walk away is Gordon’s Bay, one of the best diving spots in the area, with its own underwater nature trail. However, Manly has plenty to offer too, with numerous beach and water sports, weekend markets, and beautiful views.
Of course, there is so much more to Sydney than just its beaches…
Everything from Sydney Tower to the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens are worthy of your time and attention, but make sure you also save time for a visit to the Blue Mountains. Whether you spend the day hiking, or simply taking in the natural beauty and diverse wildlife, the beauty of the Blue Mountains is something that definitely needs to be experienced.
San Diego, California
Home to several major attractions, miles of beautiful beaches and incredible weather, it should come as no surprise that San Diego is one of the most-loved bleisure destinations in the USA.
When it comes to city-based attractions, you’ve got plenty to choose from, including:
- The San Diego Harbor – where you will find public art, street performers, the oldest active sailing ship in the world, and Seaport Village
- La Jolla Cove – perfect for some water sports and bird watching
- Belmont Park – an amusement park with stunning views of the Pacific
- Balboa Park – in addition to housing the San Diego Zoo, this sprawling urban park also boasts 15 museums, landscaped gardens and so much more
- Old Town San Diego – the Old Town San Diego State Historic Park is believed to be the “birthplace of California”. With the very first European settlements in the state, this is the place to go to learn more about California’s fascinating history
Were you hoping to get away from the city for a bit?
A couple of hours drive north of San Diego will take you to the small mountain town of Julian. The town itself is an official California Historic Landmark, thanks to its gold-mining history. With guided tours of the old mines, pioneer store fronts and several historic sites, this is such a fascinating destination. Julian is also famous for its apple pies, due to its cold climate that makes it perfect for growing the most delicious varieties of the fruit. If you’re visiting in October, then you’ll be lucky enough to take part in the town’s Apple Festival.
The capital of the UK, as well as one of Europe’s major financial hubs, London has plenty to offer to the bleisure traveler. This is such a multicultural city with so much to see and do.
If your meetings are taking place in the heart of the city, then this means that you will have easy access to the River Thames. If a river cruise feels too touristy for you, simply take a stroll along the banks instead. From Big Ben to the Tower of London to Tower Bridge, some of London’s most iconic landmarks are situated along the river.
For many bleisure travelers, the idea of exploring a little further afield is extremely appealing. After all, if you’ve already spent several days in the city, then it only makes sense to spend those precious extra couple of days seeing what else the country has to offer. Fortunately, there are many destinations just a short distance from London that are perfect for a one or two night getaway:
- Stonehenge – this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site is believed to have once been a place of pagan worship. Stonehenge is located in Salisbury, which is also home to the Magna Carta and a cathedral with the tallest spire in the country
- Oxford – just about everybody has heard of Oxford, with this city boasting some world-class museums and truly incredible architecture
- Windsor – for those interested in British royalty, a visit to Windsor is a must. This is where you will find Windsor Castle, the weekend getaway for the Royal Family, complete with a special route through a few rooms that visitors are able to tour
- Bath – this Georgian city is famous for its Roman baths, which have been perfectly preserved. You will also find UNESCO World Heritage Sites, ancient Roman architecture and some of the best ale in the country here
- The New Forest – if you would prefer to experience some of England’s countryside, the New Forest is the place to go. With ancient woodlands, open moors, cliff top walks and herds of wild horses roaming the streets, this magical area will quickly steal your heart
Just about any business trip can be turned into bleisure experience, so long as you are willing to set aside the extra time needed to pursue a few leisure activities. Whether this means spending the early mornings and evenings exploring your surroundings, or extending your trip by a couple of days so that you can really check out everything on offer, bleisure really is the way forward when it comes to business travel in the future. After all, all work and no play is never fun!