Dear Yanni...Bleisure travel — what's the deal?
How to eloquently tack leisure travel onto business trips and subtly getting space from colleagues while on the road in this week's column.
I’m headed to Boston next month for a client visit, and my company has offered to let me fly to another destination before coming back home. I’d love to explore the East Coast a bit, but I don’t want to take advantage. Any advice?
- Wanderlusting in Washington
Ambitious traveler. I like. For anyone that’s worked for an employer that will let you bookend personal trips before/after/between business travel, you know how tempting it can be. This can be a great way to clock in miles to new destinations, or a slippery slope to exhaustion. There’s a happy medium to find.
- Consider distances. If you’re going to have a hectic week, just because you could technically fly yourself to Honolulu from Minneapolis, doesn’t mean you should. It could be nice to hop on a short flight or drive somewhere near to where you already are.
- Consider seasonality. If it’s winter and you can get yourself somewhere warm or to a ski destination, then why not? Likewise, if it’s summer and you’re in the South, it might be a bit much to hit up Miami in the midst of its muggiest and rainiest season. Best to put some destinations off for catching them during a more ideal time.
- Consider staying put. Weekends are for rest. If you are at the end of or between client weeks at a new destination, why not take the opportunity to see a place in weekend rather than in weekday mode? Just because you can pin a new city on your wall map, doesn’t mean you’ve really been there. Explore where locals spend a Saturday night, take in the art scene or a weekend farmers’ market. Perhaps even a “staycation” of sorts where you can sleep in and hit the spa is in order.
We are kindred spirits in an interest to explore more. And, if there’s anything I’ve learned as a road warrior, is that if you work hard, travel hard, one way or another you’ll have to rest harder and either your job or your love of travel will suffer. To have a chance to maximize travel is indeed a privilege, but it needn’t be an obligation.
My co-workers love to sit together on flights, but I’d rather use that time to get some work done or take some rest. I really like my co-workers, so I don’t want to offend anyone by sitting separately! How do I make sure I get my quiet time without being rude?
- Introvert in Illinois
I can relate. We all have varying ability to handle one-on-one time, and this can be tricky when it comes to coworkers. For some of us, flights are a great opportunity to get work done, mentally prepare for an important meeting or perhaps enjoy a reality tv show without rebuke. For others, it’s a great time to bond and build relationships with other coworkers. It is absolutely ok to use this time as your time, but managing the conversation of preserving your time can be a delicate dance.
Be honest. I’m often a headphones-in-the-corner, hiding-in-a-hoodie type of worker. It’s great to catch up with colleagues one-on-one, but it can be overwhelming if it’s all day long. I’ve taken the approach of letting folks know that I need to be in that bubble sometimes. This is ok. Barring this honesty, or if you genuinely want to watch the Housewives of anywhere, you can find other ways to keep yourself separated.
Be creative with seats. If you are on a flight and the last group of rows looks like it’ll be empty, why not suggest that you each try grabbing a seat in those rows in case you have a chance to spread out. That way everyone wins and you can get more figurative and literal space. Alternatively, if you have the flexibility to upgrade your seat then do so. “Oh, it looks like we’re not seated together, I must have been upgraded.” But try not to always do this, folks will catch on.
Meet people halfway. If you have concerns of expending all your abilities for extroversion/tolerance, yet you know your coworkers are super eager to to spend time buddying up, maybe offer up sharing rides to the airport and hang out at the gate/lounge. Then, when you go your separate ways on the aircraft, folks are less likely to feel you’ve given them the cold shoulder.
Traveling with coworkers can actually be a very rewarding experience and forming bonds and friendships outside of the traditional work environment is also an opportunity to work better together. That said, with the purpose of being mentally prepared for hitting the ground running or for your own needs to have some time apart, you absolutely reserve the right to find, and ask for, that space.