I recently traveled to Mexico City for a business review meeting with one of our partners, Corporate Travel Services (CTS). This time, I invited my wife to join me so we could squeeze in a little vacation time. I was able to spend a day in meetings with CTS and added on a couple of days of vacation time for touring. This is the concept of ‘Bleisure’ – combining a business trip with some leisure time to improve employee satisfaction with business travel.
Who’s Doing Bleisure Travel?
According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), the average bleisure traveler takes seven work trips a year. When combining business and leisure, travelers extend their stay for an average of three days. They tend to work for larger companies, with an average of 950+ employees. Among these workers, 58% have children at home, and 44% report that they travel with someone else for the vacation portion of their trip. The reasons they cite for extending their business trip include the desire to visit a location where they enjoy spending time, a chance to visit a new destination – as a way to take a cost-effective vacation – and simply needing time away from home and work.
Advance Planning for Bleisure Time
Spending your free time in a new city or the surrounding area can be intimidating when you’ve never been there and don’t know which areas to avoid. When I realized that I’d be spending a few extra days in Mexico City, I reached out to a local expert, a highly recommended tour guide to help me put together an itinerary. Since I also wanted to impress my wife a bit, I splurged on a guided, private tour.
We commissioned a tour guide for his services for a couple of days at $250 a day. Our first day, he took us to one of the most sacred places in Mexico, the Teotihuacán pyramids. You learn things on a guided tour that give you the backdrop. It becomes an education when you hire a good tour guide. I felt like I was on a really rich vacation, but it was on a shoestring budget. It felt like you spent more than you did because the experience was so unique and tailored to us.
Exploring Mexico City
My belief is that Mexico City is best experienced by visiting small enclaves on the side streets. Spend a day in each section to really experience it. But you must seek local advice. On your own, you’ll be underwhelmed since no one is putting things into context for you. With our guide, we got reliable advice on where to go and he took us to places perfectly suited to our liking.
On the day I had to conduct meetings, my wife read a book and worked out at the hotel. When I returned at 3pm, we immediately went down to the Museo Frida Kahlo, also known as the Casa Azul (Blue House). It’s located in her former studio space that has been converted into museum. Guided visits are offered Tuesday to Friday by appointment only. For even more art and history of Mexico, spend a few hours in the world-famous Palacia de Bellas Artes (Fine Art Museum) or the Museo Nacional de Antropologia (National Anthropology Museum).
Mexico City is a cultural melting pot when it comes to food. Whether it’s in a fine dining restaurant, neighborhood café, or a simple street cart, Mexico’s capital city is the perfect place to sample traditional Antojitos or some of the world’s best Tacos al Pastor. Pastor means 'shepherd', and this simple, rustic taco dish contains spit-roasted strips of pork, onions, cilantro and pineapple served in a corn tortilla. At La Buena Barra, we dined on soft shell crab tacos and tasted the local delicacy, ant larva in mole. And the margaritas were off the charts. For a real show, visit the lively La Merced Market, where you can buy everything from an entire cow to crispy-fried crickets and grasshoppers.
When people travel a lot for work, there’s an opportunity to be successful both professionally and personally. Bleisure trips offer a way to intertwine the two. But you can’t do it alone. You need to employ the services of an expert. Travel Leaders Corporate can help guide you through it by putting you in touch with the right local experts and specialty tours to make the most of your limited time. For more on the benefits of bleisure travel, check out Bleisure Travel: What is it and how will it impact your travelers (and your bottom line).
Ready to speak with a corporate travel expert about how you can better manage your business travel? Get in touch with us to schedule a phone consultation that can help lower costs and improve employee productivity.