Have you bleisured lately?  The latest trend to rock the travel world, bleisure involves extending business trips to include some sort of leisure activity (AKA turning a corporate trip into a vacation).  The estimated number of bleisure trips range from 20% to 43% of all corporate travel.  And why not?  One of the most expensive parts of any vacation is the airfare itself, so this is a great way to add a bit of relaxation to a trip your company is already paying for.

Liz pics

Personally, I love to travel. It provides perspective by exposing you to different ways of life, refreshes you for when you return to work, and is a great way to create memories and experiences that can last a lifetime. What better way to make the most of this than by enabling travel for others or marking it more attainable? That’s where I’d like to help. Here are some travel tips and tricks for you, as well as product ideas that will create connections between your brand and your audience that’s always on the move.

Researching & Booking Your Trip
Since you’ve got airfare out of the way, the next big expense is where you’re staying.  The first part of any good vacation experience is doing some research. First you should think about what you want to get out of your trip.  Are you planning to camp out in Central Park or would you rather shop your way through the Magnificent Mile?  Choose a hotel or vacation rental nearby so you’re in the best possible location to start each day.  And while you’re searching, see if there are any festivals or events going on, and be aware of any holidays.  If there’s a big event or celebration in the city, expect to pay premium prices.

Then it’s time to narrow down your accommodation options. There are several travel websites and lots of aggregator sites as well that help you check hotel prices across multiple websites at once. Honestly, if you do a search on Kayak or Trivago expect to find hotel prices that are similar (if not the exact same) across the board. Hotels control their own prices, so don’t be surprised if you find something like this:

Kayak Pricing

My suggestion?  Pick a couple sites (like Hotels.com, Booking.com, and AirBNB) and subscribe to their emails.  They’ll send you coupons, sales, destination and hotel ideas, AND by subscribing you get exclusive insider pricing (just click through the emails to the pages set up specifically for subscribers).  Another bonus – loyalty programs.  With Hotels.com you get one free night after you’ve collected 10 nights through booking on their site.  To take your bleisure trip to the next level, book your own corporate travel yourself and be sure to log into and book under your personal accounts.  You’ll accrue nights courtesy of both personal and business travel and find yourself the owner of a free night stay sooner than you think.

If you’re prone to procrastination, keep an eye out for promotions and daily deals which can be found on multiple travel sites.  Hotels drastically drop their rates in order to fill empty rooms, so use mobile apps like Hotel Tonight to find the best deals.  A little bit of research can turn a business trip into a dream vacation if you only know what to look for.

Hit the Road
To avoid costs, make the most of your carry-on bag and personal items. When packing, take the time to carefully consider your outfits – think less is more. Pack versatile apparel (something that works for professional and personal use) and stick to this for shoes too – pack something that can work for business, but is also comfortable enough to wear when you are wandering around the city later.  Bleisure outfits are ones that you can wear to your meetings and can easily be transformed into an evening outfit.  Why pack 10 outfits when you could pack 3 versatile options instead?  For best results, pack clothes that you can mix and match and roll up your clothes to minimize wrinkles and maximize space.

bleisure board

Now that you are packed and on your way to your destination, you need to be able to stay organized and know where you are going.  While traveling, feel free to embrace apps – these can be your new best friend.  Give TripIt a try to help you stay collected – it’ll compile your flight and accommodation information in one place and send you alerts so you know when and where to go (and it’s free).  For getting around town, Lyft and Uber are huge assets, in addition to any metro or transportation options the city itself may have.  And of course, explore new restaurants and things to do with Yelp and TripAdvisor, and enjoy your vacation!

Create Lasting Memories
Traveling connects us and can bring people and brands together.  These tips are great for anyone, but can also be rolled out on a larger scale to form a connection with fans of your brand.  Now that you are in the travel mindset, think of how you can help make traveling easier for your audience and employees.  Instead of giving them a polo with a huge logo, maybe opt for a subtly branded, trendy cardigan that they can wear out on the town later.  Or you could help your end user pack lightly by gifting them a travel organizer or a set of travel toiletries.

By making travel easier for your audience, and enabling them to create new memories and experiences, you are also making your brand that much more memorable.  If your audience is always on-the-go, help make their journey more comfortable with power banks so they can stay charged, cameras to record memories, collapsible water bottles (to make it through security but promote hydration), international converters, packing cubes, or travel pillows.  Browse these and other ideas that will bring you closer and deliver Brand Love moments.

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