Written by Keamogetswe Pitsi
I just recently read a bit on bleisure, I was not fully conscious that I was partaking in this new travel trend. I have always wanted to see the places I read about in books when I was growing up, that is where my interest for travel began. I also realized that highly successful individuals, seemed to have some sort of international experience. I therefore knew that whatever organization I worked for, needed to be a global company, and also offer opportunities to travel and study or work abroad. In all my job interviews, I expressed this desire.
The opportunity I received, is a Global Program that is run by Volkswagen. I had chosen to travel to Germany, as I felt learning the language was important and would help me build relationships at the headquarter company for the progress of my career.
Bleisure is something that has always been around, I believe it was viewed more as a privilege for senior managers and executives. As a result many young black people are afraid to ask if they can extend their local/international trip, as it may be perceived in a negative way, even though there are company policies that would actually support your request. I was certainly afraid to ask on my first international business trip. On my second business trip however, I asked, and my request was granted as long as I made it to the airport for my company paid flight back to SA.
“You do not have to quit your job to see the world.”
Just plan to the best of your ability. Firstly, have a travel kitty box/savings so when the opportunity arises that you need to travel for business, you have sufficient or some funds set aside for leisure. Secondly, research if your company has sabbatical policies and how many months or years you are entitled to if you meet requirements, then you can plan for 1/2 years ahead to see the entire world.
The best advantage of bleisure :
All the technical stuff like visa applications and other requirements are paid and taken care of by the in house travel agency, all you have to do is let them know that you are extending and your flights and visas will be adjusted accordingly. You have access to travel expertise for free.
Traveling is a spiritual practice for me, so I rely on my intuition spirit to select my next location (I know it’s weird).
The reason why is that traveling is not about going to popular destinations, and people will advise you to go to places they enjoyed. I take this advice with caution, not enjoying a trip because it was never meant for you is an expensive mistake. Once I have decided on a place, I do research, like top 10 things to do there, ask advice from colleagues and friends. Once I am comfortable with all the information, I start planning using travel sights like Cheapflights and Airbnb.
Since I have been in Germany, I have learned of other affordable websites and transport providers like booking.com, RyanAir, Flixbus/Train.
I always plan my trips in splits of 3 days, based on intensity (number of things to do) and size of the place, I make it longer for beachy-places. Traveling can also be really affordable, befriend a local as soon as you arrive at the destination, and they are most likely to tell you the cheapest way to get around the city. Then you won’t have to pay for expensive taxi’s and tours.