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If you’re travelling abroad for business, it’s the perfect opportunity to take a bit of time for yourself by adding on a vacation day or two of pampering, exploring or adventure. Bleisure is a rising trend among business travellers – a 2018 survey found that 68% of respondents take at least one bleisure trip every year.
Here’s how to get the most out of mixing business with leisure.
Check with your boss first
Before you book anything, you should discuss your plans with your company. Some companies might have strict travel policies that prevent you from extending your business trip (boo), but usually there is some flexibility. Make clear exactly when your business time ends and your leisure time begins so that it’s clear what the company is paying for and what you’re buying out of your own pocket.
Put aside some travel money
It’s a good idea to create a little savings pot in advance to pay for your tacked-on trip. You could open a separate savings account, but there’s a much simpler way. With Starling Bank’s app, you can create a travel pot as a ‘Goal’ that’s separate from your current account, then you can flip any spare cash into it whenever you like.
Get creative with scheduling
If you have any leeway in the scheduling of your foreign business meetings, always arrange them for a Monday or Friday so that you can arrive early or leave late to enjoy a bit of sightseeing over the weekend. Alternatively, if you have several meetings or events in the same city – and a few holiday days in the bank – you could take a day off or two in between business to enjoy a bit of relaxation and explore your surroundings.
Extend your hotel stay for a discount
Often, hotels offer a discount for extended stays, so check with your travel department to see whether it’s possible to book the same room over the weekend. If it means saving money, they may well be all for it! And if your company gets a special corporate rate on hotel stays, you could see whether it’s possible to get the same rate for the leisure portion of your trip.
Get the best exchange rate
Avoid paying hefty commission on travel money if you can. Starling Bank doesn’t charge any fees for spending overseas, so there’s no cost added on for paying in euros. And any foreign-currency purchases made using a Starling Bank card are pegged to the Mastercard exchange rate, one of the most competitive rates around. You also won’t be charged for using cash machines abroad – although check that the cash machine operator isn’t charging a fee before you take out your money.
Check your travel insurance
Your company may well have a corporate travel insurance policy that covers business trips, but the lines get blurry when it comes to bleisure trips. Check with your travel manager to see exactly what is covered by the company’s insurance – you might well have to take out your own travel insurance for your leisure days abroad.
Bring a friend
Exploring a foreign city by yourself is fun, but it could be even more fun with a friend or two. You might be able to organise an extra room in your hotel at a cheaper rate if you’re staying there already – alternatively, you could always find a flat or house to rent via an online home-sharing website like Airbnb.
Lock your card if you lose it
There’s nothing worse than losing your debit card while abroad. Luckily, you can instantly stop any ne’er-do-wells from using your lost card by simply locking it with a single tap in the Starling Bank app. And the app has 24/7 customer support too, so that you can arrange a replacement card.
Check out nearby cities
Sometimes your business trips might take you to, well, some of the world’s less glamorous destinations. But there might be more-interesting cities nearby to explore – look into renting a car or getting a cheap domestic flight on your leisure days to explore further afield. You could always try to arrange your return flight from a more interesting city that you plan to explore over the weekend.