Disclosure: This post is sponsored National Car Rental, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.
When’s the best time to visit New Zealand? Whenever someone pays for you to come!
Back in November 2017, someone invited me to speak at a recruiting conference. As part of my compensation package, the organizers paid my airfare and travel expenses to Auckland. You can’t fly around the world without seeing a few sights, so I extended my visit for two weeks and explored the North and South Islands of New Zealand.
It’s common for business travelers to add leisure activities to business trips. It’s called “bleisure,” and according to the second annual National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, 90 percent of millennials have engaged in bleisure travel in the past year compared with 81 percent of Generation Xers and 80 percent of baby boomers.
Do You Bleisure?
Bleisure travel is common among millennials; however, it’s hot with business travelers of all ages. Those of us who blend business with leisure report having a higher satisfaction with our quality of life (93 percent vs. 75 percent of non-bleisure travelers) and better work/life balance (87 percent vs. 64 percent of non-bleisure travelers).
I bleisured the heck out of my trip to New Zealand!
I began in Auckland by renting a car and learning how to drive on the left-hand side of the road. I drove to Rotorua and walked through a volcanic park and soaked in hot springs that smelled like sulfur pools.
From there, I headed south to Lake Taupo, which is a gorgeous body of water with an adorable lakeside village nearby. After I watched the sunrise, I drove to a town called Napier. Decimated by an earthquake, they rebuilt it during the Art Deco era with lots of gold and ornate gilding. The whole town looks like The Great Gatsby meets Al Capone.
Millennials Bleisure More Than the Rest
Millennials lead the way in bleisure. Almost half (49 percent) of millennials say they’ve extended business travel into a leisure trip or scheduled a vacation around business travel to save on vacation costs.
I was born in 1975, which makes me a late Gen Xer, but I love the bleisure trend and try to bring my audience along on my work-related trips. While millennials are more likely to share photos of their bleisure travel experiences on social media (72 percent) compared to Gen Xers (60 percent) and baby boomers (41 percent), I’m an outlier and shared about 500 photos from that trip to New Zealand. In fact, this blog post proves I’m still bragging about my trip.
From that little Art Deco town, I caught a flight to Christchurch and kicked around the main city center for a day. An earthquake destroyed Christchurch in 2011, but there are signs of life all over that city. Because it was springtime, the roses were in bloom and the town was booming with birds and bees and tourists.
Tell Everybody About Bleisure
I left Christchurch and drove to Mt. Cook, which is the highest mountain in New Zealand. I stopped at beautiful towns like Fairlie—an Irish-looking settlement with lots of sheep and goats—and Lake Tekapo Village, which is a picturesque lakeside hamlet on the shores of stunning turquoise-colored Lake Tekapo. The sun was shining, the lupins were blooming, and the Southern Alps rose in the distance. It was a breathtaking drive.
I stayed at The Hermitage at Mt. Cook and had a baller room with a fabulous view. Not to rest on my laurels, I went on an excursion to see the Tasman Glacier. It was a bucket-list item attained.
I was shocked to learn millennial bleisure travelers (45 percent) feel they should avoid telling others about taking time for fun or personal activities while on a business trip compared to Gen Xers (40 percent) and baby boomers (30 percent). Millennials avoid telling their bosses (46 percent) and their families (41 percent).
Life’s too short not to at least have a little fun on your business trips. After all, you can emulate healthy adult behaviors and show people the real meaning of work-life balance.
Take a Trip, Embrace Bleisure
“Sightseeing” is the single most popular leisure activity among bleisure travelers (75 percent), and that rings true for me. I left Mt. Cook and drove to Queenstown on a route that’s famous for old mining towns, rivers, and bungee jumping localities.
From Queenstown, I went on an excursion to the Doubtful Sound. It’s in the center of New Zealand’s Fiordland National Park, and the long ride was worth the trip. It was a stunning day, not a cloud in the sky, and we saw six whales and a bunch of penguins. If you don’t think I didn’t blast that video on Instagram, you must be new around here.
Life for a road warrior can be challenging. The best way to make your work trips more exciting and entertaining? Get a little bleisure in your life and take pictures of your fun activities.
Ultimately, work-life balance comes down to choices. You might as well have a little fun if you have to travel, so channel your inner millennial and bleisure your way through your next work trip Make sure you tag me on the photos so I can see what you’re up to, too!
You can find out more about the National Car Rental Stats of Business Travel Survey here.
Visit the website to register for the National Car Rental Emerald Club to save on your next business trip.