Business and leisure. Leisure and business. When it comes to travel, the two often become so inextricably linked it’s difficult to extract one from the other. A beach holiday goes belly up because of a changed deadline, or a winery tour is tacked on to the back of work trip; a familiar refrain which is fast-becoming the norm and one we’re not only accepting, but supporting. Enter “bleisure” travel; the theory of successfully blurring business travel and leisure travel.

In 2019, 69%* of Airbnb for Work bookings in Australia included at least one weekend day, highlighting our growing desire to maximise work trips. This could mean a quick day trip to Versailles to witness the extravagant hedonism of 17th Century French royalty, or a staycation in the English countryside to decompress after the anarchy of London. Either way, tagging a day or two (or even weeks if you’re an Australian who has travelled half way across the world for a single conference) is becoming standardised in business travel. And it’s predicted “bleisure” trips will only rise in 2020, with both employer and employee becoming increasingly receptive to bleisure.


Model Christy Turlington sightseeing in Italy, wearing navy-striped cotton pique dress by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. (Arthur Elgort/Conde Nast via Getty Images

I experienced the perks of a bleisure trip firsthand late last year. In Milan for work (the beautiful yet demanding beast that was Milan Fashion Week), I added a weekend to a) explore the city’s creative riches and b) indulge a little down time. With the Italian city so far from Sydney, it also seemed foolish not to enjoy a little cultural immersion following a 23-hour flight. 

But with the call of cannoli strong and the idea of gloriously refreshing Aperol Spritzes nigh, how was I to balance the two and still be productive professionally? How do you execute a blesuire trip to its utmost potential – getting the best of both worlds? Simple, you need a nest. A hub. A home. A sanctuary that is workspace by day and zen den night. Somewhere that cultivates diligence while all the while provides a place for late-night drinks with new friends. A loft in Navigli, Milan’s hip-hood by the canals, gave me this.

Booked via Airbnb for Work, the loft was the haven I required. With its high vaulted ceilings and lovely open-plan living, it facilitated all that I needed for both work and play. Quirky and off-kilter, its eclectic stylistic nuances were reflective of the city’s design DNA, something which proved inspiring for a weary creative (fashion week has the tendency of sucking the life right out of you) and chic for entertaining. But it also provided something else, the comfort – and sanity – of a home (something a hotel can often rarely provide).

While open plan, it’s bed “room” was slightly sectioned off; upstairs in an attic-like enclave that felt cosy and comfortable. But more impratly, it drew a distinction between work and play, and while the two can successfully coexist – a little line in the sand needs to be drawn for effective – and joyful – time of both.

As offices turn to co-share models and hot desking continues to rise, an apartment or loft like mine proves the perfect conduit for all your bleisure needs. For the culturally curious – be it expert gastronome or amateur artist – a bleisure trip appeases a longing desire to explore a new city or country or just take that much needed time to breathe. And because you’re culturally and personally satiated, your original purpose – to work – becomes much more tolerable, even enjoyable.

Mixing business with (p)leisure has never been so good.