When your job includes traveling to trade shows and conferences, it's not unusual to complain afterward that all you saw was the airport, the hotel and the convention center. But when you jump aboard the emerging trend of combining business and leisure travel, your horizons suddenly expand. No, it doesn't have to be called bleisure travel if that sounds weird to you. But you do need to plan ahead if you want to enjoy the benefit of vacation days tacked onto the end of your business trip before heading home again. To make the most of your time, try to stay in the same hotel room for the extra nights, and reserve a rental car to go exploring.
To get you started, here are bleisure trip ideas for three of the top convention cities in the country.
Hit the road early for a leisurely drive south to the famed golf resort town of French Lick, Indiana. Relax surrounded by opulent marble and gold-leaf décor in the French Lick Springs Hotel lobby. Have a hearty lunch in the historic 1875 Steakhouse overlooking scenic gardens, then try your luck at the casino gaming tables. Wander through the shops, boutiques and galleries downtown. And before you hit the road for the 2 1/2-hour trip back, make sure you catch a glimpse of the three pro golf courses beloved by some of the game's finest champions.
Trade the city's hustle and bustle for peace and quiet in the quaint New England seaside town of Rockport. Just an hour's drive away from Boston city limits you'll discover the beauty of windswept beaches, picturesque lighthouses on craggy cliffs and weathered, clapboard covered buildings in the village. Look for unique gifts in the little shops and enjoy the freshest seafood imaginable at one of the restaurants overlooking the water.
A 1 1/2-hour drive north in your rental car takes you from the capital city of country music to the rolling mountains and horse country of Kentucky. At the Kentucky Action Park & Jesse James Riding Stables, you'll definitely leave the business part of bleisure behind with a leisurely horseback ride through the rolling hills. If you need an adrenaline rush, try the zipline that carries you high over treetops at thrilling speeds. On the way back to Nashville, go underground on a guided tour of the Outlaw Caves where the notorious bad guy, Jesse James, once hid out with his gang among the awesome stalagtites and stalagmites.
Talk to a company like Aztec Rent A Car & Truck for more help with car rentals.