The 6 Best Destinations for mixing Business and Leisure

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If you use Uber, your favourite TV channel is Netflix, you rank Wi-Fi above food and shelter in life’s essentials, you’re thinking of starting a ‘go-fund-me’ for a house deposit, and you’re reading this on your phablet then you’ve probably also taken a bleisure trip.

Have your FOMO levels just reached ‘critical’? Bleisure or bizcation is the buzz word for tacking leisure time onto a business trip, and it’s the hottest trend in travel right now.

According to a 2014 survey, 46% of travellers say they add one or two leave days to work travel, and 54% bring along a spouse, partner or their kids. Millennial workers are the biggest advocates of bleisure trips, 94% said they’re important to the work/life balance equation.

But let’s face it, your boss is not sending you to a beach resort – it’s a business trip, you’ll be going to do business with other people in business suits in a business district. Boring!

Well maybe not, here are the 6 best destinations for mixing business and leisure.

Canberra – the roundabout capital of Australia.

Photo credit Getty/Markus Fischer / EyeEm

  • In defiance of its stuffy reputation Canberra has a thriving restaurant district – Manuka, and is great for shopping – Braddon.
  • The Old Bus Depot markets in Kingston are a weekend favourite.
  • Of course the place is teeming with galleries, exhibitions and museums. I dare you to leave the Australian War Memorial without shedding a tear for the young men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.
  • Run, cycle or walk around Lake Burley Griffin, and you have to take the kids to Questacon. Canberra also has the best coffee outside of Melbourne – apparently.

TID travel safety tip: One of the safest cities on Earth for tourists. Years ago it had a heroin problem, and there are concerns about the use of “ice”, but global terms this is small potatoes, just be aware.

Singapore – The Canberra of Southeast Asia, as someone once unkindly said – ok it was me, but I take it back!

Photo credit Getty/John Harper

The newest hot spot in town is Geylang, a still seedy red light district that is the antithesis of the “Raffles/Singapore sling/themed restaurant” visit. Check out Ben Groundwater’s first hand tale of his night out there. Great food, a thrilling and thriving bar and café scene with the added frisson of being located in the heart of the sex trade, what’s not to like?

TID travel safety tip: Do not use any illegal drugs, even “soft” recreational ones – penalties are harsh and severe.

Auckland – Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, say no more.

Photo credit Getty/Scott E Barbour

  • Your company’s travel manager has booked you into a hotel in the inner city/ CBD. Luckily the Viaduct Harbour is nearby, lots of waterfront dining and drinking. The more ‘edgy’ High Street and Vulcan Lane district is close by too.
  • A little further west and you’re in super-trendy Ponsonby and Herne Bay. This is Auckland’s bohemian hang out with all the best bars and restaurants.
  • Equally trendy and with chic Saturday morning shopping and night time bars, head to the CBD’s east into Parnell and Newmarket.
  • 3 hours drive away is the magnificent Coromandel Peninsula which is studded with beautiful beaches, hidden villages and stunning forest.
  • Fancy a drink, there are over 100 wineries in the Auckland region. You’ll need transport (don’t drink and drive) and about 3 days.

TID travel safety tip: The city area around the Sky Tower can be a bit dodgy after dark, keep your wits about you.

San Jose – Silicon Valley is home to the headquarters of 39 businesses on America’s Fortune 100 list. If you’re doing business with the giants like Adobe, Oracle, Ebay, and Apple or getting on at the ground floor with the thousands of start-ups, you’ll know the way to San Jose.

Photo credit Getty/Gonzalo Azumendi

  • Fortunately you’re only an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, but there’s a surprising amount of great stuff here… especially if you’re a tech geek.
  • Apple’s company store is a Mac fan’s dream. Intel has a museum too.
  • A little further afield, under 4 hours away, is Lake Tahoe which is great summer and winter for fun.
  • And iconic Yosemite national park is less than 3 hours due east. You’ll need at least 2 days to take in even a small part of the park’s grandeur.

TID travel safety tip: There are a surprising number of homeless people in California, and San Jose is no different. East San Jose, between Story, King and capitol is the roughest part of this generally safe city.

Frankfurt – This is a major business centre and also a major transport hub. Consequently it’s very multi-cultural and cosmopolitan. The CBD with it’s gleaming glass towers overlooking the river Main earns it the nickname Mainhattan.

Photo credit Getty/Doug Armand

  • On the other hand there’s Frankfurt’s Old Town (Altsadt) which is picture postcard perfect quaint Germany… if a little touristy. Still, everything will seem nicer after an apple-wine or two.
  • There are kilometres of pathways alongside the Main River, great for walking or biking.
  • The red light district has undergone a renaissance of late and it’s the go-to place for restaurants, bars and cocktail lounges. But you might not know they exist because mostly they’re hidden in courtyards or on the upper floors of buildings behind barely-marked doors. On the street it’s all sex shops, brothels and a bit down-and-out. Some find it a bit too gritty, but it’s worth the time.
  • But Frankfurt’s big secret is its huge electronic and house music culture. Some of the best clubs in Europe are here, and there are dozens to choose from to keep you dancing through to the early morning.

TID travel safety tip: The cocktail bars are great, but they are in the middle of a red light district. This is not a theme park, it is a working “working girls” area with all the usual risks.

Jakarta – A top spot to go and party with 30 million of your closest friends.

Yes, 30 million inhabitants in greater Jakarta, but this megapolis is a regional center for art, culture and innovation… the place is jumpin’! The trendiest district, where all the design crowd hang out is Kemang which is littered with art “spaces”, boutiques and collectives. You can even get a Melbourne-style coffee at Anomoli Coffee house.

Jakarta has an impressive nightlife, and the jewel in the crown is the Skye Bar. 56 floors up with a sweeping view of the city.

There’s a burgeoning middle-class in Jakarta and they like the finer things in life – join in and enjoy after that business meeting.

TID travel safety tip: Jakarta is occasionally subject to terror attack. The last one in January 2016 resulted in gun battles and explosions that killed 8 people. Be particularly vigilant around Christmas, New Year and other big holidays.


Travel Insurance Direct and World Nomads author Phil Sylvester offers insights and advice to keep our customers safe and informed when they travel. With 20 year’s experience, Phil has turned his journalist’s eye to the things that could take the fun out of your holiday, researching issues and destinations that keep you informed so you can travel with confidence. He is also co-host of The World Nomads Travel Podcast.


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