Schools are letting out. Temperatures are rising. Summer is upon us. As a business traveler, your travel schedule isn’t slowing down, but you’re ready for a summer break, too. You might be wondering: Should I extend my next business trip into the weekend? Can my family tag along? Can I afford a few days of downtime without breaking the bank? The answer to all of these questions is yes—and here’s where we think you’ll get the most bang for your bleisure buck.
With airfare included in your business travel budget, the major expense of a bleisure trip is a hotel. A few days of relaxation call for treating yourself, but you don’t want to overspend either. So, when our friends at Hipmunk shared their list of US cities where you can find a 5-star hotel at a 3-star price, we took that as our cue for where to head.
Traveling to the Northeast? The region’s most affordable luxury destination to visit this summer is Washington, D.C. Luxury hotels in our nation’s capital average $339 per night. The average price for a 5-star hotel in the US? $431 per night—that’s a savings of $92/night.
Is a business trip taking you to the Sunshine State? Bring the family along and save on a hotel in cities like Celebration and Miami—luxury accomodations average $219 and $351 per night, respectively.
Other southern cities like New Orleans, Houston, San Antonio, and Atlanta also offer reasonable rates for 5-star digs. Hipmunk recommends that travelers book their accommodations two to four weeks prior to check-in. Outside of this booking window, prices climb—both before and after.
West Coast and Southwest
Travelers can parlay a business trip into a vacation on a budget in cities like San Diego, Palm Springs, and Napa. These California locales offer hotel rates for $329, $284, and $299 per night (on average), respectively.
Arizona-bound? Scottsdale ($369/night) and Sedona ($359/night) are great options, too. As is Las Vegas, with a night in a 5-star hotel costing just $250 on average.
Heading to Hawaii on business? Lucky you! Both Honolulu and Waikiki offer affordable luxury accommodations—5-star hotels average $355 and $241 per night, respectively.
Another way to make bleisure travel more affordable is to choose a destination where the exchange rate weighs in your favor. Thankfully, the US dollar is strong in a number of destinations around the world right now. Plus, Hipmunk dug into their historical flight data to determine which destinations are trending cheaper for year-over-year airfare prices. Here are 12 countries where your dollar will stretch further this summer.
When you think of vacation, does self-care immediately come to mind? Thanks to a strong conversion rate against the Hungarian forint, a visit to a Roman-era bathhouse is well within your travel budget.
Where else can you spend a few days of play in Europe? The dollar’s value is strengthening versus the Swedish krona and Danish krone—making this summer an apt time to visit either Scandinavian country.
Heading to Argentina on business this summer? You’re in luck. Argentina is one of the most affordable destinations for a bleisure trip. In 2015, the Argentine peso was significantly devalued, landing the country on many budget travel lists. A year later, the Argentine government removed the $160 reciprocity fee for US citizens and announced that foreigners would be able to receive a refund for the 21% VAT charged by hotels.
Business travelers can also extend a work trip into a budget-friendly vacation in countries like Mexico, Colombia, and Costa Rica.
A strong dollar makes Thailand an ideal international destination to visit in the summer months. Travelers heading to Thailand can expect to only pay a few dollars for a hotel—a discount compared to many of the country’s neighbors.
Other affordable destinations in Asia thanks to a strong US dollar? Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
Where do you plan to take a bleisure trip this summer? Tag your travel photos on Instagram with #tripitpic so we can follow along!
Note: Exchange rates were calculated at the time of publication. Rates and flight prices may fluctuate.