I’ve been practicing the idea of Bonus Days on business travel for a couple of decades now. Here’s how it works.
You have an upcoming business trip, the business portion of the trip begins on Day X and ends on Day Y. You add another day to the trip, after Day Y, and schedule some outdoor activity for that day. It’s a great way to unwind after a week of meetings, or a conference, or whatever your business requirements happened to be. The great thing is that the majority of your personal expense is already covered by your company, and the additional expenses you will incur yourself are minimal compared to footing the bill yourself.
Where it Started
I’m sure I’m not the first one to come up with this idea, but here’s how it came to me. I was at an international dealer conference for the company I worked with. Three days of meetings and presentations along with social functions, requiring that I, and my co-workers, were on the clock from dawn until midnight. The conference was at a very nice resort on the Mexican Mayan Riviera. My wife came along for the trip, relaxed on the beach, or by the pool, with a cool drink by her side. Other spouses were along and they had a great time while I watched the palm tree sway in the breeze through the windows, made presentations, and lead dealer forums. The final night of the conference was the big awards gala. Next morning we packed up and headed to the airport, passing beach resort after beach resort. I realized that the company has paid my way, airfare being the biggest expense, and I paid them back working 18 hours a day. The next conference was already being planned, in a similar location, and I had a brand new plan. My wife and I added a couple extra days, at our expense, to the end of the trip the following year, went snorkeling, toured the Mayan ruins, and drank rum on the beach. It was the cheapest breach holiday ever.
Before or After
I know some people that have the same Bonus Day idea as I do, but they take the Bonus Day before the travel. Often when I travel I have a substantial amount of new material to develop or prepare, and every day/hour/minute of preparation is often needed, especially last minute changes and pre-meeting run through. This makes the idea of a Bonus Day more attractive, as it’s the prize after the hard work, it feels more like I have earned it at that point.
The Bonus Day Plan
Now the Bonus Day Plan is part of my regular travel routine. It’s not hard to find an outdoor experience near to where you are traveling. Here are a few examples of Bonus Days I have added:
- snorkeling at Turks and Caicos
- golfing in Scotland
- fly fishing for trout in Alberta
- Skiing in Ontario
- catamaran and snorkeling trip in Jamaica
- golfing and carousing in Vegas
- relax on the beach in Bahamas
- desert tour in Hummers in Phoenix
- mountain tail quad trip in Puerto Vallarta
- surfing in Hawaii
For all of these Bonus Days, the out of pocket expenses to my self have been limited to a hotel bill, meals, plus the cost of the activity itself. It has been a cheap way to do a few things that would otherwise cost me a few thousand dollars.
What is your Bonus Day Plan. Don’t you think you have earned it?