The "leisure bolt-on", where business travellers add extra days to their trip for personal holidays, is a long established and, thankfully, thriving phenomenon. Indeed, I remember fondly our own family holidays in Norway in the late 1960s, when each February my father spent several days in meetings in Oslo before we all joined him for a week's skiing.
Combining business with pleasure might have been a little unusual then, but it isn't now. Last year, Travelocity.com surveyed its UK customers and found that nearly 80 per cent of long-haul travellers, and almost 70 per cent of short-haul travellers, regularly add extra leisure days to business trips, with most of them flying on to another destination.
But these are planned extensions, typically combining business in New York, Shanghai or Milan with rest and relaxation in Miami, Hong Kong or Rome.
But what about taking a holiday within the business trip itself?
In real life, meetings don't tend to dovetail neatly in the diary. They are spread more like London buses. The gaps in an itinerary may be welcome opportunities to get some extra work done, but many of us now prefer to get out and enjoy the destination. Or, as Rod Cuthbert, CEO of online destination activity retailer Viator puts it, "business travellers know they've got to stop sometimes and smell the roses". The latest affiliates to offer Cuthbert's "white-label" tours, excursions and activities are British Airways and the Luton-based, business class airline, Silverjet, whose eastbound passengers can, for example, book tours of Tate Modern, pods on the London Eye and tea at Fortnum & Mason, while those heading for meetings in New York can pre-book Broadway shows, helicopter rides and harbour cruises.
Long gone are the days when these extra-curricular activities on business trips were viewed as guilty pleasures. Barclaycard Business's annual survey reveals a healthy 72 per cent of business travellers really enjoy business trips, with more than half saying that's because it gives them a chance to see the world and dip into new cultures. In fact, 15 per cent revealed they have organised a business trip specifically to see a particular destination.