More travelers mixing business and pleasure

vacation photoDespite the economic crunch and indicators that business travel was slowing, Orbitz for Business reported today in its quarterly report that almost two thirds of business travelers are traveling as much or more than they have in past years, an increase over last quarter. The survey also picked up on an interesting trend in business travel that shows three fourths of businessmen and women mixing business and pleasure while traveling for work.

The survey found that close to 75% of business travelers have extended their trips to accommodate a vacation when traveling for work. In response to a separate question, over 40% of business travelers have taken someone with them on the trip without extending their stay. These numbers aren't surprising to me since this is how my wife and I have had almost every vacation since our honeymoon.

I started a new job just before we got married and between adjusting to life outside a dorm room and paying student loans we didn't have much cash left over for travel. Thankfully my first working year took me to West Virginia, Chicago and South Carolina for conferences and training. My wife accompanied me on two of these trips and our only out of pocket costs were for her meals, which let us do some cheap sightseeing and catching up with friends.

Last year when I attended a conference in San Antonio, My wife also came along and we added a few extra days to our trip with our only real cost being her plane ticket.

Employers stand to benefit from employees extending their business travel. For example, my employer saved money on my airline ticket, since we flew on "off" days and booked a cheaper hotel for the duration of the trip.

Another statistic which didn't surprise me but did humor me was that 35% of people said they have scheduled a work trip to a location they would like to vacation at! I'd like to think I haven't done this intentionally but I am guessing that subconsciously that's why I ended up in San Antonio rather than Des Moines. This trend also explains why half of my vendors are having their training sessions and conferences in Hawaii this year.

Like the other 79% of business travelers feeling the pressure to cut costs, I'll be doing my part to trim back travel expenses this year relying on day-trips and webinars to meet some of my needs. But I still plan to hit up at least one conference in person this year. I just have to figure out where my wife and I would like to go.


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