U.S. business travelers are known for being focused when it comes to work. But this year there is a noticeable shift in their priorities. While they still have their eye on business, they are taking more time to relax, get in some downtime and have some fun, according to a study by American Express Global Business Travel.
Business travelers reported traveling just as much, if not more, than last year, taking an average of seven business trips annually within the U.S. But not all stayed overnight — 35% of business travelers reported that they made more daytrips this year. When they did take longer trips though, two-thirds added vacation time onto the tail end of their stay to get in some rest and relaxation.
The in flight disconnect
While 35% of employers are willing to pay for in flight Wi-Fi, and 38% of business travelers are willing to pay for it themselves, 61% of respondents actually look forward to unplugging from work and the world while in the air, so they can decompress and take some time for themselves.
Only 23% said that they actually work during long flights, with 56% settle in to watch a movie or read a magazine or book. Flight time may be a great time to meet people and do some networking, but not for U.S. business travelers. Only 1% spend in-flight time chatting with passengers, according to the survey.
Health and fitness first
Business travelers are staying physically and emotionally fit by reducing travel stress. That means eating healthier and exercising more while on the road. Nearly half (44%) hit the gym at the hotel when traveling for business.
In the past business travel was seen as a prime time to have a few drinks and eat junk food. However, there are changes here too — 20% of business travelers said they were avoiding alcohol, and 41% are taking vitamins to keep their health on track.
Surviving and thriving while on the road
Traveling can have its ups and downs. The ups — hotel Wi-Fi, breakfast, and pre-boarding perks – all made travel more comfortable. Airfare upgrades, Wi-Fi and extra legroom came out on top if the employer was footing the bill. The downsides of flying included being seated behind a child, next to the bathroom, or sitting next to someone who hogs the armrest, talks too much or snores.
Yet with all the ups and downs that can go along with traveling, survival tips are pretty straightforward: travel light and relax tied for first place when respondents were asked to dispense advice.