Survey: Most Business Travelers Take Time Out for Fun

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ST. LOUIS—Frequent business travelers are taking time for fun and personal activities during their business trips, according to a new survey from National Car Rental. And, although most feel their break from work is well-deserved, many business travelers avoid telling their managers, co-workers, and even spouses.

The National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey asked 1,000 U.S. frequent business travelers about their travel habits. The results reveal that those who take regular business trips are successfully managing their work/life balance on the road–but many are keeping it to themselves. Overall, 80 percent of business travelers feel they deserve to take a break from work and make time for themselves during business trips. Yet 38 percent think they shouldn’t tell their bosses about fun and/or personal activities while traveling, 40 percent avoid telling co-workers; and 31 percent aren’t telling their spouses or significant others. One in four business travelers avoid posting on social media about fun times had while on the road.

But all the secrecy may be unwarranted, according to the survey results. Nearly all bosses and supervisors surveyed (92 percent) support their employees taking time out to enjoy themselves while traveling for business.


“Business travel may seem glamorous to some, but the reality of navigating airports, managing hectic meeting schedules, and sleeping in unfamiliar places can become tiresome and stressful over time,” says Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for National. “Our survey results showed not only are frequent business travelers finding ways to balance both business expectations and personal interests on the road, but that their bosses support them in doing so.”

In fact, striking that balance to make business travel more enjoyable has clear benefits, according to survey results. Despite the challenges, 92 percent of business travelers report feeling satisfied with their quality of life on the road. The majority (57 percent) report working more hours and 48 percent say they have more focus when traveling for business. In addition, 40 percent state they’re more efficient on the road and 51 percent stay calmer when they travel for business compared to their everyday lives. Further, 86 percent of business travelers report successfully managing their personal lives while on business travel. Eighty-three percent consider themselves “business travel pros” while 84 percent say they know how to make the most out of life while traveling for business.

The survey also showed that business travel isn’t slowing down among this group—a large majority of frequent business travelers report they’ll head out on as many or more business trips in 2018—with 90 percent planning to travel at least the same amount as last year or more. Male millennials (41 percent) and Gen-X females (36 percent) are the age groups most likely to travel more in 2018. Of those surveyed, 89 percent said that they are satisfied with the amount of business travel they do. Baby boomers (93 percent) were more satisfied with the number of business trips they take than millennials (89 percent) and Gen-X (86 percent). Boomers (94 percent) also reported being more satisfied with their quality of life on the road compared with Gen-X (90 percent).

Business Travelers Take Advantage of Loyalty Programs and Technology

Business travelers report loyalty programs are high on their list of tools that help them master the business travel game. Sixty-six percent say they are members of airline loyalty programs, 64 percent report say they are members of hotel loyalty programs, and 39 percent report membership in car rental loyalty programs.

Business travelers say smartphones and loyalty programs keep them more balanced and connected to their personal lives while on business trips (80 percent smartphones; 57 percent airline loyalty programs; 56 percent hotel loyalty programs; and 28 percent car rental loyalty programs).