Industry Market Trends

How Road Warriors are Traveling this Year

Apr 24, 2012

Business travelers are spending more on trips this year but are traveling less. Who will rack up the miles in 2012, and what are the tricks of the trade?

In December, data from professional services firm Deloitte indicated that approximately 85 percent of business travelers expected to take at least the same number of trips in 2012, if not more. Furthermore, in Deloitte's survey of 1,000 business travelers nationwide, 27 percent of respondents aged 18-44 anticipated taking more business trips this year, while only 16 percent of respondents aged 45 and older planned to take more trips in 2012.

Reflecting on 2011 travel activity, 81 percent of respondents anticipated traveling more last year than they had in 2010. Of those who traveled less in 2011, a sizable majority (64 percent) cited the recession as the primary reason, followed by job change (14.4 percent) and personal reasons (5.35 percent).

The Global Business Travel Association's (GBTA) latest Business Travel Quarterly Outlook-United States, released earlier this month, seems to contradict employees who anticipate more travel commitments, forecasting a 1 percent drop from 445 million trips in 2011 to 440.4 million in 2012.

Business travel spending, which rose from $234 billion in 2010 to $251 billion in 2011, is forecast to jump another 3.6 percent to $260 billion this year. GBTA executive director and COO Michael M. McCormick explained this trend as business travelers making the most of their time on the road.

"We're seeing road warriors taking fewer trips, but making the most of them, making more stops and spending more on the road," McCormick said in an announcement of this month's findings.

If you are among the majority of road warriors expecting more time on the open road (or in the sky) this year, here are some tips to keep from losing your luggage... or your sanity.

When it comes to bags, you should "ditch the trolley suitcase, which is always the first bag to be selected for 'gate check,'" David Lavenda, a product strategy executive, advises at Fast Company. "Rather, take two even-sized, soft-sided bags...One goes in the overhead bin and one goes under the seat. When the flight attendants look for bags to gate check, yours will be securely in the bin."

One of the most common pieces of advice is to pack light. No, lighter than that. No, even lighter than that. On the New York Times' You're the Boss blog, entrepreneur Tom Szaky explains that in racking up more than half a million miles in one year, he learned to pack as lightly as possible. "After careful consideration, I have been able to get my baggage for any length of business trip down to one medium-sized backpack small enough to put under the seat in front of me," he writes.

While traveling, it can be hard to stay updated without spending an arm and a leg. Consider using Skype, as it "allows you to connect to various Wi-Fi hot spots without signing up and paying the typical hot-spot fee," Szaky suggests. "Instead you pay a few cents per minute to Skype and you can upload and download emails quickly."

Finally, take care of yourself. Attempt to exercise during the day, see the sun if you can and try to adapt your sleep schedule to your destination's time zone by sleeping or staying awake on your flight. As road warrior Michael Hoffman of PricewaterhouseCoopers told the Wall Street Journal, technology helps you work any time at any place, "But you can't do it all."