Business Travelers Like to Have Fun?

If you travel for business, you have your routine. Arrive at your destination; get your rental car; go to your hotel; go to your meeting; repeat… But do business travelers like to have fun? Business travel is just part of the job and a necessity. But if you are like me, even with the many hassles and challenges of travel, you like business travel.

In a recent National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey, some interesting findings emerged:

  • Ninety percent of business travelers plan to travel at least the same amount or more (63 percent will travel the same amount; 27 percent will travel more).
  • Business travelers say they work more hours (57 percent) and have more focus (48 percent) when they travel for business.
  • Ninety-two percent of business travelers are satisfied with their quality of life when traveling for business; 89 percent are satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.Aside from the business/work side of the survey, the desire for pursuing leisure activities while on a business trip also emerged in the survey. Most business travelers feel they deserve a break while on the road. And, most bosses (92 percent) support their travelers in taking time for leisure activities.

Aside from the business/work side of the survey, the desire for pursuing leisure activities while on a business trip also emerged in the survey. Most business travelers feel they deserve a break while on the road. And, most bosses (92 percent) support their travelers in taking time for leisure activities.

Again, if you’re like me, you’ve been to many destinations for business (think Las Vegas, Miami, Montreal, etc.). But have you really experienced those destinations? If not, it’s high time to loosen up and enjoy yourself. Chances are you’ll have a bit of free time during your trip. So why not get out of the hotel room and explore the area? Break your travel routine and change up your next business trip.

With proper planning, business travel can be enjoyable and it offers a perfect opportunity to explore a new city. Here are some travel tips to consider when planning your next business trip:

  • Always take advantage of loyalty programs. Airline loyalty gets you preferred status, free baggage, lounge access and more. Hotel loyalty means nicer rooms and other benefits. Car rental loyalty provides “frequent renter” programs. National’s Emerald Club is among the best and gives you counter bypass, your choice of car, rewards, Drop & Go service, e-receipts, etc.
  • Get ready for security screening. The more you travel, the more routine it should be. As you walk up to security, have your boarding pass ready (on phone or paper). Keep your laptop easily accessible to pull out and place in its own bin. Take off your jacket and place your other personal items in bins. Keep “travel only” socks handy if you are asked to remove your shoes (so you don’t have to walk barefoot on dirty floors). A simple and repeatable routine makes security a breeze.
  • Forget about expensive, noise-canceling, big headphones. Get some noise cancelling ear buds. They’re cheap, compact, takeoff- and landing-friendly (non-electronic), and you can sleep comfortably wearing them. They’re also easy to wear at the gym and on a walk.
  • Traveler technology exists to enhance the traveler experience. Within your company’s travel program, advanced technology is available in real time and may include Travel Alerts (travel disruptions), Flight Tracker (flight change notifications) and e-Travel Tracker (traveler tracking/security). Use technology, i.e. apps, to explore your destination. Top recommendations include city guides like Headout and Guides by Lonely Planet; Open Table for restaurants; and Detour for audio walks.
  • Stay active while away. Ask your concierge for a recommended running route to explore the city in a new way. If you are sitting in meetings all day, head to the hotel’s fitness center or pool after work. Exercise relieves stress and leaves you energized. After your workout, you’ll be ready to enjoy your leisure time and explore the town.
National's Emerald Club aisle

Want to learn more? You can find more info about National’s survey here.

What’s your story? How do you enjoy life on the road? Please share your story on Twitter tagging @NationalPro and/or as a comment on this post below. And enjoy your trip!

I was compensated by National Car Rental for this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

(Written by Mark Crone for National Car Rental)

Food tripping across the U.S.: Sampling local delicacies from state to state

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Trying a destination’s local cuisine has always been one of those must-experience parts of traveling. Most frequent travelers recommend sampling your travel destination’s specialty dishes at least once. If you’re in Thailand, for example, you should give the Pad Thai a taste.

Have you ever considered, though, that you don’t need to travel to another country to try curious delicacies that you’d be hard pressed to find in your neighborhood? No, this isn’t about the local fare in places like Chinatown or Greektown. This is all about the U.S. and the sheer variety in local flavor that can be found from state to state.

The thing about traveling in the U.S. is that it’s relatively easy. If you’re seriously thinking about trying the many local delicacies that are being served in these United States, here’s a seven-state sampling taken from Lonely Planet’s complete 50-state list.

Alaska – Caribou steak started out as a part of the traditional Eskimo staple diet. Nowadays, you can order farmed caribou steaks from a number of restaurants in Anchorage. While you’re there, you might also want to try the reindeer burgers.

Maine – Lobster is the main dish in Maine. Fishing remains a large industry in Maine so it’s easy to find lobsters fresh from the sea. Lonely Planet recommends eating these “the way they’re meant to be eaten,” which means freshly boiled lobster served with hot clarified butter.

Minnesota – The state’s strong Nordic heritage shines through in lutefisk, an aged and lye-soaked whitefish dish. The lutefisk has a gelatinous texture and a strong, pungent odor. It’s an acquired taste, so there’s no shame in not being able to finish it all in one go.

Florida – Restaurants across South Florida usually offer key lime pie as a specialty. These pies, which are made from key lime juice, condensed milk, and a meringue topping, are an iconic Floridian dish.

Washington – If Maine is all about lobster, then Washington is salmon country. Fat sockeye salmon can be found in the rivers that crisscross the state, so they can usually be found on local tables and menus as well.

Hawaii – Spam musubi is a snack food that can be equated to Japan’s iconic sushi. Instead of fish, though, this Hawaiian specialty has grilled Spam on sushi rice wrapped in dried seaweed.

These six dishes are but a sampling of the many specialties that can be found across the entire U.S. If you plan on trying all of them, remember to pace yourself. There are 50 states, after all.