Millennial Business Travelers Are Rejecting Corporate Travel Policies

Millennial business travelers don’t care much for corporate travel policies, according to an article in Bloomberg Businessweek published today. Company-designed travel booking methods don’t seem to be clicking with the young professionals, who happen to make up the largest chunk of traveling employees for most companies. Since these workers are already spending so much time away from home and typically working in positions that are highly lucrative for companies, like sales, many companies seem hesitant to simply stop reimbursing employees for self-booked travel.

Part of the problem appears to be that internal booking systems aren’t “fun.” They don’t offer rewards or social interaction like many public booking sites or apps do. To address this growing problem while hopefully appeasing the millennial traveler, some companies are working toward developing more engaging and rewarding internal platforms for booking corporate reservations.

Business Travel Stress, Defined

Business travel stress is caused by a number of reasons. Just being out of the office can make communication and keeping up with ongoing projects a challenge. Some travelers cope well with the challenges of working on the road. Others, not so much. A recent survey by Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) polled more than 6,000 frequent business travelers from nine global corporations, and found that stress tends to fall into three categories.

Time lost when a traveler might be working but instead has to stand in a security line can add stress. Thinking “If I was in the office right now, I could be doing something productive” adds more stress.

Surprises caused by an unscheduled event that disrupts travel is another. Major storms with a cascading effect on airports not even in the affected area commonly add “Will I make my connection?” stress.

Routine breakers that cause an inability to stick to regularly scheduled home activities count too. Activities that are easy to do at home like exercising, watching television or surfing the web add stress when not done on the road.

The biggest stress factor of all? Lost Luggage.”Losing one’s baggage requires replacing the lost content, often in a short space of time. This presents multiple uncertainties under tight deadlines, which produced considerable stress,” Carlson Wagonlit Travel (CWT) said in an Executive Travel article.

Coming in at number two on the list of 33 possible stress triggers was being without an Internet connection, or having an unreliable one. Third place was having to fly in coach on a medium or long-haul trip, followed by flight delays, inconvenient arrival or departure times, having to stay in a low-category hotel, inconvenient hotel locations, and last-minute travel.

[Photo Credit: Flickr user Samuel Rönnqvist]

International Business Travel Tips, From Business Travelers

After posting our 10 Tips For International Business Travel, readers responded with some engaging comments. Chiming in with additional tips that work, their ideas for international business travel have an undeniable common sense. Based on their personal experience, with some lessons learned “the hard way,” readers shared not what they heard would be a good idea, but what they did that worked. Take a look and see if you agree.

Bring Local Currency With You
“Take foreign currencies with you,” advises Rosie in her comment, adding “In France, you cannot go to a bank to change dollars, you need to go to the Post Office, but they will NOT exchange $100 bills unless they have been verified as genuine by the French Banque de France. And this could take a minimum of 3 weeks. Apparently, a lot of fake $100 bills ‘manufactured’ in Russia have been floating about.”

Notify Credit Card Companies In Advance
Annie recommends, “notifying your credit card company(s) of your itinerary. Also if on a cruise notify them of the name of the line & where they bill from. My card co. did recognize the name of the billing co. & it was really annoying as the card co. doesn’t have 24/7 call service. Also check your medical insurance! Medicare participants especially need to check their supplemental as most only cover $10,000 out of the country (except emergencies in Canada).”

Scan Documents, Be Prepared, Know What To Do
“In addition to carrying copies of your documents and cards and leaving a set with family, scan copies to your email account,” commented reader brinniewales. “This helps considerably in case everything you are carrying is lost or stolen and/or no one is available at home to respond to your immediate needs. Internet cafes are available around the world, so those copies of documents and cards are just a few clicks away.

If your passport is lost or stolen, and if possible, check the government website to determine the requirements for a replacement passport before going to your embassy or consulate. You may be able to complete the form online and print a completed copy to submit. Photos are necessary so, if necessary (if not taken at the embassy), take the appropriate number (and size) of photos.”Have A Backup Plan and Know The Rules
Lou had a bunch of comments including, “Leave a complete list of the contents of your wallet and valuables home with someone who can immediately report these items to credit card companies, law enforcement, US Customs or insurance companies.

Business travel may require a VISA where tourist does not. Business travel laws and rules vary in most foreign countries. Also items you travel with may be considered for tariff. It’s smart to have a letter of invitation from [your] client stating your business.”

Better Than An App For That
“Here’s a good idea for protecting your valuables and keeping track of your iPhone, your iPad, your laptop and even your camera, keys, luggage and passport,” wrote Gordon. “Two years ago, I found Okoban and obtained tracker tags for a free global lost and found service. I put them on all of my valuables.”

It paid off in Rome. I left my passport at a restaurant at lunch. That afternoon, I received a text message from Okoban saying that my passport had been found. I did not even know it was missing.”

Know Your Cards And Don’t Assume
Hanky wanted us to know that he “just returned from Europe a few weeks ago, so my experience is fresh.

  • Be sure you have a credit card that can be used internationally, i.e. Citibank cards in the US are not used in Europe, call for the upgrade at least one month early and they will send a new card that can be used in all locations.
  • Be sure you call all your banks and credit/debit cards to tell them your travel dates, so they don’t reject a bill.
  • Be sure you take the appropriate electric converters, we stayed at the Ritz and even they did not (have any to loan)”

Share Your Story, Work The Maps
Reader Joy has multiple suggestions too, advising:

  • Give someone at ‘home’ your complete itinerary, and numbers where you maybe found.
  • Take foreign money with you, and be ready upon landing to get where you need to be.
  • Do not assume anything, so be prepared. Maps help too. (show and tell cab drivers).
  • Take all medicines with you, in your possession, and not in luggage.

Thanks to all who commented, these are great tips we think others can use too. You lived and learned and we benefit. See more comments at “10 Tips For International Business Travel” or add yours here.

[Flickr photo by _tar0_]

Staying Stylish On The Road: Ideas For The Female Business Traveler

It’s not always easy to stay stylish while traveling for business, but today’s more casual work environments have made it easier than ever for women to put fashion first. Our favorites, below, outline pieces that work from the airplane to the boardroom to a night out at a local bar.

  • The iPad case, in neutral silver, is basic enough to carry into a meeting but pops up into an elevated desk for working on the plane.
  • The neutral pendant, like this one from David Yurman, can be worn long or short. A notable “name” piece, this pendant is stylish without being overpowering or logo-heavy, and the bright green adds a pop of color.
  • The makeup items are part of our travel musts – a shellac manicure costs about 1.5 times the price of a normal polish but lasts for two weeks without chips. A “chubby stick,” like this one by Clinique, is a steal at $16 and doubles as both a blush and creamy gloss – the perfect multi-tasking makeup.
  • The White + Warren travel wrap and slipper set is great for the plane or the hotel room. We love the added style kick of leopard print, but it looks great in neutrals too, and folds small into our bags.
  • A leather jacket is a fall must-have, and can take the place of a blazer in many office settings. Even better? It never gets wrinkled.
  • Cropped black pants are a woman’s best friend. Endlessly chic, they can be paired with flats or heels for a day or evening look. This pair from Zara is stylish and affordable.
  • We love a great white blouse, and this tunic style from Vince is ideal for weekend or work wear. Tuck into the pants during the day or leave untucked with heels for a sexy menswear look at night.
  • A stylish work bag that holds your laptop and travel accessories is a must. We prefer something large and neutral that offers the option of over-the-shoulder or cross-body carrying. When traveling for business, we prefer to avoid logos, so this Anya Hindmarch tote is one of our must-haves.
  • These Prada flats in a fall must-have metallic are stylish yet business-friendly (but also come in black). Pair with the white and black outfit shown for a “pop” of color. You can walk through airport terminals galore without worrying about sore feet.
  • We don’t know how we survived pre Clarasonic. This skincare system (pair with your own face wash) ensures we keep our faces clean and exfoliated while on the go, preventing dry, listless “I’ve spent too much time in a plane” skin.
  • We love a great travel candle to make our hotel room smell like home. Just be careful to blow it out!
  • Save the mess of a perfume bottle with the Travalo atomizer, which allows you to pump your favorite scent into a tiny carry-on sized tube.
  • Our favorite handbag organizer doubles as a great travel makeup case. Although a bit pricey, this Inouis tote offers pockets for all of our accessories, plus a separate pouch where we often store jewelry or grab as a clutch for a night out.
  • Combat Balm is our ultimate for dry travel weary skin. Use it on hands, feet, or even (sparingly) on your face. It soothes nearly all skin ailments.
What are your travel must-haves?

How To Find The Best Food While On The Road For Business

Business travel tends to bring out the worst in a traveler’s eating habits. It happens for a variety of reasons. Most business district restaurants are built around the lives of 8 to 5 employees, crescendoing at the busy lunch hour and then buttoning up service at 6 or 7 when workers have gone home to their families. At the Comcast Center, where I occasionally work in Philadelphia, the underground food court is opulent and packed at 12:30 on a Tuesday. By 8 p.m. it’s a ghost town.

There’s also the mentality of being on the road for work. Out of one’s comfort zone it’s easier to splurge on meals that are more convenient or for special occasions. It also helps when someone else is paying. But the cost goes beyond the pocketbook – your health is also on the line.

We’re all frequent travelers at Gadling Labs, so we compiled our best tips for eating well on the road and put them into this handy list for business travelers.

1. Escape the room service blues. Wouldn’t you know it? Sitting Indian style in front the television isn’t the ideal posture for consuming your after-meeting engorgement. Moving over to the desk is a better approach, but an even healthier option is to get up, get out of your room and find your food. The exercise that you get on the way will do plenty to counteract the carbs that you’re about to consume. And you’ll probably find something better than what the room service is going to provide.2. App it up. Yelp is the number one resource for any business traveler who wants to eat healthy. Those stuck in central business districts may find that the only visible nearby options are big box franchises, with smaller, more thoughtful places scattered thin. A quick search on Yelp will show the best-ranked restaurants in the area and will give the traveler an idea of what sort of fare is best received. Tip: “Healthy Food” is actually a searchable genre.

3. Home cooked meals are always the best, because you know exactly what ingredients are going into them. Check out the components of this barbecue sauce (only three tablespoons of brown sugar!) and you’ll see what I mean. The problem, of course, is that it’s difficult to cook while on the road. You can get around much of that by finding a hotel with a kitchenette. Homewood Suites and Elements are two great brands that feature stoves and utensils in each room. Stop by the grocery store on your way home; pick up an onion, a zucchini and some pasta and you’re in business.

4. The grocery store is your friend. Even if you don’t have the time or resources to bring food back to your hotel, there are myriad opportunities to find ready-to-eat meals at your local grocery store. Most outlets have prepared meals made from their produce sections, and barring that option there are big-brand-curated meals. Just stay away from the salt-rich TV dinners and you’ll be in good shape. As an extra bonus, it’s also cheaper.

5. Talk to the locals – the real locals. Think your hotel concierge has the best take on dinner options? Maybe. Or maybe he’s going to send you to the same Hard Rock Cafe that the tourists go to – or to somewhere that gives him a cut. Real locals, the ones on the street, have the best opinion on nearby food; you just have to work up the guts to ask them. Take a hint from Gadling’s culinary czar David Farley and ask a cab driver.

[Flickr image via Hamed Saber]