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More than 15% of journeys which are longer than 50 miles are business trips. This interesting statistic helps to show that professional and business travel is becoming increasingly more important. With major companies expanding into new, foreign markets and young people moving far away from home to find the best jobs and earn more money, business flights are now a very big part of the travel market.
Latest statistics available show that the current average one way distance for a normal business trip is over 120 miles. This applies to domestic trips within the USA, but today a large number of Americans travel to Europe, Asia and other parts of the world for business. In 2003, around 15% of all business travel was done by air, but today the amount of businessmen and women who travel by plane for business is even higher than it was at that time.
Interestingly, most business trips are made by men. More than 75% of all business travel is done by men between 30 and 50 years of age. The figure is gradually changing as more and more women travel for business too. Today, using the internet is an ideal way to save money and find cheap flight tickets and websites such as flights24 help people find the best prices.
Long distance travel is now so much easier thanks to online flight bookings and competition between leading airlines which often creates cheaper prices. Around 60% of all business flights are booked online, and this incredible figure is rising all the time. An interesting difference between business flights and vacation flights is that people book their vacation travel much longer in advance. Roughly 70% of business flights are booked less than 2 weeks before departure. A surprising 40% of business journeys are booked less than a week in advance.
Usually, the best advice is to book in advance and get cheaper prices. There are services which allow you to see how fares change over time, and while sometimes last minute deals can be cheaper this isn’t always the case so the best strategy will normally be careful planning and booking. Generally, if the business is paying for the flight people are a lot less worried about saving money than they are on their own family vacations.
– 48% of Safe Harbors’ respondents would book travel away from a bankrupt airline –
BALTIMORE, September 15, 2005 – An airline’s bankruptcy can send a significant portion of business travelers to other carriers, according to a recently completed Business Travelers Poll conducted by Safe Harbors Travel Group, a leading business travel management company.
The informal survey, which queried more than 6,200 visitors at www.SafeHarbors.com, asked “Would you book travel away from an airline because of bankruptcy?” Forty-eight percent of respondents answered “yes.” Safe Harbors’ website attracts mostly business travelers and travel managers.
“The results of the survey are a clear indication that airlines in bankruptcy face a very serious challenge with business travelers,” said Jay Ellenby, president and CEO of Safe Harbors Travel Group. “While there are always additional contributing factors to booking business travel, bankruptcy is clearly a major issue.”
“The poll results support what we hear regularly from clients,” added Ellenby. “Reliability is a critical concern of business travelers and travel managers. The uncertainty that bankruptcy adds to a travel purchase decision can easily tip-the-scales to another carrier. Business travelers are also protective of their frequent flyer benefits and want to accrue travel credits with more stable carriers. As a result, airlines already struggling with bankruptcy are compelled to spend even more on marketing and lower fares to attract and retain business travelers.”
The poll was concluded prior to the bankruptcy filings by Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines. “These are the third and fourth major airlines to declare bankruptcy since the attacks on September 11th, preceded by United Airlines and US Airways, leaving few alternatives for business travelers,” commented Ellenby. “The change in business traveler behavior is fairly predictable. However, while the long-term impact of the bankruptcies remains to be seen, at this time we are confident that there will be little or no impact on short-term travel itineraries. Recent good news from US Airways is raising hopes they will emerge from bankruptcy soon as another solid travel alternative.”
If you travel on a regular basis for business, you most likely have your own techniques when it comes to getting the best deals, packing the right clothes and getting through airport security quickly and easily. Still, there are some little-known tips and tricks that may come in handy when you travel for business, whether you’re traveling domestically or abroad. Here are five of the best little-known travel tips for business traveling.
1. Get up and move on long trips.
It’s commonly known as “Economy Class Syndrome”, but it happens to travelers in business and first class as well. Its technical name is deep vein thrombosis, a blood clot that develops in the legs and can travel to the lungs or the brain. Doctors believe that a combination of conditions contribute to the syndrome, including sitting in cramped conditions for 10 or more hours, low cabin pressure, low humidity and dehydration. You are especially at risk if you smoke, have high blood pressure, or have a history of cardiovascular problems.
Get up and walk up and down the aisle at least every two hours, and be sure to remain hydrated. Remember, coffee, tea and alcoholic beverages actually contribute to dehydration. Drink water and fruit juices instead. The best way to give you an extra advantage is to book an aisle seat with extra leg room.
2. Keep your eye on airline fees.
Save your company a bit of extra money by being aware of hidden airline fees. Shop around for the best rates and package deals if you need to rent a car or are traveling to multiple destinations. While boarding an airplane, keep your bags below 50 pounds.
3. Take full advantage of what your hotel offers.
When you are away from home you do not have your usual connections, your hotel can help you. Perhaps you need a printer at 2 am, or reservations for a business dinner at an appropriate restaurants. At home, you would know exactly where to go, but when you are traveling, you need answers from a reliable source. A business class hotel can provide these answers and more.
Most business travelers know whether their hotel offers high spend internet and wifi connections, but hotels that deal with business travelers often take those services to a far higher level. The front desk clerk or concierge will often go above and beyond to be sure that you have everything you need for your stay, from a replacing a cell phone charger to arranging pickup and delivery of important papers.
4. Make the most of layovers.
Your best case scenario may not include any layovers, but that’s not always possible. If you find yourself in a foreign airport with time to kill, make the most of it. Many airports around the world feature special lounges and amenities for frequent and business class flyers. You can take advantage of a hot shower, a massage or a nap; plug in to recharge your laptop and cell phone batteries; put your feet up in a massage recliner. Working out may not be an option, but a brisk walk between terminals can serve the same purpose – and get your blood flowing and your brain working again.
Not traveling business or first class? Many airports offer “pay per visit” access to the business/first class lounge that will still allow you access to all the amenities offered to business and first class travelers.
5. Pack smart for safety and comfort.
Spend as much time thinking about your safety as you do about packing the right tie or blouse. Keep a “go bag” ready to go with your current prescriptions, over the counter medications that you use frequently, your health insurance information and an abbreviated medical history. Pack your own amenities kit for the plane trip, too. Bring travel socks, eye shades, an inflatable pillow and mints, as well as travel size moisturizer, toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash.
Five Additional Quick Business Travel Tips:
1. If you travel to the same city frequently or for extended periods, look into corporate housing instead of hotel stays. The savings could add up in just a few trips.
2. When using a pay phone at the airport, avoid isolated or poorly lighted locations, and face outward while you’re on the phone.
3. Check to see if your credit card or personal insurance covers you while driving a rented car and save the expense of rental insurance.
4. Ask at airport check-in if there are exit row or bulkhead seats available. They’re usually the last ones assigned and there’s a good chance you’ll get a better seat without the cost of requesting a specific seat.
5. Be sure to keep a photocopy of your passport and ID back at the hotel. It will make things immensely easier in case of loss or theft.
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Summer is here and for many of us that means summer business trips. I love traveling for business. It usually means I’m on my way to speak at a seminar in a great location. But, my least favorite part about business trips is keeping track of all of my receipts.
I use to come home from a business trip and find my receipts in various places over the next several days (or weeks!). Some I would find in my wallet, others in my briefcase, more in my coat pocket, some in my car and with all of these, I was still missing receipts!
That was until I came up with my system for easy business travel recordkeeping. This system is so simple to use and it maximizes my business travel deductions.
Here’s how my system for easy business travel recordkeeping works:
Use the Convenience and Leverage of Email
When my airfare is booked, the airline sends me an email automatically that has all the information I need for my receipt. I forward that email to my bookkeeper immediately upon receipt. That takes care of the airfare receipt.
When I check out from my hotel, I request to have a copy of my bill emailed to me. I forward that email to my bookkeeper immediately upon receipt. That takes care of my hotel receipt.
With my airfare and hotel receipt, I have the receipts for the majority of my actual expenses. But most of the receipts from my travel come from the other expenses, like meals, cab fare, cash tips. Here is how I tackle those receipts.
Pack 2 Envelopes
Part of my packing for a business trip includes packing 2 envelopes in my carry on bag. The first envelope I label with my destination, travel dates and “Meals.” The other envelope I label with my destination, travel dates and “Other.” Any time I get a receipt from a meal, it goes in the “Meal” envelope. Any time I get any other receipt, I put it in the “Other” envelope. After my trip, I give the envelopes to my bookkeeper to record my travel expenses.
It’s such a simple system, but it works!
You may be wondering why I separate my meal receipts. There are 2 reasons I do this.
First, with my meal expenses separated, it makes it easier for my bookkeeper to code the expenses properly. My meal expenses are only 50% deductible, but the rest of my business travel is 100% deductible. Separating the two helps ensure that the expenses get coded to separate accounts so only my meals are subject to the 50% limit.
The second reason is so I can maximize my deductions. This is explained in Rule #3.
Use Per Diem
To maximize my business travel deductions, I separate my meal receipts AND I use a personal credit card or my personal cash to pay for all of meals while traveling. I do this because it is the easiest way to make sure I maximize my business travel deductions.
Here’s how I maximize my deduction:
When traveling on business, meal receipts are not required in order to deduct a meal expense. The IRS issues per diem rates for meals and these rates can be used for a meal deduction instead of the actual expense.
This means I can use either my actual meal expenses or I can use the per diem rates. Of course, I always pick the one that gives me the biggest deduction!
I have trained my bookkeeper to compare the total of my actual meal receipts to the per diem allowed. My bookkeeper then determines which provides the greater deduction and records that in my bookkeeping.
For example, if my meal receipts total to 5 and the per diem totals to 0, then I can legitimately deduct 0 for meals. This is one of my favorite strategies because I have increased my business deductions without spending any additional cash!
Here’s how I simplify the recordkeeping:
I mentioned that I use a personal credit card or personal cash for my meal expenses while traveling. I do this to make sure my business claims the larger of my actual expenses or the per diem allowed.
Once the greater of my actual meal expenses and per diem has been determined, my bookkeeper then completes an expense report that claims the greater amount. My business then reimburses me based on the expense report.
Worst case is I get reimbursed the exact amount I spent, but often times, I’m able to get reimbursed more than what I actually spent because the per diem rates are greater. This means my business gets a bigger deduction and my entire reimbursement (even if I am reimbursed more than what I actually spent) is tax free to me!
This is my favorite kind of system – it’s simple and it maximizes my deductions!
www.dilbert.com by Scott Adams. RingTales presents Dilbert Animated Cartoons. Wally learns he needs to report to a new boss. Dilbert needs approval from the Boss. Alice defines her duties to the Boss
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