Survey says business travelers take time for fun but don’t tell their boss or spouse about it

a display of colorful beadsNational Car Rental released results from a recent survey about business travel, and I am fascinated. I *love* statistics, getting into what they mean and what they say about human behavior, and then seeing how they align with my experience and my readers’ experience.

The report on this particular survey is focusing on taking time out during business travel for fun activities, and sharing those activities with your professional and personal circle.  The first notable survey result: 80% of business travelers feel they deserve to take a break from work and take time for themselves on their work trips. I completely agree, and recommend taking time out for small amounts of fun–whether it’s a nice dinner, movie, sporting event, shopping (like the Green Hills shopping mall in Manila, pictured), whatever!–on any business trip.

Then it gets interesting. 40% of these travelers avoid telling their coworkers and 38% avoid telling bosses about their fun activities. On the one hand, I get it–it’s not like I tell my boss every time I go to dinner or a movie when I’m not traveling, so why should I tell him about it on a trip? Of course, if it came up in conversation I would have no problem sharing activities–especially if it involved something really interesting or unique to the area.

But around a third of respondents don’t want to tell their significant other or spouse about their fun on the road. Why? Is it because they don’t want people to say things like, “But I thought you were going there for work?” Or they don’t want to talk about any fun they have because their spouse is at home, taking care of kids on their own?

Here are my thoughts. Business travel can be exhausting. 6am flights, hours of meetings, taking clients out to dinner, then falling into bed to do it again the next day–it’s a lot! On my last two trips I got around 5 hours of sleep each night because I was either attending or running a conference. If I get two hours to sit and read a book, get a massage, or see a bit of the city I’m visiting–you bet I’m going to take it, and I won’t feel guilty about it! That being said, the Home Warrior is also busting his tail taking care of our three kiddos, so I certainly won’t try to make him feel sorry for how busy I am.

Interesting note: this particular survey had 1000 respondents, with 592 males and 408 females. I wonder what the breakdown would have been by gender when looking at the 31% who didn’t tell their spouse when they took  time for fun?

See more details about the survey here if you’re interested.

Readers, do you take time out for fun when you get a chance on business trips? Do you tell your boss? Do you tell your spouse?


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  1. I think you’re touching the answer briefly in your artivcle. I do not tell my wife about how great it is to spend a week in Singapore, Miami or Barcelona because our worlds are very different; I have 200 days a year travelling and she has maybe …3. She is juggeling a full time job plus our house and kids, and I just fly off to some fancy destination and have GTs in the sunset with colleagues and/or clients.
    In sales there is a lot of socializing and networking. This means dinners, receptions, cocktail parties, exhibitions and more. It is important work, but to the outsider it sounds like a big waste of time and money. Just people having fun on some company’s expense.
    Even my boss doesn’t know this trade good enough (he is in a another part of our organization), and doesn’t travel nearly as much as me. And sometimes I find myself justifying to him the size of the chair I slept in on a business trip; business or economy class.

    I think it is the lack of understanding with our coworkers, bosses or spouses that prevents us from sharing too much of the fun we do while travelling. They wouldn’t understand. So why bother?

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