Booking.com, a service connecting business travellers with a wide choice of places to stay, surveyed more than 4,500 businesspeople across eight countries.
Although one-third of respondents said they generally felt positive about travelling for business (38 per cent), the biggest stress factors for those travelling internationally stemmed from the logistics, with a staggering nine out of 10 (93 per cent) feeling stressed at some point on their journey.
A combination of pre-travel planning, booking accommodation, arranging transport, managing expenses and receipts, and navigating the destination, combined with a lack of sleep, has the potential to leave business travellers weary and strained. That’s all before the important meetings and actual work have even begun.
While many holidaymakers feel excited at the prospect of time at an airport and hitting the shops for some duty-free treats or a celebratory drink at the start of their vacation, it’s airports that hold the biggest bugbears for those who travel on international business.
Among their least favourite things about international business travel, delays and cancellations topped the list, with half (47 per cent) of respondents complaining about this. As would be expected, jet lag (35 per cent) and airport security queues (34 per cent) are also disliked.
While these are felt across the globe, German business travellers dislike security queues most (42 per cent), whereas Chinese travellers are more understanding of this necessity, with only one in five (20 per cent) rating it as one of their least favourite things about international business travel.
Touching down in a foreign destination can also feel exciting and adventurous for those on vacation but for business travellers, it can be a different story.
The research shows that worries don’t end at the airport, with one in four (26 per cent) feeling anxious about language barriers when they reach their destination, and one in five feeling uneasy about being in unfamiliar surroundings (20 per cent), and cultural norms and differences (17 per cent).
Japanese travellers are the most worried about language barriers, with almost half (45 per cent) saying it makes them stressed. And while Chinese business travellers may be relaxed when it comes to airport queues, they are more concerned than other nationalities about cultural norms and differences in the country they’re visiting (37 per cent).
While business travel can be exciting and full of opportunities, it can at times feel lonely, with many of those surveyed saying they miss family, friends and general home life (34 per cent).
In fact, more than one-third of American business travellers say one of their least favourite things about international business travel is being away from their family, friends or partner (38 per cent).
An unlucky one in 10 of business travellers (12 per cent) spend less than five hours by themselves in their accommodation each day of business travel.
On average, business travellers spend 8.9 hours by themselves each day (including sleeping) when travelling internationally, and it’s perhaps because of this that, contrary to conventional wisdom, many business travellers are open to sharing an accommodation with a colleague while travelling for business.