What is a business trip? Definition and examples

If you visit somewhere for work purposes, i.e., on behalf of your company, that is a business trip. The term applies to both the journey to your destination and your trip back. In most cases, the trip is not a short one.

a Business trip image 1 999We do not use the term for our daily commutes, i.e., traveling to and from work each day. Leisure trips or personal or family vacations are not business trips either.

Collins Dictionary has the following definition of the term:

“A journey made somewhere and back again for business purposes in one’s working capacity.”

Business trip vs. business travel

The two terms refer to the same action or activity. However, their uses are not the same.

Business travel

Business travel refers to traveling on behalf of your employer generally. Although it is a singular term, i.e., business travel and not business travels, it refers to all trips for work purposes. It is a general term.

I might say, for example: “Business travel is becoming a significant part of our airline’s income.” In this case, we are talking in general.

I cannot use business travel for just one journey. For example, I cannot say: “I’m sorry, Jane is away. She is on a business travel.” I would have to say: “I’m sorry … She’s on a business trip.”

Business trip

This term refers to just one journey. We need to use the plural if we are talking in general.

For example, if I wanted to talk about my airline’s revenue, I would say: “Business trips are becoming a significant part of our airline’s income.” I would not be able to use the singular form.

Reasons for business travel

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In all the examples below, your employer is paying for travel, accommodation, etc.

  • Meeting with customers or clients.
  • Visiting suppliers.
  • Attending a conference.
  • Attending a course.
  • Identify new markets, trends, and consumer traits elsewhere.
  • Visiting somewhere to check the progress of a project.
  • Visiting a prospect. A prospect is a company or person that you think could turn into a paying customer.
  • Apologizing to a customer.
  • Your purpose is PR or public relations, such as taking part in a press conference.
  • The ROI from the trip is more than its cost. ROI stands for return on investment.
  • Your employer sends you somewhere to fix, for example, equipment.
  • Networking. There are many people you can meet away from work with whom you or your company could do business.
  • Face-to-face meetings are usually more effective than using email, VoIP, texting, etc. Sometimes they are necessary.

Business travelers typically claim their expenses by filling a report, in which they list how much they spent on local public transport, meals, taxis, phone calls, etc.

Negatives and positives of business travel


Business trips may be extremely rewarding experiences. However, for some people, especially if they have families, there is a price to pay.

Regular business travelers frequently feel loney. Some of them may show signs of deteriorating mental health and even depression. According to Adam Perotta in a Business travel News article in December 2019, over 20% of business travelers said they experienced negative mental health effects.

Regarding the survey, Perotta wrote:

“22 percent of respondents reported that business travel had a “very” or “somewhat” negative impact on their mental health. Twenty-one percent indicated that even thinking about an upcoming work trip caused stress. Factors causing that angst include the toll travel takes on physical health, sleep schedules, personal relationships, personal finances and productivity.”

Traveling regularly on behalf of your company may mean missing major family events, which can contribute significantly to relationship problems.

Jet lag can play havoc with our body clock, productivity, and mental and physical health. Eating small meals before and during your flight, refraining from consuming alcoholic drinks, drinking plenty of water, and getting plenty of rest beforehand can help reduce the negative effects of jet lag.


In a Small Business Trends article, Samson Haileysus wrote that the vast majority of small company owners enjoyed their work-related trips. Approximately fifty-five percent of small business owners travel for work purposes at least once each month. Sixty percent of them spend three nights away from home during each trip.

Haileysus added:

“Surprisingly enough almost all (88%) small business owners who travel for business do enjoy traveling. In fact, just under three in four (72%) say they wish they traveled for business more often.”

Corporate travel is a huge market

Business travel is worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year globally. The biggest spenders on business trips are the United States and China.

In the United States, there are over 405 million business trips annually (long distance). For every working day, approximately 1.1 million Americans are traveling for work purposes.

The world’s most popular destination is New York City, while Shanghai is the fastest growing. Trondent Development Corp. made the following comment regarding the importance of business travel for airlines:

“Business passengers represent 75 percent of an airline’s profits despite only being 12% of their total passengers. But the money is well spent: every $1.00 spent on business travel creates $15 of profit for increased sales.”