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The secret spending habits of the business traveller

18th November 2008 Print
Passport? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Clean underwear? Check. Foreign currency...? Apparently this is a familiar scenario for many British business travellers. And those without foreign currency at hand are more likely to be women than men according to a new study by Travelex.

The research reveals that when heading off abroad on a business trip, men are almost four times as likely to have foreign currency arranged by their employer in advance in order to settle expenses than their surveyed female counterparts. The research also clearly highlights a difference in spending habits between the sexes whilst on business abroad. Men are more likely than women to treat themselves to dining out on an appetising meal or other entertainment whilst away from home (62 per cent), whereas women respondents spend more than men on taxis and hotel extras such as drinks and bar food (23 per cent).

Londoners are most likely to travel abroad on business, with nearly two in 10 (19 per cent) stating they do so, although they are not the most likely to bring back a memento of their trip for family or friends (45 per cent). Of those polled, Scots prove the most likely to dip into their pockets, with two thirds (66 per cent) usually purchasing a gift for their loved ones, followed by Southerners (58 per cent).

The study shows that on average over one in 10 (11 per cent) British workers travel abroad on business yet just a handful of those (17 per cent) are given foreign currency by their employer in advance, which means many businesses are gambling with exchange rate fluctuations and risk employees selecting foreign exchange on the basis of convenience rather than competitive rates. However, with properly planned and managed foreign exchange procedures businesses can see with financial savings of up to 10 per cent, as well as time and resource efficiencies.

Jonathan Bennett, Head of Corporate, Travelex says: “Travelling abroad is often a necessary and can be an expensive investment for business today. Purchasing foreign exchange or loading a prepaid currency card in advance means businesses can exercise better control of their cash flow, lock-in better rates and avoid being vulnerable to hefty ATM or overseas usage charges. However, our research shows that many do not have a robust foreign exchange system in place.

“Recently exchange rates have fluctuated wildly that makes companies more vulnerable to paying substantially more due to the time it takes for expenses to be submitted and paid. For many businesses this means losing a significant amount of money – particularly if they are processing a high volume of expenses.

“Business travel solutions such as a Corporate Cash Passport card that locks in a rate or ordering foreign exchange in advance help to manage these costs, saving businesses time and money – particularly pertinent in the current economic climate. We would urge businesses that don’t have an effective foreign exchange system in place to speak to a specialist with the knowledge and ability to meet their business needs for an overseas business travel solution.”

Travelex work with thousands of businesses to support their employees and customers as they travel around the globe. We’re also the worlds’ largest distributor of prepaid currency cards, just one of our Business Travel Money services that make doing business abroad so much easier. We offer 24/7 Global Emergency Assistance with emergency cash replacement and competitive rates of exchange.

For more information, visit