With the U.S. economy expected to grow faster in 2011 than in 2010, companies predict they will spend 5 percent more on travel this year than the $228 billion they spent in 2010. Executives as saying “face time” is critical to the success of their companies. Travel budgets are edging back up, but they aren’t expected to reach pre-recession levels until the middle of 2013, according to the Global Business Travel Association.
If you’re traveling overseas on business, before you go, check out the Federation of International Trade Associations’ Business Travel Mini-Portal at http://fita.org/travel, which gives you information in the following five categories:
Really Useful Links for International Business Travel. Links to hundreds of related Web sites listed under Expatriate Resources; International Telecommunications and Internet Access; Reservation Systems; Travel Health Information and Services; Travel Information and Links; Travel Insurance; Travel Security; Value-added Tax (VAT) Recovery; Weather; and Worldwide Holiday and Event Calendars. Click on Reservation Systems, for example, and 14 links come up, including Air Gorilla (“Going Bananas for Discount Travel”), Site 59 (last-minute weekend getaways), and the usual suspects — Travelocity, Orbitz and Expedia.
MedjetAssist. Information about membership in this worldwide air medical evacuation and repatriation membership program, with the site address for additional information and to enroll.
Travel Advisories/Travel Safety. Links to the most current warnings about potential hazards in travel to some parts of the world from the U.S. Department of State, UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advisories.
Currency Converters. The FITA Currency Converter gives you the current day’s exchange rate between more than 120 international currencies; the FITA/OANDA Currency Converter converts 164 currencies at up-to-the-minute bank rates; the FITA/OANDA Currency Converter “Cheatsheet” converts 164 currencies at up-to-the-minute bank rates and pint them in an easy-to-carry format.
Find an ATM Anywhere. Click on
the link to VISA/PLUS ATMs, MasterCard/Cirrus/Maestro ATMs, or American Express to find the location of a corresponding automated teller machine (bank cash machine) anywhere in the world.