Do you really think long trips are that boring?

By Rui Wang

Seagulls travel long distances in search of food

Seagulls travel long distances in search of food

If someone asked you whether you prefer short trips over the long tripsyour answer may be an instant ‘yes’. The reason is that the transportation is usually driven by other objectives such as going to work, meeting with friends, or shopping. As a result, you want to minimize your travel time to achieve these objectives.

However, in the case of biking or hiking, you may prefer a longer route . In such cases, your objective is to ‘exercise’, and thus the process of traveling serves a purpose. You may prefer a 30 minute route to a 15 minute one for the extra calories burnt. Therefore, travel time is no longer merely a cost, but has its own added value.

The added value of travel time does not limit to transportation modes that involve ‘exercise’ such as  walking or biking. Researchers also found that in commuting processes such as rail transportation, travelers sometimes prefer longer trips because of the extra ‘productivity’ can be gained during the trip. Thus, by taking a longer rail trip, you have a better chance of sitting down and getting some work done.  The longer travel time and the higher level of comfort in the train allow  passengers to utilize the travel time through ‘multitasking’.

With the development of technology, especially the broader availability of Wi-Fi, multitasking during traveling becomes increasingly popular. And thus, traveling can be more than just some boring waiting time, but the time you can utilize to gain extra value.

So, next time when you travel think about multitasking and utilizing the time wisely rather than mulling over the good and bad of a long trip over a short one.

Find more fun ways to making your long trips worthy at

Know the Value of Your Travel Time

By Rui Wang

Value of travel time explained at

Time is Money. Picture courtesy

In transportation economics, the value of travel time refers to the amount of money a traveler is willing to pay in order to save a certain amount of time, or the amount of money the traveler would consider accepting as compensation for losing the time.

As a traveler, you probably do not judge the value of your time consciously. But you can probably imagine that the value of travel time changes with the purpose of your trip. For instance, a business trip usually has tighter schedules and hence the penalty from a longer trip is greater.

Researchers observed that the value of time of business travelers is significantly higher than that of leisure travelers. Among air travelers, the value of travel time is between $30/hour and $60/hour for business travelers, while the value is only between $4/hour and $17/hour for leisure travelers. This means that as a leisure traveler, you are willing to choose a travel alternative that is twice as long as a business trip in order to save money.

Besides travel purposes, the length of the trip also affects your evaluation of travel time. If the impact is studied for a travel time increase of 1 hour in a 1-hour trip versus a 5-hour trip, the impact of the increase is way more significant in the first case. Researchers also observed that the value of time diminishes as travel time increases. Therefore, for a flight longer than 4 hours, you are more likely to consider taking a connecting flight. While for a flight that is about 1-hour, travelers seldom consider a connecting flight. Also as a result, airlines seldom provide such services.

Next time when you plan a trip, think about the purpose of your travel and the length of your trip, and see how the value of time is reflected in your life.