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Do more on fewer trips

Although many signs point to a strengthening U.S. economy, the overwhelming sentiment in the business travel world remains doing more with less.

That attitude came across in a recent study that found many business travelers are staying a few extra nights to handle more business instead of making multiple trips.

Partly as a result, the estimated total number of trips in the U.S. dropped 22.7 percent from 2000 to 2011, but overall spending on business travel increased 3.3 percent, according to a study released last week by the Global Business Travel Association, a trade group in Virginia.

In 2000, the association estimated that Americans spent $243 billion on more than 576 million business trips. Last year, spending on business trips rose to $251 billion, but the number of trips dropped to 445 million, according to the group.

The average amount spent on a business trip in 2000 was $422, compared with $564 in 2011, the trade group said. Nearly two-thirds of that increase was the result of inflation, the association said, and about a third came from higher spending.

"This trend makes sense," said Michael W. McCormick, the association's executive director. "We're seeing road warriors taking fewer trips but making the most of them, making more stops and spending more on the road."