Affected by the deep recession and the slow rebound from it, many businesses in New Jersey and nationwide have not been as friendly and lenient with their traveling employees. Business trips are not what they used to be.

Slowly and steadily, more companies are unleashing their employees in the air and on the road to conduct business. However, businesses are working harder to keep their expenses in line, particularly when it comes to items like alcohol and meals.

"The days of the unlimited expense accounts and three martini lunch - those are over," said Phil Kirschner, President of the New Jersey Business & Industry Association.

He said if extravagant expenses are client or customer-based, businesses would pick up the tab. They may not, though, if an employee just wants to try the most popular restaurant in town for a meal on his/her own.

In many cases, employees understand the tighter constraints for business trips. Business travelers have been increasingly putting out their own money for gas, food and other minor expenses.

"I think people are trying to approach it, both the travelers and the companies, with common sense," Kirschner said.

In defense of businesses reigning in the spending, Kirschner said the costs associated with trips have spiked.

"It has become more expensive to fly with all the additional fees, and years ago, you didn't have to worry about whether your hotel offered Wi-Fi or you had to pay for it," he said.

As companies put their feet back in the water of business traveling, Kirschner said, balancing what is fair to the employee and cost-effective to the business is an ongoing issue.