Before I started traveling for work, I thought the whole idea was glamorous and exciting. How awesome is it that someone is paying for you to travel across the country and the world? Well, it is awesome. But, there are some downsides to traveling for business.
1. Your being paid to travel. You’re getting from Point A to Point B on your employers dime. How could anything be wrong with that?
2. You get to travel without using vacation days. Keep on banking your vacation days because you won’t be using them when you’re traveling for business. You’re still on the clock, but you’re (hopefully) working from a more exciting location.
3. You can add a real vacation onto the end of your business trip. Check with you employers first to see if this is allowed. You’ll have to take on the additional cost of your “for fun” vacation, but you’re already where you want to vacation. Have a spouse or friend join you there! If you’re lucky, your employer may pay for your flight home seeing how they are responsible getting you to and from your business trip.
4. You’re normally staying at luxury hotels. Most big conferences are hosted at luxury hotels. I went to a conference in Los Angeles and was staying at the J.W. Marriott. Super swanky.
5. You get to meet new people and try new restaurants. Business is all about your connections. It’s all about who you know, right? Most work trips include a handful of networking events, like dinners. Hopefully you get to make some new friends and try some new food on these trips. Then you can go back and visit those friends!
1. You’re not going on vacation. Work is work. When you go to work a conference or attend meetings, you’re not on vacation. So don’t go on a business trip expecting that you’ll have that additional free time. Most times you work more hours when you’re traveling for business.
2. Most times you’re stuck inside all day. There’s really not that additional time to explore. All those places you want to visit and see, good luck. You need to plan an actual vacation to accomplish that most times.
3. If you’re not in meetings, you’re catching up. The office doesn’t stop when you’re away. Every day job responsibilities continue to fill your email inbox. That “me time” you were hoping for doesn’t necessarily exist.
4. Expense reports. You may be traveling on your employer’s dime, but your employer wants to know everything you spent company money on. Save all those receipts. Take pictures of them if your expense system has an app. These are just tedious, but necessary, things that come with business travel.
Clearly, the pros outweigh the cons. But how can you make the best of a business trip?
1. Try and add a little cushion time to your trip. Fly in a day before your conference or event, if possible. This gives you time to settle in and, at the very least, go out to a nice dinner and do a little exploring near by. If you can fly out the night after your event ends, even better.
2. Try and have one evening of that “me time” you crave. Go out to dinner alone or just hang out in your room and get room service. Enjoy the hotel you’re at. Enjoy the city you’re visiting. Do your best to not take each opportunity for granted. Yes, you’re there for work. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself.
Where was your favorite place you traveled for work? Do you have any more advice for the business travelers out there? Share in the comments! I’ll tweet out your advice from my Twitter account, @tripintotravel.