Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

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miamivice
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Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by miamivice » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:37 pm

I'm finding myself in a position that requires a fair amount of business travel. Some of the travel is to international locations and some is to domestic locations. I'm wondering if I should continue accepting the business travel assignments. How do you perceive business travel in today's world? Is this something that is a perk of the job and provides opportunity, or is this something that is not desirable and I should look for a position that does not involve business travel?

I understand this is a personal decision...I'm wondering what other Bogleheads take is on business travel, for perspective.

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greg24
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by greg24 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:39 pm

Burden.

Rupert
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Rupert » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:40 pm

I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.

AmericaFirst
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by AmericaFirst » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:41 pm

Purposefully did not renew passport to avoid assignments requiring international travel.

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JDCarpenter
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by JDCarpenter » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:43 pm

Yes.

In other words, it depended upon our time of life and the nature of the business travel. More likely to be a burden with small kids and multiple consecutive weeks/weekends out of town....
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by 123 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:43 pm

Rupert wrote:I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.
+1
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by renue74 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:45 pm

Done my fair share of business travel...mostly domestic. I'm 43 and really started traveling at 25.

At first it was nice to see new cities and I would have the opportunity to go 1 day early or stay a long weekend.

But, as life changes, girlfriends, wife, tougher business demands, kids, house, etc. business travel was more of a burden.

Now, with the interwebs, I can deal with most client demands via email, Skype, and phone. Not as many demands for face to face...especially in my service based business.

Enjoy the travel while you can, but you may or may not burn out on it....depending on your personal life.

I have an old work friend who moved to a unique job that took him to many middle eastern locations and he loved it all...but he was single and his personal life never evolved into family, etc.

When I retire, I'll travel on my on terms...take as long as I like at the places I want to go and do it before I get too old.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by MrNewEngland » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:47 pm

When I first graduated school I thought travelling for work would be the coolest thing. Unfortunately in practice I found out that I hated it. Although to be fair I was sent to awful podunk towns in the southeast with nothing to do besides work.

That's actually one of the reasons I took a municipal job for the city I live in. I know I could make more than I do working here but I enjoy the work and am happy knowing I will never be forced to move and travel will be at a minimum (I did have to go out of town for a week to inspect valves once).

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by flamesabers » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:49 pm

I think it depends on a multitude of factors.

Do you like to travel?
Do you have a significant other and/or kids?
What kind of travelling and lodging accommodations would you be getting?
Do you like visiting new places?

I generally don't like business travel because of the hassle of going through airport security, waiting to get boarded onto a plane, flying in cramped conditions, living out of a suitcase, etc. I don't think I ever had a business trip where I wasn't anxious to get home at the end of the trip.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by jebmke » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:55 pm

I traveled a lot my last 15 years of working. Last 4 years was 100%, mostly international. A lot of wear and tear. Was good for my career but tough physically and a strain on family.

I tried to make the best of it. I never traveled to Asia for less than two weeks so I would schedule weekends in new places to have sopme personal time to experience a new place.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by KlingKlang » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:57 pm

Rupert wrote:I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.
This is the best summary that you will get.

In addition, company travel policies can turn what should be an enjoyable opportunity into sheer torture - always traveling on your own time, always having to take the cheapest flights no matter how inconvenient, not being allowed to arrive a day ahead of time to save the hotel bill, ridiculous food limits like $25/day, managers and engineers working on the same project staying in different hotels (guess who gets the cheap ones), and a general expectation that you will be working every waking moment.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Gropes & Ray » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:57 pm

When travelling rarely with good co-workers or to see good clients, it's a delightful perk. When living out of a suitcase and dealing with people who don't want to see you, it's a burden. I used to spend about 3 nights per quarter out of town with an awesome client, and we would work late then eat steaks and drink beer in the evenings. I miss that.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by mhc » Wed Jul 12, 2017 3:58 pm

I do not consider it a burden, but my flight time is usually 2 hours. I also get to travel back to where I grew up and visit my elderly parents and brothers. I have gotten to the point though that I try to fly on company time, not my time.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by marti038 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:03 pm

Mostly a burden, but sometimes I have to go to locations that I can bring the family along for a few days. Then it's more fun. I also don't miss the office much when I'm on the road, so I guess that's a small perk.

I rarely travel more than a few hundred miles from home FWIW and never have to fly.

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Will do good
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Will do good » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:05 pm

Yes, it was a perk and burden at the same time. In those days we travel first class on all flight, stays at Four seasons and allow layover on company's dime if we were willing to downgrade to business class to save the company money. (after reading others travel, I can understand why so many think travel is a burden).

It was a burden when I have to travel to NYC every Wednesday for 4 years straight, for a 3 hours meeting/day trip.

Not so much when it was international and I had time on my own on the weekends and stop to another country for few days on the way home.

But it got tiresome when we have kids and logged almost 2 million miles.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by stoptothink » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:11 pm

Without a doubt, a burden. I turned down a job which would have paid nearly 50% more than my current position to start, because I would have had to travel a ton (turned out to be one of the best decisions I ever made). I have this conversation with my boss (who travels ~275 days a year) at every quarterly review: if they want me to travel more, they are going to have to pay me a lot more. My wife was really excited about the opportunity to travel when she transitioned into the enterprise sales department of her employer, now she hates it. It gets old really fast, especially if you have a family.

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bligh
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by bligh » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:12 pm

Rupert wrote:I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.
+1

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by nordsteve » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:17 pm

I travel four to six days a month, usually to the same city. It puts some stress on my family, but less so now that my children have left home.

I wouldn't take a heavy travel job if I had a young family. It would interfere too much with family activities that I enjoy -- for example, difficult to coach your child's team.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by capeman » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:23 pm

I traveled M-F every week for a while for a job. It got tiring. One time I woke up in yet another generic hotel room and couldn't remember where I was. I had to look at the little stationary pad next to the bed to figure it out. This was before smart phones. I stopped traveling not long after that.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Dude2 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:41 pm

I tend to get short term assignments in other locations (usually 3 months) domestic/international. They need to make it worth your while. It really helps if you have support from home base versus "out of sight, out of mind". I try to optimize it for maximum financial gain (within reason). It can be good and bad, but if they're paying for it it may be worth it. The perks are money (per diem, overtime, field pay), hotel points, car points, and ability to see/do things you wouldn't want to pay for yourself. It can be profoundly educational. Without those incentives, though, I agree it's a hell of a burden -- bad for your health, bad for your psyche. (I still have PTSD from the time I spent in Northern New Jersey -- forget about it.)

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Wed Jul 12, 2017 4:52 pm

bligh wrote:
Rupert wrote:I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.
+1
This got quite a few +1s, and I agree.
DW had a London based employer; I had a Paris based employer. It was fun for a while, but got tiring. I became a SAHD; DW traveled less, and recently started working for a US based employer. Still takes a few international trips per year. We cope with it, but it's not a perk.

Otoh, our 21 year old son is in Hong Kong right now on business. He thinks it's a blast.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by onourway » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:07 pm

Completely depends on the specifics. Frequent travel between small airports which require multiple stops and layovers, for little additional compensation and/or an employer that doesn't stretch to make things comfortable for you? Pass. International travel via business class with plenty of time off and good compensation and appropriate per diem rates? Yes please.

I've done both ends of the spectrum, with and without kids. Sometimes its great, sometimes it's the pits. Overall I prefer some travel as long as it's on decent terms and compensated appropriately. Keeps me fresh.

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Shackleton
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Shackleton » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:11 pm

All of my business travel (except for two conferences per year) is to the megacorp HQ in a city that no one in their right mind would ever go to on a holiday. Burden. I've been there 10 times so far this year. Major burden.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by wandering_aimlessly » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:20 pm

A cost of having a more important position...

That said it can be mitigated...a trip to China in business class is quite different than in the last row of economy. Being able to keep points for personal use is different than turning them back to the company (have been with both). Repeated stays in same hotel/cars can get decent perks. etc. etc

In short you can't eliminate the challenges of travel but you can make it less painfull...

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by lowndes » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:22 pm

I've always found business travel a major burden even though I usually fly first class, go to major cities and stay at five star hotels with work. I'll always prefer to be home with my family and wouldn't even consider a job if it required me to travel frequently. Fortunately my current job doesn't require frequent travel.

I do love to travel just not for work.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by randomizer » Wed Jul 12, 2017 5:53 pm

Perk. But I do it very rarely so it has a high novelty value.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by palaheel » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:04 pm

It was fun for the first 5 minutes. After that, not so much.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Thesaints » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:07 pm

Miles and points are a substantial perk. Destinations are oftentimes enjoyable themselves; scratch another one for perks.
Work while on travel and related preparation is a burden, though.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by 8foot7 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:09 pm

Working for myself I get to set my own travel policy. Not to sound snooty but I've decided if I can't justify a first class ticket and the cost of a decent (4-5 star) hotel for a trip, I won't go. I have found very few trips justify that expense, and the ones that do are a lot more comfortable. When I share my requirements with clients who at first wanted me to come in person, we seem to quickly findan alternative like videoconferencing.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by MnD » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:20 pm

The 2-3 industry/association conferences I go to and have for many years are a huge perk.
I know everybody, hold/held leadership positions in the organizations and it's both professionally refreshing and lots of fun.
I spend nearly all my time with folks from other organizations we work directly or indirectly with.
A very refreshing change of pace.

The rest of my business travel to internal company meetings, internal committees, mandatory training etc. is a real drag.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Joe555 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:26 pm

I enjoy business travel. I always try to explore the city I'm visiting even if I'm not there for very long. The different cultures, languages, foods, and people keep things interesting :D
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by sawhorse » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:34 pm

I rarely had to travel for business, but on the few occasions that I did, my employer wouldn't even pay for a checked bag. Needless to say there was no per diem, no first class or room service. If the travel were more comfortable, maybe it would have been okay.

I get sick on planes and have a really hard time sleeping in unfamiliar environments. If I traveled frequently maybe that would improve over time? Did/does anyone else have those problems.

How often do frequent business travelers have free time to explore the destination? On my trips I had to prepare for presentations and meetings in the hotel, and you'd fly back after the meeting was over. There was no time to see the place.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by hicabob » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:41 pm

One factor is if you are going to Paris or Springfield. Another is if you are expected to be fixing a nasty problem or going to a fun exhibition . I agree with the others who say it's much more fun at first than when you have been doing it forever. Some of us do see a lot of the world while on biz travel.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Atilla » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:49 pm

Depends on the location and time of year,

Grand Forks in January, Philadelphia or Minneapolis in March = burden.

Scottsdale in November, Orlando, San Antonio and New Orleans in March = perk
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by blueblock » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:52 pm

It was mostly a burden.

I didn't travel a great deal. In my field, our conferences were held in only a handful of big-convention-oriented US cities. After umpteen visits, there's nothing more to see or do, apart from maintaining professional connections, but those were rarely pleasurable, at least for me.

I would also add that I was never good at the on/off switch, where you're "on" for long work days, and then turn it off to play tourist on the weekend. The fact that I couldn't turn off, and tended to work in my hotel room instead of sightseeing or whatever, paid career dividends in the long term, but I would not at all describe it as pleasurable, or a perk.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Nate79 » Wed Jul 12, 2017 6:53 pm

14hr international flight in economy, horrible food on flights, working 18hr days, etc. Definitely a burden. Travel in business class or first class is night and day experience.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by LiveSimple » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:01 pm

I like it based on the travel if it is sporadic, such as once in three months for a few days.
Sometime, a relief from the normal grind.

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Uncle Pennybags
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Uncle Pennybags » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:03 pm

It depends on where the traveling takes one. Back in the day I worked summers at the Jersey shore. Long hours but I survived. 8-)

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Steelersfan » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:26 pm

I found it mostly a perk, but I only traveled 4 - 6 times a year for a couple of days each time. I got to visit most of the major cities in the U.S. and sometimes could schedule the business days just before or after a week-end and a sympathetic boss let me stay week-ends with me only paying for hotels and meals for those two days. I experienced a lot of interesting things on those week-ends. The air miles were nice and I could get free airfare to Europe every 2 or three years for vacation.

But when it was repeated trips to the same city every month - a burden. And day trips - definitely a burden.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by staythecourse » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:26 pm

The fact you ask this question makes me think the corporate brainwashing is in full swing.

Of course, it is a negative. It is like asking if a long commute is a perk or a burden. Also, I would say it is an uncompensated expense. If one is married with kids it may affect how much they need to pay others to help while you are away and sticking you spouse alone doing all the home duties.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Grogs » Wed Jul 12, 2017 7:33 pm

I find it to be a bit of both. I tend to travel 4-6 times per year, so not too terribly onerous. I would never want to be one our our program reps who travel 50%+. My specific pros and cons are:

Pros:
- We travel under government travel rules, so most fees (bags, parking, taxis, etc) get reimbursed. We get a fixed per diem rate and I usually net a little bit on every trip. For a domestic trip on a plane, it's typically ~$20/day. For international flights or regional trips where I can drive, I can net $75-$100 per day.
- We get to keep our miles, hotel points, etc. I can also rack up some credit card rewards.
- Although it can be tedious to arrange, we're allowed to add extra days for personal/vacation days if we go to a cool place. I was able to add three days at a nice island location earlier this year, and I'm hoping to do something similar in Europe in September.

Cons:

- Government travel rules are a double-edged sword. Business class is highly restricted, and first class is right out. I actually found an international trip with one leg on business class that was cheaper than an all-coach trip, but I was told I had to take the more expensive coach flights. Because I only travel 4-6 times per year, I tend to only have enough status to get an upgrade on things like 1-hour domestic flights where nobody else wants it.
- It's not uncommon for us to have to travel the Sunday before or Saturday after the meeting for no extra compensation, and even getting a comp day is difficult.
- Most of my domestic trips are to the same 2-3 cities, so there's really no novelty anymore.
- While I'm single and childless, I have cats that I hate to leave. They get sad when they see the suitcases come out, and seem a bit stressed when I get back. I also don't get reimbursed for the cat sitter I have to hire, or the amount I net out above would be higher.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Kenkat » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:15 pm

It is a perk at first that will eventually become a burden.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Crimsontide » Wed Jul 12, 2017 8:55 pm

Serious burden at this stage...

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Kosmo » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:01 pm

Rupert wrote:I really enjoyed business travel when I was young and childless. When you have a family, it's a burden.
This.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Hawaiishrimp » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:17 pm

Burden. (I am typing this at SFO right now. The irony. :oops: :oops: :oops: )
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by FIREchief » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:21 pm

When I could set my own schedule and travel by myself, it ranged from a nuisance to a nice break from the office. When somebody else set the schedule and I was traveling with a group, it ranged from tolerable to a pain in the behind.
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by badbreath » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:29 pm

With the Megacorps I have worked for I have been sent to every state except 4. (Alaska, Hawaii, New Mexico, Idaho) Also 15+ foreign countries, I was in China last month. It use to be so bad that the workers at the airport knew my name.

Do I like the travel, no. But once I get there I like the experience of the place country that I am in.
Traveller

I'd answer that it's not a perk or a burden - it's just part of the job that you need to decide if you want or not. I've traveled extensively for the past 25 years for my career and at times I love it, and at times I don't. But it's always been part of the job I chose. I have missed many nights at home with my family, but I've also seen much of the world and experienced so much. I am also able to take several vacations with my family every year pretty much for free! It was hardest when we had young kids and my wife was dealing with that alone. Now it's pretty great that she joins me on many trips (Denver, NYC, and DC in the last month). Plus always get hotel upgrades and perks. First class upgrades are nice too
Ok he said it better but I fell the same :beer
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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by Traveller » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:40 pm

I'd answer that it's not a perk or a burden - it's just part of the job that you need to decide if you want or not. I've traveled extensively for the past 25 years for my career and at times I love it, and at times I don't. But it's always been part of the job I chose. I have missed many nights at home with my family, but I've also seen much of the world and experienced so much. I am also able to take several vacations with my family every year pretty much for free! It was hardest when we had young kids and my wife was dealing with that alone. Now it's pretty great that she joins me on many trips (Denver, NYC, and DC in the last month). Plus always get hotel upgrades and perks. First class upgrades are nice too. Some airlines even announce when they have million mile members on board and you get some applause (okay - I hate that part).

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by goldendad » Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:46 pm

I have been an airline pilot for 31+ years. It was fun for the first 6 months, then it was just part of the job. No complaints, just part of the job.

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Re: Do you consider business travel to be a perk or a burden?

Post by whodidntante » Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:23 pm

I travel a lot for work, mostly international. It's both. The brutal jet lag and lack of good rest can be really draining. But I've managed to see parts of the world that most Americans will never see, and I paid very little out of pocket to do it.

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