We all know someone, or are someone, who travels frequently for business. Occasionally in conversation the topic of my business travel comes up. Once I hear remarks like, “Oh, you get to travel for business? You’re so lucky!” I know that I’m the only one in the conversation that has to travel for business. I understand why it sounds so appealing –really I do. The idea of getting to jet set around instead of sitting in the same office eating the same lunch day after day does sound nice on paper. The reality is though, that traveling for business is NOT as glamorous as it sounds. At times it can be downright terrible.
Those of us who are “lucky” enough to travel for business get to do all sorts of things. I get to see the inside of airports, conference rooms, uber cars, and the occasional restaurant. Then it’s back to the hotel and back to the airport. Schlepping your luggage the whole way.
As someone who travels for business every single week. I can tell you that you leave late and arrive even later. Those that travel every week, like me, generally work a full day on the day that they travel. They head to the airport in the evening, wait for their flight, take their flight, arrive at their destination late, and arrive at their hotel even later. Generally, meetings with clients begin in the early morning. This is all in an effort to work regular work days without losing a day to travel. It’s also to (crazy talk I know) be able to spend a little more time with the family. The glory of business travel.
Consider the last time that you flew across the country. Flying across country is an all day ordeal. Also, good luck getting direct flights. Or maybe you did find a direct flight only to have to drive an extra hour or two to get to your destination.
According to Scott Cohen, deputy director of research of the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Surrey, it’s time to send your envy packing. Cohen recently published a paper titled A Darker Side of Hypermobility, in which he aggregated the data from 15 years of major studies on frequent travel. His findings are nothing short of disturbing if you’re one of what Cohen calls the “hypermobile”: “a mobile elite who are often well connected to global networks, with their lifestyles closely but not exclusively linked to the practice of business travel.
[He] found that this mobile elite, instead of bragging about their exciting lifestyles, should be very concerned about their health. “[Business travel] has a wide range of physiological, psychological and emotional, and social consequences that are often overlooked, because being a ‘road warrior’ tends to get glamorized […]
There are perks. I won’t lie. You do rack up quite a few frequent flyer miles. You can use these to purchase personal plane tickets. Honestly though, I’m not sure the advantages outweigh the hassle. Those who are traveling every week are on the road. Your eating habits probably aren’t great, your sleeping habits are probably all jumbled up, and don’t get me started on jet lag and so on.
I know I’m not the only one that suffers with the glory of business travel; what have your experiences been? What are the worst parts? What are the best? Do you have any tips for making business travel easier? Comment below!