Once again, the topic of business travel provides some unique challenges in some career choices. As a Veteran, you might think travel is no big deal. After all, you attended countless field training exercises or maybe you deployed a few times.
In our excitement to land the perfect private sector career, we may tend to overlook the realities found in the tiny details printed on a job description.
Under the heading of “Travel Requirements”, the amount of travel is usually expressed as a percentage or maybe even as a specific number of days. Either way, you might be surprised on what those numbers truly mean. You need to consider what impact business travel might have on your quality of life.
Meet Johnathan. He works for an international charter airline. With a passport full of stamps and plenty of time zone shifts mixed in with a little jetlag, he knows what business travel is all about.
When not caring for people while in the air, he has to take care of himself. Let’s dig into Johnathan’s perspective on the topic of business travel.
Charles “Chazz” Pratt III (CP3): Before you took your job, what was the advertised amount of travel? Once reality set in, was it more or less travel than you expected?
Johnathan: My position advertised 19 days of travel, on average, per month. I quickly realized that to have a decent paycheck, volunteering to travel on some off days was necessary.
CP3: Travel usually equates to changing your diet since you're eating away from home all the time. How do you manage this?
Johnathan: Sadly, I tend to eat more plane food, because it's there. I am still trying to balance eating healthy vs. the cost of essentially eating out at restaurants all the time. Cutting out all the bread, sodas and drinking more water is always the goal.
CP3: I'm guessing you've found ways to make the most of your time out of town. How do you make the most of travel from a tourism perspective?
Johnathan: As far as sightseeing goes, I always try to get out and see a country or city that is new to me (especially if I don't know when I'll be back that way again). You learn to get more bang for your buck by choosing a great hop on/hop off tour that covers all the main tourist spots in a day. Better yet is to have a friend with a local connection.
CP3: Please share 3 travel tips.
1. Space bags are awesome for compressing your clothes and helping you take more of what you need on the road.
2. Sign up for all airline and hotel rewards programs. The points will add up and be useful in the future. Status has privileges.
3. Develop a routine for unpacking and packing. It helps avoid leaving something at home that you need on the road or leaving something in a hotel room that you will need later on your journey. Every hotel has a box full of power adapters and cell phone chargers left by guests without a routine for making sure everything gets back in the bag.
If you're married, understand that lots of travel can put a strain on your marriage. You should communicate more, not less, about your adventures on the road...both good and bad. Stay connected through social media, so you don't forget a birthday or anniversary. Also, when you get back home, use those accumulated reward points to treat your spouse and family.
My goal for 2016 is to start some type of business venture that I can monitor from the road while traveling. If you haven't read Tim Ferriss' 'The 4-Hour Workweek,' I would highly recommend his book for similar ideas. In it he also has a section on travel tips from his highly acclaimed blog.
CP3: Thank You for sharing your story, Johnathan!
Incidentally, he typed this on his phone from a hotel room in Anchorage, AK.
Do you have a career that involves lots of business travel? Share your top travel tip below:
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