Over the past year and a half I spent quite a bit of time traveling for work. I had somewhere around 57 flights, not counting connections, in the last year to a multitude of different places. Between January and February I spent just over 75% of the time traveling for work. Work travel is very, very, very different than traveling for vacation, fun, or with family. For me, it came down to learning that each business traveler I come across while traveling for work is in it for themselves and, since they’ll never really ever see me ever again, there isn’t a need for them to be nice, treat others like humans, or follow generally accepted ways of behaving — like queuing up correctly in line, being polite, saying please and thank you, and so on. Once I learned that, work travel became a lot easier.
Work travel is incredibly lonely. It’s weird to think that I when I traveled for work I was always surrounded by people but was still lonely. However, none of us knew each other, none of us really wanted to talk to each other, because, well, why would we? We’ll never see each other again.
Work travel involves waiting in line for everything – in line to get on planes, in line to get rental cars, in line to get food, in line to get help for some travel hiccup. I can see why there’s the ‘fast lane’ for a lot of business travel services.
Redeye traveling is the most stupid way of traveling, especially to different time zones. It only took three or four times waking up at 3:30AM to catch a flight to the midwest from the east coast to get to my office around 9AM on a Monday for me to realize it was better to wake up at a reasonable time, show up after lunch and not be a zombie.
Work travel is expensive and the add-on fees are annoying. Companies dedicated to work travel (Marriotts, Hyatts, airlines, etc) just nickle and dime the crap out of their customers (internet fees, priority boarding fees, and so on). I found it incredible annoying. The companies can do it because their customers are generally not paying the fees.
There are really neat perks to work travel. Loyalty programs can turn out to be really neat – upgraded rooms, cars, and flights. New places to eat all the time, it’s great! New sights and sounds to experience all on someone else’s dime. Overall, I enjoyed the experience a lot but it was a pretty steep learning curve for me. I also learned that smiling and being nice to people helping me went a really long way. It seems like most customer service reps in the work travel industry are used to being screamed at or being treated poorly. Just being nice bought me better experiences.
So, I’m done with work travel for awhile. Next, I’ll be doing a lot of personal travel with my wife. It’ll be fun to see how it’s different!
I added a few photo albums of travel pictures – just pictures I took over the last year or so and why it was meaningful to me. For everyone else, it’d probably be pretty boring.
The cool part of work travel:
The sweet plane views:
The boring part of work travel: