476: Work Travel

A Thousand Things to Talk About
476: Work Travel

Would you take a job that involved a lot of traveling?

Full episode script

When I was younger and looking for jobs, there were several I considered that took more than a little bit of traveling. I seriously considered those jobs, but never ended up taking one before something else came along. What surprised me the most, though, was the reaction of many of those close to me when I talked about them. How could I want a job that involved rarely being at home? Wouldn’t I miss my house, my (as of then non-existent) pets, my family, my… well, you get the point.

There were many who argued that by this time in technological development, business travel would be a thing of the past. Video conferencing and fast shipping of physical items would combine to eliminate the need for people to travel. As The Economist put it in 2015, though:

There might be less demand for expensive jet-setting if promises of seamless teleconferencing had not proved so hollow. Anyone who has endured a jerky, muffled video-call might wonder if, like Jules Verne’s phonotelephote, it was being transmitted through distant mirrors. Sony is a leader in virtual-presence technology, says Chris Bowen, a former executive at that company (now at Carlson Wagonlit, a travel-management firm), yet, if its potential customers and competitors were gathering at a conference on the other side of the world, it would not send a hologram to attend.


And business travel is a fairly ingrained part of many jobs, no matter what color the collar of the job. A 2016 study by MMGY Global found that, of U.S. adults who have taken one overnight business trip and plan to take at least one more during the next 12 months, the number of business trips is increasing among all generations of travelers. Millenial workers in that study reported more than 7 business trips per year.


Separately, According to Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends report, the percentage of leisure trips that have a business component jumped to 17 percent, up from 11 percent in 2012 and 14 percent in 2015. There’s been a big rise in this so-called bleisure travel (all I can say there is… port-mant-NO.). It’s been a growth partially driven by desires to cut costs — businesses are more willing to give employees an extra day on a trip if it means saving a significant amount on flights for the trip.


Even outside these trips, there are also a number of jobs where technicians, service individuals, or managers are expected to cover larger geographic areas, which often involves a lot more travel than it has in the past.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.