For some people, their jobs demand them to travel frequently and living in a hotel away from home is second nature to them. Fortunately for me, my job doesn’t require much traveling, in fact rarely ever except on special occasions, and recently it’s been one of those special occasions where my job required me to travel.
To brush up on my business and sales skills my company sent me to a two-week training class, and needless to say I’ve been living in a hotel the past two weeks. At first, I thought of it as a nice little all-expense paid vacation and it kind of is. My hotel is paid for, travel expenses paid for, all my meals paid for, and I get paid my base salary to literally go and sit in a classroom for a few hours a day. The classroom setting is extremely similar to the classroom setting of when I was in college, except this class didn’t cost me an arm and leg, in fact it didn’t cost me anything and I’m actually getting paid for it.
Benefits of Traveling for Work
Based on my own personal experience from having to travel for work, here are some the benefits I’ve discovered:
- Getting Paid to Take a Class. The class I’m taking is a sales/business class that’s equivalent to classes I paid to take in college.
- Traveling with Limited Expenses. I don’t get to travel too often, so when I get a chance to travel for work, I like to think of it as an all expense vacation. Expenses covered include the cost to travel there and back, my hotel room, and all my meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) for two weeks. Now if they covered all my booze I would be in heaven, considering alcohol is essentially my only expense.
- Having Fun While Getting Paid. Remember these are benefits based on my personal experience and I understand that most people who have to travel for work actually have to work, but I’ve actually been having a pretty good time. Class is fun most days, after class I get to go out and have drinks with my classmates (as I’m writing this a few of my classmates who are staying in the same hotel are trying to get me to go down to the hot-tub to have drinks with them, ooooh yeah and I’m also currently about five drinks in), and I’ve gotten the chance to meet some pretty cool new people. Needless to say, I’m going to be sad when I have to go home on Thursday and go back to work Friday…
- Meeting New People. When I first set out on this work trip I wasn’t sure what to expect, I never traveled by myself before and was worried about staying in a hotel by myself for two weeks not knowing anyone. I don’t know what I was worrying about because I ended up meeting many new people from all over and forming long lasting relationships.
- The Experience. I recently graduated college and this is my first job since I graduated, so it’s a great experience to travel on my own, live in a different environment, and meet people from different backgrounds.
While on this trip I’ve had the opportunity to meet many new people and form long-lasting relationships with them. We try to have a good time in class and then go out after to grab food and drinks. The perks of having to travel for work aren’t too shabby. When it’s over and I have to go back to work and reality I’ll be a bit sad. Although, I’ve also experienced downsides to traveling for work and living in a hotel.
Traveling for Work, the Downsides
Over the course of the last two weeks, I’ve experienced some downsides for work-related travel:
- Sleeping. Yes, I have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep in my hotel room. Unless I come back to the hotel loaded from a good time on the town with my classmates, I’m lucky if I get 3-4 hours of sleep a night. In fact the first few nights I was here I wasn’t able to sleep at all.
- Living in a Hotel Room. Fortunately, I haven’t had to spend too much time in my room other than to sleep, but it’s not something I’d want to get used to.
- Unhealthy Living. Normally I’m pretty disciplined about working out 3-4 times a week. Since I been living in a hotel the past two weeks I’ve lost that discipline and haven’t seen the inside of a gym since I’ve been here. Also, since I been here, I’ve had alcoholic drinks just about every night, not in a bad way, it’s been in a social setting while meeting new people and having fun. Although, my liver and wallet will be much happier when I get back home.
From my own personal experience, the benefits by far outweigh the downfalls of work-related traveling. I’m also aware that most people who travel for work don’t travel to take a business/sales training class, instead they’re actually working and many times have to travel frequently or all year round. My experience would have been much different if I had to travel up here and work instead of traveling up here to take a class.
A few things I would recommend to anyone who has to travel for work:
- Track Your Mileage. If you have to drive for your trip and are reimbursed per mile driven, be sure to track and record your mileage so you’re properly compensated.
- Save All Receipts. If you have to cover the cost of your meals up front, be sure to save all your meal receipts and file and organize them by the date they occurred. If you lose them, there’s a good chance you won’t be reimbursed.
- Pack Accordingly. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your destination and realize you forgot to pack certain items. Remember we want to take advantage of this all-expense paid trip, but the trip can become expensive if you have to go out and by new dress shirts and pants.
The Wrap Up
My experience would have been much different if I had to travel up here and work instead of traveling up here to take a class. If I came here to do my daily job I wouldn’t have had the chance to meet all the people I met, formed all the new relationships I formed, and had as much fun as I had. So, depending on why you’re traveling for work your situation and experience will vary. Although, if your place of employment ever offers you an all-expense paid opportunity to travel for a week or two, I’d recommend taking advantage of the opportunity!