Business Travel FAQs: Finding a job that requires travel

Victorinox werks 5When you are a business traveler, there are some questions that you get all the time. What kind of places do you go? Where are your favorite places? Don’t you get lonely? How does your husband cope? How can you fit all your clothes into that tiny suitcase?

I’ve been compiling these questions for a while now, and I’ll be answering them by topic. Some of the topics include:

  • Finding a job that requires travel (today)
  • Packing
  • Home life
  • Best stories

If you have any questions about business travel life then email me or send them in the comments. Doesn’t matter if they fall into these categories or not–I love questions!

Today I want to answer questions about the first topic above, finding a job that requires travel. Here are some of the most common questions about becoming a business traveler.

You’re so lucky to travel all the time! How can I find a job that requires travel?

Honestly, at first I took this job in spite of the travel, not because of it! I didn’t know anyone who traveled frequently for work and felt totally alone and unprepared.

These days there are tons of jobs that travel. Some jobs that usually have travel involved are consultants and area salespeople. Often jobs that are remote or at satellite offices will require travel back to headquarters. Or jobs that work with customers in different locations. On my team we have salespeople, engineers, project managers, marketing managers, and developers, and almost all of us travel to visit customers at least quarterly.  So while there are certainly jobs that require travel by their very nature, a lot of it depends on the company.

Wouldn’t it be nice if job finding websites had that as a filter? I’ve checked a few and haven’t found one yet, so if anyone knows of one please post in the comments.

Are there different responsibilities for a job that requires travel?

Obviously in large part the responsibilities for any job depend on the actual job, whether there is travel involved or not. That said, there are some common requirements and responsibilities that I’ve seen across virtually all jobs that have a travel component.

  • Attention to detail. Almost everyone who travels for work has to keep track of expenses in some form or fashion.
  • Comfortable in new situations. Visiting new offices or customers requires you to feel comfortable in new situations relatively quickly.
  • Flexibility. Anyone who travels knows there are delays and interruptions all the time, and you need to be able to go with the flow.
  • Self motivated. If you are traveling frequently you won’t have someone physically looking over your shoulder to make sure your work is done. It’s important to be self-motivated.

Is it strange to not see your boss frequently?

Before this job I worked in sales at a large corporation, and was in a “cubicle-farm” type of office for 9-10 hours per day. My boss kept very close track of what his team was doing and when. So yes, going from a very micromanaged environment to working at home, traveling all the time, and having virtually no boss “supervision” was quite the shock.  At first I felt like I had to email my boss, who was located half the country away, every morning to prove to her that I was working. It wasn’t anything she expected–I just didn’t know how else to interact with her! Eventually I grew accustomed to managing my time and workload, updating my boss when needed, and utilizing our weekly 1-1s to stay connected.

The other big transition was having no coworkers around me. I am very social by nature, and the first year I felt very isolated. But I focused on having lunch dates with friends whenever possible, getting to know my new coworkers, and building relationships when I traveled. Then a few years later the Home Warrior started working at home and I was never alone anymore!

Readers, what questions to you get about traveling for business? Do you have any questions you’d like to see answered?

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Comments

  1. are there any websites you recommend that offer jobs for people that want to travel? e.g. i am a bachelor, no kids, etc and i would be ideal for such a job!

  2. are there any web sites you recommend for finding jobs that require traveling? i’m a perfect candidate. bs/ms in science. bachelor. no kids. love traveling.

    thanks. love your site!

  3. Same here. Will love to be in a regional role. Do send over your advice and I adore your site!

  4. As an engineer, I’ve traveled most of my career as an engineering project manager. Some other areas with a lot of travel are supply chain jobs – procurement, supplier quality, distribution, IT business analyst, etc.

  5. Can you please write a post about how compensation works? Both reimbursement for expenses and compensation for travel time/hassle. Obviously it varies by employer/industry, I’m sure you can paint with broad strokes and cover this in general terms.

    Also wondering what the requirements/qualifications are for jobs that require lots of travel.

    Thanks!

  6. I currently travel often for my job as an internal auditor. I have been traveling for almost 3 years now, so I am a pro at the major things – packing, tracking, etc. But, I am entering a new chapter of my life as my husband and I are talking about having kids. As a traveling mom, I am wondering about things like:

    Do you have to tell your employer earlier than normal that you’re pregnant?
    What other factors comes into play when you’re traveling while pregnant or get to the point in your pregnancy where you cannot travel anymore?
    After you come back from maternity leave, what are the big changes in your travel experiences? Obviously missing your child is a big one, but I was wondering if there were other things that stood out.

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