Business travel

Travel for secular "pleasurable" purposes is a fairly recent concept. For most of human history, people either traveled for religious reasons or out of economic necessity, hence business travel may well be the oldest form of travel. This article deals with this concept.

High-travel jobs

I realized that selling was the greatest career a man could want. ’Cause what could be more satisfying than to be able to go, at the age of eighty-four, into twenty or thirty different cities, and pick up a phone, and be remembered and loved and helped by so many different people?Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller

Sales is the classic high-travel occupation, so much so that "traveling salesman" has become a bit of a cliché. Consulting can also mean high travel, but on a somewhat less intense scale, as individual consulting gigs can sometimes last weeks or months and can easily turn into long-distance commuting. In general, any very specialized job, where customers are few but can afford to (or have no choice but to) fly in experts will tend to mean high travel.

Transportation workers such as truck drivers, bus drivers, locomotive engineers and ship crews see many places through work. The airline industry also offers good travel opportunities. Aside from the obvious pilots and cabin staff, maintenance crew and sales & marketing people may also fly extensively, and even desk job employees can often fly for free or very cheaply using space-available seats.

Academia, including research, studies and teaching, also offers international travel. See Studying abroad and teaching English.

Language experts can often find work as interpreters, translators and teachers abroad.
Some academic subjects that naturally contain travel for field research, are aerospace engineering, anthropology, astronomy, archaeology, biology, civil engineering, geology, geography and meteorology; see also science tourism.

Military personnel may get to work abroad, though this depends on the country and your position. "Join the Navy, See the World" is a classic slogan. Going abroad in uniform does not necessarily mean going to war; most missions are about training, observation, logistics, or peacekeeping. Military travel comfort is usually low by civilian standards, also your opportunities to seriously visit the foreign country you're stationed in may be rather limited. Fraternization with the local population might be restricted.

Diplomacy and consular service requires travel by necessity; see diplomatic missions.

Astronauts - as astronauts are frequently recruited from among the top notch academic and pilot talent of a nation, astronauts tend to have high travel jobs prior to their first astronaut training already. As training facilities and other workplaces of astronauts are spread out around the whole country or even several continents (the European launchpad is in French Guyana), travel across the surface of Earth is a given even if you never do in fact reach space. After the active career many an astronaut has started their own related business, made a fortune as a motivational speaker or - as is the case with "firsts" in any space-related field - has become a quasi-ambassador for their country. If you don't like travel, space-faring might just not be the job for you.

Religious personnel such as chaplains and missionaries typically travel to exotic places. The assignment is usually combined with humanitarian work.

Journalism, writing and photojournalism might include travel. This is however a high-competition business with poor job security.

Health personnel such as doctors and nurses can work on board ships, or in isolated communities. In some countries a mandatory stint in some far-off region is actually a required part of your job-training

Au pair service is an interesting way for young people to see a foreign country.

Various there are also various other occupations in information technologies, human resources, management, retail etc. that require travel for various purposes such as to install or maintain computer systems or other equipment; provide training to colleagues based in the destination; establish facilities (field offices, stores, factories,etc); buy inventory; recruit locals to work in the newly established facility; etc. etc.

Some people work as digital nomads, typically working on a laptop computer near a beach or in some other interesting location.


Travel to exotic locales, staying in quality hotels, maybe even flying business class may sound like an all-expenses-paid vacation. But it's not: in the end, business travel often boils down to the stress of working combined with the hassle of travel, only now you'll often be working in an unfamiliar environment without the ability to walk down to your colleague's cubicle and ask for advice. You are only rarely in control of your own schedule. Being on the road constantly can have an adverse impact on:

If offered a high-travel job, think about it carefully. It can be an interesting experience when young and single, but it can quickly become a drag.


Of course, business travel does have its positive aspects.

Get around

Business travellers can in many cases afford high-cost options, for a speedy and comfortable journey.


Before you travel

On the road

Stay safe

Business travellers are more likely to visit places like Lagos, Bogotá or Jakarta where few tourists would go for fun. The general advice in Staying safe and Arriving in a new city still applies, only it's much more important for business travel: a scruffy backpacker may draw interest because he probably has a wad of cash stashed somewhere, but a guy in a suit toting a laptop case, speaking into his late-model cellphone while signing bills with his platinum credit card is a far more enticing target. Consider the following precautions:

Stay healthy

Make sure your health insurance also covers travel-related illnesses, including treatment in other countries and medical evacuation.

See also

Working abroad

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, March 06, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.