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Any Road Warriors out there?
Old 12-17-2010, 01:03 PM   #1
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Any Road Warriors out there?

I've recently been offered a position that will pay considerably more than my current job. The amount is enough that it could/should significantly shorten the years between now and ER. The downside is that it involves about 50% travel. I am only asked to travel about 5% now and, while it is tolerable, I can imagine that 50% gets old fast.

Do any of you travel for work this much? Do you find it intolerable? How do you cope?


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Old 12-17-2010, 01:06 PM   #2
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over a million miles on United, took a toll on me, but there wasn't another option job-wise. I have friends who LOVE it, I was always calculating how fast I could get home (for a couple of years I was gone Sun nite and back Fri nite), that's not the way to do it, added tons of stress to an already stressful job.

good luck!

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Old 12-17-2010, 01:55 PM   #3
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I'm a very occasional work traveler, so I can't comment directly. But if I was in your situation, I'd also be looking at the perks related to frequent flyer miles and hotel programs.

The benefits would be especially rich if you get a mileage or hotel credit card and the employer lets you have some discretion in airlines and hotels, then reimburses you for travel expenses. One road warrior I knew well (75%+ on the road) was able to take his large family on an almost-free Christmas vacation every year, either to Hawaii or a ski resort.

The forum where the roadwarriors discuss all the ins and outs of maximizing miles and points is: Miles&Points - FlyerTalk Forums
There are other forums on the same board where you might post your question and have a good response.
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:21 PM   #4
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My husband was a road warrior for a number of years and believe me whilst those frequent flyer miles and free stays at the Hyatt might seem attractive now, when you are on the road a lot they soon lose their shine.

DH would often be gone for 4-6 weeks at a time, when he was on the road no matter what time of the day the US office would call him, ie. 3.00 a.m. in the morning to ask questions. You are expected to travel on weekends, he was asked to travel on Christmas day with the explanation that should be ok because we don't have children. Don't forget about the weight gain from eating out all the time and you can forget exercise because you are just too tired.

At the start of his journey it was fly what airline you like in business class and stay where you want. By time his period on the road was concluding finance were nickel and diming everything. All flights had to be on United, hotels could only be a max of $300 - try finding a room for that in Rome when you travel with 24 hours notice and the city is booked out due to conferences. Then they moved from paying per diem to having to be away for 10 days before per diem kicked in which meant a lot more paperwork as every receipt had to be kept for each cup of coffee consumed.

Oh and don't forget that sometimes finance can be a bit slow paying those reimbursements. When you are away for 6 weeks that means you are eating those expenses until you get back. At one stage we were owed in the region of $45k for travel expenses.

Would I recommend it for someone who has a family? Probably not, I think it is too hard on the body and the mind to be gone so much.

I be a girl, he's a boy. Think I maybe FIRED since July 08. Mid 40s, no kidlets. Actually am totally clueless as to what is going on with DH.
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Old 12-17-2010, 05:24 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by emi guy View Post
I've recently been offered a position that will pay considerably more than my current job. The amount is enough that it could/should significantly shorten the years between now and ER. The downside is that it involves about 50% travel. I am only asked to travel about 5% now and, while it is tolerable, I can imagine that 50% gets old fast.

Do any of you travel for work this much? Do you find it intolerable? How do you cope?


During my career of 33 years, I worked in engineering for 3 mega-corps. I often had jobs requiring travel -- some up to 50% of the time.

It gets very tiresome. The thought of staying in another hotel room or eating yet another bad meal out (even on someone else's dime), often at some ungodly hour, just doesn't interest me.

Now that I'm retired, I actually prefer to go camping than staying in a hotel room. At least I know who has previously been sleeping in my sleeping bag.

Travel has gotten steadily worse over the years...with the headaches of TSA inspections, the hassle of always being mindful of things you no longer can carry aboard with you, the added travel time to arrive early for flights, the infestations of bed bugs (in hotels of all calibers! ), the seemingly always-full flights are just a few of the things I don't miss.

And, as others have mentioned, your own time just evaporates when you are in a travel job. I've often had to stay 3 weeks straight at some podunk location. Once I drove out-of-state to a customer's site for what I thought was a one-day trip (so I had no bag packed)-- only to be told by the security guard upon arrival that I'd be staying for at least 3 days. Also, due to travel delays, I've often arrived home a day or two later than planned.

I used to say that I was 'working' 24 hours a day when I was on the road -- simply because, in my off hours, I could not be home doing the things I wanted to do with the people I wanted do them with. And it was not uncommon to be expected to work extra hours, go to meetings, etc. on my evenings away, as the company knew I didn't have anything else to do.

As someone else mentioned, gaining weight is a big possibility. It's often difficult to find healthy options and reasonable portions when on the road. If I was staying in one location for a while -- usually my first stop was at a grocery store to buy things like fruit -- just so I could have some to eat, as many restaurants just don't offer it.

Another possibility is over-drinking. I ran into far too many road warriors who basically entertained themselves by sitting in the hotel bar every evening.

On the flip side, I'm one who likes a lot of stimulation. So I enjoyed going to all kinds of locations and interacting with a lot of different people and working on all types of projects. It's something I still miss.

I like to travel and I do that frequently now that I'm retired. But company travel hardly compares with leisure travel. Company travel => I was told where to go, for how long, which parking lot I had to park in at the airport, what flights I could take, what to do when I was there, plus someone reviewed my travel expenses to make sure I stayed at approved hotels and didn't over-spend on meals, etc. etc. Leisure travel => I do what I want, when I want, with whom I want

My mega-corps let me keep the frequent flyer miles and the hotel points that we earned. Trouble is, there are many black-out dates and planes are so full these days that it is often difficult to find a frequent flyer seat (although you can definitely buy a seat on the same flight).

I even tried to be more efficient with my time. I'd go to the laundromat on my last night out-of-town, just so I could bring home a suitcase full of clean clothes and have to not spend my few precious hours at home running the washer and dryer.

Technology has made business travel a bit more tolerable. Having access to the internet, being able to make low or no-cost long distance calls to friends and family on cell phones, being able to listen to music that you like on your iPod (versus being a small town with only 2 radio options: country music and Christian radio), and having GPS to help guide you to your destination are a few that I can think of.

Bottom-line, I just found business travel to be very tiring and very unappreciated by the folks back at the main office.


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Old 12-17-2010, 05:31 PM   #6
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When you wake up in a hotel and don't know what city you are in; you know the traveling has gotten old.
Sometimes death is not as tragic as not knowing how to live. This man knew how to live--and how to make others glad they were living. - Jack Benny at Nat King Cole's funeral
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Old 12-17-2010, 06:44 PM   #7
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I tried doing 100% travel (5 days/week) when my son was 2.5 yrs old. When I came home, he didn't really recognize me and was scared. Fortunately, this job lasted on 2 weeks. I took up 100% travel again when he was 5, for a 3 month contract, had to book my own housing/car/air. I had a hard time w/so much air travel, I found in ear earplugs helped a lot w/the air pressure that was getting to me. Next thing I know, I put in almost 3 1/2 years on the one contract from LA - Chicago. Was told I wouldn't get another contract from them. The next year, I get called back to do 2 weeks in LA and another 6 months in Tx. The biggest things that I never liked was the air travel, doing my own bookings for room/car/air (this added a lot of non billable time) and not being able to spend time w/the family the most of all. The less time zones you travel, the better. My rates were all inclusive, so I never stayed in hotel rooms, had to always rent a room from someone to keep costs down. I wish I was spoiled with staying in a hotel, felt like I always had to hustle to find a good place to stay, a good car rental and good airfare, etc.
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Old 12-17-2010, 10:13 PM   #8
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I was travelling Monday - Friday for about 6 months for a job. I never want to do it again. When there was a one week when I didn't travel, I looked in the fridge and realized I had nothing edible at home. Worse, I couldn't even REMEMBER what I typically eat, as it had been very, very long since I last cooked.

I totally missed out on the summer. When my friends were enjoying bike rides after work or barbecuing, I was sitting alone in a hotel room watching TV in the middle of nowhere. Even though my hotel and food were all paid for, at some point eating alone just gets depressing. I loved my choir but had to quit because I was never there for the rehearsals.

Even when I was home for the weekend, I was exhausted and didn't have energy to do anything fun. Plus there were still chords that needed to be done, so you never get any break. And you have to prepare for next week's work. It took a lot of preparation for me to work effectively off-site.

For me, the ideal is to travel 1 to 2 times a month, each time 2-4 days. That's the pace I'm most comfortable with.

Just my opinion, of course. It matters what the nature of your job is and what kind of places you will be going. In my case, I was mostly going to small, rural towns in the Midwest. YMMV.
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Old 12-18-2010, 12:36 AM   #9
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I traveled 100% of the time. Commuted 1200 miles to begin 3-6 day trip at least 3 times a month. Worked most holidays including Xmas. Fun for the first 10 years, ok for the next 8 years then really became a drag for the last 5 years. Ended up taking early retirement. Wife has to hold a gun to my head to travel by air now. Main complaints: tired all the time, 2 days to recooperate once home, TSA hassles, crummy hotels assigned by company, O'dark thirty wake ups, pay not commensurate with responsibilities in later years.
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Old 12-18-2010, 07:23 AM   #10
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OP, I am not sure if you are married or have kids.... but if so, please have a long talk with your spouse about this. When my DH has to travel for work for extended amounts of time, I find myself in a state of both missing him horribly AND being really ticked off to be left holding the bag of managing the whole house and the kids and the pets (while also working a full time job) when he is gone. Travelling is hard on the traveller, but can also be pretty hard on the family left behind.

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Old 12-18-2010, 07:59 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by emi guy View Post
Do any of you travel for work this much? Do you find it intolerable? How do you cope?

I did for many years, and that was the impetus that "broke the camel's back" and resulted in my retirement - earlier than planned.

In my case, I traveled to Europe every 4/6 weeks, with additional short trips in the U.S. in-between.

For Europe, I would have to leave on noon Saturday (flights generally leave at night going over) to arrive in early afternoon on Sunday (after a flight and train ride) to get a few hours sleep and be bright eyed for Monday morning (with the time difference).

I would leave at various times on Friday (depending on work/flight schedules - BTW my direct manager was in Europe) and would arrive home anywhere from 6PM Friday to mid-morning Saturday. That means that basically, the weekend before and the weekend after were "lost" due to travel, and trying to get back on schedule time wise, due to the six-hour difference.

While the pay was good (along with getting miles that allowed me/DW to travel quite extensively) after many years, it just wore me down.

When I finally determined that I did not need the j*b anymore (and with the agreement of my DW), I notified my manager that I was not going to travel anymore, and if I was forced to do so, I would just resign/retire.

It was funny, since I was telling them their options, rather than them telling me mine.

They responded with since I still had "value" to the company, I should stay, but any future promotions would be out the window (no problem with that...)

I stayed an additional year (without travel), and put in my retirement papers (at age 59, being with the company over 28 years). In my case, extensive use of tools such as NetMeeting meant that I didn't need to be "on site" as much; although you should be face-to-face with your customers/management once in awhile for some "touchy-feely" time.

If you're young and this will give you a "leg up" as far as your future, I would say go for it. While I don't regret what travel did for me, in my situation, I did get to the point where it was really wearing me down.

Additionially, extensive travel back in those days (late 90's - mid 2000's) was a bit easier. However with today's required security procedures, a full plane (terrible if you have to travel in the “cattle car” section - if you can’t score an upgrade) is something to be considered.

Good luck to you, regardless of your decision...
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:32 AM   #12
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Enjoyed traveling as a consultant, though did get tiresome; getting a break from it now working in a staff corporate role; would like to do some again before I put down the shovel. Some international travel would be nice.

Not so good for those who want to see their kids grow up.
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:23 AM   #13
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I was travelling about 25% for the last 26 years. It doesn't sound like much but it isn't "one week per month" it ends up clumping together in months of on the road for two weeks a month, off to Asia for a week, one week home then off to Europe.

I enjoyed it at first, then with kids and evening MBA and fighting cancer it got to be real old.

I second the advice to make sure spouse is on board and also the advice re: joining FlyerTalk. I am a very active FT member and have amassed 4.6 million frequent flyer miles and hotel points. Have taken the family to Hawaii three times and Vail twice for basically nothing...

I have always planned to retire at 55 and did so last August. I still feel the pain of having my now 14 year old son say, "Dad do you realize you have been out of town for 3 of my last 5 birthdays?"
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Old 12-18-2010, 09:39 AM   #14
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Road Warrior my entire career-

on the road 40+ weeks/year for 25 years. (still w*orking)
traveled to 54 countries
million-mile-flyer cards on 3 airlines
met a lot of interesting people
had a lot of really good travel experiences
had a lot of really bad travel experiences
had a lot of co-workers burn out after a few years
had an ex-wife burn out after 16 years
forgot to have kids
made a lot of money

when you're on the road you're always on the job.

If I had it to do over again, I wouldn't change a thing. For me it has been very rewarding, personally and professionally.

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Old 12-18-2010, 09:50 AM   #15
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Years ago when I worked for mega corp I had a position that required moderate travel, only about a week a month. At first it was kind of fun but the novelty soon wore off. Usually left on Sunday afternoon and was home by Friday evening. The first night away, no matter how nice the accommodations I never slept good. I did get in an exercise routine when I was on the road which was a good thing in light of all the business meals during the days and nights. Looking back I was glad I did it but given a do over, I wouldn't do it again. Just my two cents.
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:01 AM   #16
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I flew 270 times in 26 months and had over 145 nights a year with Hilton. I was thinking what I would have to have to do it again. For me $85K above my best offer to stay in my current area. And even with that it would be time limited and I would have to be home on the weekends. I have so many FF miles and hotel points that I have no ambition to use. It has been 3 yrs and I still am not interested.

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Old 12-18-2010, 10:03 AM   #17
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My late husband traveled frequently...his trips ranged from 3 day trips to a 2 week absence to the worst case of 26 I will list the pros and cons from my perspective...

No children, so I was able to tag along on my own nickel and go to places we could never have afforded at the time. Examples are Crete, Puerto Rico, Europe, Hawaii.
I missed him a lot, but I was very proud of what he was doing.
I pursued my own interests locally while he was away, making me an even more independent person. If I had to travel at the same time, I just boarded the dog.
Our relationship benefitted from the "absence makes the heart grows fonder...", i.e. we were not attached at the hip.

It was difficult to schedule our own vacations.
He had to do a multi-week travel right after I had my left hand operated on for carpal tunnel.
I had to attend a lot of social functions solo. I am an extrovert so it was OK for me to do so.
"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them." - Walt Disney
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Old 12-18-2010, 10:10 AM   #18
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I travel once or twice a month but it's flexible since I determine my schedule. Lately I've been kind of slack and have stayed in the office the past two months. Even with this flexibility it seems I'm always missing out on something.

The thing I'd ask about the new job is: how flexible is your travel schedule?

If it's 50% and restricted to weekdays that's one thing. If your leaving and arriving on the weekends, no thanks.
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:39 AM   #19
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I am travelling more and more for work but not on a predictable basis. Last year I probably had 15 work related trips. That's considerably less than many of you, and I don't have kids, but I still find it stressful and unhealthy. All the travel I do has to be paid for by me, with reimbursement at a later date. That may take 1-2 months. It's a good thing interest rates are low, else the time value of money would be an issue. I am changing jobs in 2011 and will am planning to dump some of my travel commitments.

Of course, if you haven't seen it already, this movie is required viewing before making a decision:

George Clooney in Up in the Air | Trailer & Official Movie Site
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Old 12-18-2010, 11:51 AM   #20
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Reading these posts and thinking about "what if", I'm realizing that the likely destinations would make a big difference to me if I was contemplating a switch like emi guy is.

Big cities = tolerable.

Podunk towns for longs stretches, with long drives, only fast food restaurants and third-tier lodging = no thanks.

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