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Personal Travel versus Business Travel
Old 01-30-2011, 11:22 PM   #1
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Personal Travel versus Business Travel

I have read many people saying that since they have traveled so much for work, they no longer want to travel in retirement.

My jobs did not require me to travel that much. Still I dreaded work related travel. Most of the time, it let me see the inside of airports, the lobbies of megacorps, their conference rooms, their labs, and then the hotel rooms. And I was often too tired to even think of trying to get a nice dinner to compensate for the hassle. Of course, if one gets assigned to a nice location for an extended period like a few months, perhaps it would allow more time to explore and to experience something worthwhile. But then, it would come with different types of hassle. I'd rather not!

So, while at megacorps, I have seen many coworkers clamoring to go on boondoggle trips, but I never wanted to go unless it was truly necessary for me to go. It was a good thing that my geeky work was usually one to do in solitude and in isolation.

For a while, my wife had to travel for quite a bit in her past work, in order to visit her subordinates in some far-flung remote offices. You can guess whether she enjoyed that!

But personal traveling in our own time, at our own pace, and with our own itinerary is something else entirely. Of course it is at my expenses, but my, the difference to business travel is night and day. Yes, even if it means that, being frugal as I am, I have never paid for my own business class airfare and have to suffer the coach seat. Or that I most likely stay in cheaper and more touristy hotels. But the difference is that I am now traveling for leisure, for me, me, me, and not for w*rk.

One of my brothers had to travel all over the world for business. He worked for an esteemed high-tech company with a world-wide presence. His travel wore him out. And although he had been to some of the same European cities that I had been as a tourist, and even spent a longer time there than I did, did he enjoy the same experience as I did? Well, he said he wanted to tough it out for a few years until he could get a promotion and had the authority to send somebody out in his place.

But would he enjoy taking his family to the very same locations for a vacation? You betcha!
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Old 01-31-2011, 01:53 AM   #2
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I manage to squeeze in some private hours or even a half day here and there whenever I have to travel for business.
Still, private travelling is a different story and the travelling bug is in my genes.
Having 30 paid days off here in Germany + a teacher DH enabled my to do a lot of travelling so far.
More time for travelling is one of our primary reasons for ER, starting in 2012.

I have observed people who travel a lot for business to expect the same level of comfort or even luxury when they travel privately. Think of business class seats, 4+ star hotels, spas, taxi.
We are not into luxury travelling. There are lots of reasonably priced hotels or appartments in any place if you do your research. I'd rather stay longer and do as the locals do.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:11 AM   #3
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But personal traveling in our own time, at our own pace, and with our own itinerary is something else entirely. Of course it is at my expenses, but my, the difference to business travel is night and day. Yes, even if it means that, being frugal as I am, I have never paid for my own business class airfare and have to suffer the coach seat. Or that I most likely stay in cheaper and more touristy hotels. But the difference is that I am now traveling for leisure, for me, me, me, and not for w*rk.
And even more enjoyable in an RV.
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Old 01-31-2011, 04:44 AM   #4
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What ever fun/joy might have been had by extending or enhancing biz trips I never took advantage - my single minded goal when on the road was how to get home the fastest. Even though I qualified for numerous quota club trips to some pretty exotic places (south africa, cruise thru the greek isles, hawaii, etc, etc) I never went. Being on the road Sun-Fri just sucked the life out of me. I wasn't able to just focus on my job, guess I had major OCD about getting the heck off the plane and back to my own home.

Since we have kids+grandkids spread out over the western states a RV is the future plan. We were looking again this weekend. When we sell our place in California and move to Arizona we will be buying the RV at the same time we buy the new place.
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Old 01-31-2011, 08:43 AM   #5
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I guess you did not meet someone like my brother... he flys around the world with a tech company... sometimes working a few months at a location... but if it is a short time, like a few weeks, he takes a week of vacation at the end of the trip to do the vacation thing... so his cost is only the variable cost of food and accomodations...
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Old 01-31-2011, 10:30 AM   #6
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I extended several business trips to Europe (in fact, I have never gone there on my own dime). And usually it would work out that I was supposed to fly back on a weekday. So I would fly back the following weekend, or something like that (say, an extra 8 to 9 days). And that would only count as 5 business days vacation.

Once I had 3 days of business in London, Tuesday through Thursday, and it was a pretty easy business trip. I took my uncle. We arrived days early, explored London together. And then we went out on the evenings I had my meetings. On Thursday afternoon we were on a train to Scotland to visit the hometown of our relatives that came to America 150 years ago. After exploring Glasgow we rented a car and drove to this small town of about 2500 people. Our surname is quite uncommon in America, but we realized we were parked next to "Kramer prints" and down the street was "Kramer meats". Our maid's sister was married to a Kramer. It was a great trip. This was pre-internet and I researched the archives in Edinburugh to fill in the gaps for a book my cousin was writing on the Kramers. We even found some interesting Kramer tombstones.

We flew home the following Saturday and my uncle, who is now 73 and has early stage emphysema, can no longer travel or even walk very far. He tells me with a big smile every chance that he gets that that was the best trip of his life and an experience he will never ever forget.
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:12 PM   #7
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About extending the stays for personal reasons, I have been able to do that only once. I like to travel with my wife, and many times, my employer sent me out without much notice. It was nearly impossible for my wife to make arrangements quickly. Airfares for her seat were also more expensive on such a short notice. And then, they would want me to go back to report on and continue to work the problems locally. Goofing off, even if it were on my vacation days, would not look good.

Most of the time, my and my wife business travels were to domestic locations, which were not too exotic to extend the stay. However, the fringe benefits from my wife's travel - she traveled more than me - were all the frequent miles and the good hotel deals that she got. Oh, I still remember so many nice hotels that we stayed in Sidney, Auckland, Paris, London, Monaco, Amsterdam, and Geneva, etc..., that my frugal nature would not let me do it if it weren't for the good deals that my wife got.

I would not pay a lot for nice hotel rooms because we travel for sightseeing, not to stay cooped up in a nice room and to order room service. But if it costs the same as a tourist accommodation, then of course why not?
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Old 02-01-2011, 09:36 PM   #8
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Personal travel is way better than business travel for me.

I did have to do a lot of business travel and a little of it was very enjoyable such as to conferences and the like. With small kids however I was very keen to get back, even from enjoyable business trips. Once the kids had left home DW was able to accompany me on some trips to Europe. I was entitled to business class travel but the company policy was to pay for a spouse's ticket if the combined costs were less than a business class ticket, and I sometimes got coach class tickets for as little as $500 versus $5k for business.

The last such trip with DW was to Barcelona. I had 3 days of meetings during which she explored the city with a couple of other spouses and we were together in the evenings. I then took 2 days vacation so we had Thur, Fri and Sat by ourselves and flew home on the Sunday.

The other "good" thing about business travel was the airline miles. We had loads of "free" flights over the last 20 years including tickets for our parents to visit us from the UK and for my Dad to fly to Australia to visit my brother. (We also took the kids to Australia twice on free tickets).
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Old 02-03-2011, 02:44 PM   #9
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After over 30 years of being on the road and never working in an office I look forward to retirement and travel on my terms. There is no comparison between business and leisure travel. I will miss the perks of free airfare, rental cars and hotels but look forward to expanding the experience with my DW. Now we try to take a couple trips a year which is challenging because of limited time. Now the tough part - I have no problem going down a notch or two in accomodations but my DW does not share this philosophy. We'll see.
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Old 02-03-2011, 04:54 PM   #10
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There is no comparison between business and leisure travel.
Exactly. When traveling on business you are on the payroll 24 hr/day. First, all the usual business stuff starting with a 'working breakfast' (that I don't eat at home), all day at 'meetings', take the peons out for supper, then spring for a drink or 4. Back to hotel, process email till 3 AM. Go home (after a 5 hour delay at airport) arrive 3 AM Saturday. Weekend ruined. Go to w*rk Monday. Get static about, why didn't you catch a Cubs game? Or some other BS.
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Old 02-10-2011, 09:59 PM   #11
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Personal travel is always better than business travel but I did enjoy my business travel days. I guess they were enjoyable and I have fond memories of them because :-

1. they were not that many (about 3 times a year).
2. they were on business class flights and 5 star hotels.
3. the allowance for food was generous such that even when I worked late, I get to eat a good dinner and I get to start the day with a sumptous breakfast.
4. I usually get time to use the hotel gym plus a bit of lunch time shopping
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Old 02-11-2011, 07:00 AM   #12
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I never liked business travel. After the first few times, all airport terminals, hotel lobbies, courthouses and law firm conference rooms look the same, and I saw virtually nothing else of the cities to which I traveled. I was constantly pushing to get there at the last possible minute, get the job done and get back as soon as possible, all the while tethered to the incessantly demanding Blackberry.

Of course, my earlier travel courtesy of the USN was an entirely different matter.
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Old 02-11-2011, 01:24 PM   #13
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I do a moderate amount of business travel - say 10-12 trips annually. Some of them are conferences, usually paid for by me (in which case if I extend my stay, it's my business) or by the conference organizers (when I am doing an invited presentation). I also travel with some national organizations to a wide variety of places, some of which I might not have considered visiting otherwise. It's almost always economy class airfare and the hotels are business standard, or the best available in small communities. The work is always done as a team and it's always interesting, but there are always reports to write late into the night! And then there are those urgent meetings that require me to catch the 5:30 am flight, spend the entire day working, and return home by midnight. Ewww!

I do enjoy personal travel more, because it's a choice. I look forward to ER when I can take 5-6 weeks to travel somewhere exotic and stay a while (and use up some of those frequent flyer points).
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Old 03-05-2011, 01:51 PM   #14
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When working I probably travelled for 20-25 days a year mostly to US and Europe. Sometimes I was able to book the company jet-that was pretty cool for a while. Very often in the later years I was with my boss so that took a lot of the enjoyment away. Now that we are retired we travel about 60-70 days a year out of the country and it's a lot more fun. Of course we stay at much better places now that the corporate auditors aren't reviewing my expense reports and I don't have to pretend to be productive for at least a part of the day.
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Old 03-05-2011, 02:29 PM   #15
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I never liked business travel. After the first few times, all airport terminals, hotel lobbies, courthouses and law firm conference rooms look the same, and I saw virtually nothing else of the cities to which I traveled. I was constantly pushing to get there at the last possible minute, get the job done and get back as soon as possible, all the while tethered to the incessantly demanding Blackberry.
Ditto.

Business travel is to leisure travel what a proctology exam is to massage.
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Old 05-15-2011, 02:44 PM   #16
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I lived in London and travelled to Europe (Paris, Frankfurt, Milan etc) at least once a week. A typical travel day would be:

4:30am wake up
5:15 taxi pick up
6:30 flight from Heathrow
8am land
9:30 meetings (lucky if you were given lunch)
6pm leave for airport
7pm miss flight due traffic
8pm finally leave
10pm land after circling Heathrow for 30 mins
10:30 wait for a taxi
11pm home

Then my friends would ask what I did that week and I'd say I was in Paris on Wednesday. Oh how lovely, they'd say. I'd just glare at them.
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Old 05-15-2011, 05:49 PM   #17
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I lived in London and travelled to Europe (Paris, Frankfurt, Milan etc) at least once a week. A typical travel day would be:

4:30am wake up
5:15 taxi pick up
6:30 flight from Heathrow
8am land
9:30 meetings (lucky if you were given lunch)
6pm leave for airport
7pm miss flight due traffic
8pm finally leave
10pm land after circling Heathrow for 30 mins
10:30 wait for a taxi
11pm home

Then my friends would ask what I did that week and I'd say I was in Paris on Wednesday. Oh how lovely, they'd say. I'd just glare at them.

Sounds like MY business travel entirely!!! I spent a week in Miami Beach once, and I worked 18 hour days and never saw the water. I could go on....
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