Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Business Vacation



by jpaul (bio)

Modern mormon men never complain about taking too many vacations. However, I often hear complaints about business travel. Why not try a “Business Vacation”?

I have the opportunity of developing and updating the Business Travel Guidelines as a Policy Advisor for a Fortune 10 Company as part of my day job. As such, I often hear complaints from disgruntled business travelers. But I believe, if used correctly, business travel should be considered a valuable perk. This, of course, assumes that you are not a consultant who travels 120% of your life...You have reason to complain, but then again, you chose the job. I also have to admit that I read Ken Craig's post after writing this and realized that once you have more than a couple kids (7 in his case; see below), the only realistic vacation is wherever there is close friends and family within driving distance of a mini-van.

For those of us who are not yet at the Brady Bunch family size and who travel once a month or even once a year for work, embrace business travel and turn it into a vacation. Business trips are extremely underutilized in my opinion. Take last week for example; 20 colleagues and I flew to Washington D.C. for business. The meetings were conveniently scheduled on Thursday and Friday and happened to coincide with the Cherry Blossom Festival, considered one of the city’s greatest events. Of the 20, only myself and one other flew our spouses out and stayed for the weekend. I thought it was madness that my colleagues spent their Friday night sitting on a plane rather than enjoying a weekend in D.C. paid for mostly by the company.

You may say to yourself, the company only paid for your flight and expects you to fly home Friday. What about the change fee and all the other costs? Actually most business travel guidelines will pay for your return flight at a later date as long as the cost is less than or equal to your originally scheduled flight. (a Monday flight will always be cheaper than a Friday night flight.) My wife flew out on miles that we had previously accrued from previous business trips = free. The monuments and museums in D.C. = free. We stayed at a friend’s = free. $15 dollar/day rental car = $60. Food = $75. A trip that ended up costing me $135 would have cost $835 (assuming $350/ticket) if it had not been for my company subsidizing our airfare costs.

Next time you are on a business trip, why not stick around for the weekend and consider yourself lucky that you have a job that occasionally sends you on a “Business Vacation”?

Family in DC minus 2 kids and 1 on the way

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