Not all solo travellers are single people roaming the world alone. Many solo travellers are members of the business community. Travelling for work is a great way to build your confidence and see some new places during the course of your career.
I won’t pretend that it is not exhausting at times, but if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel as part of your job put your hand up and say “Count me in!”.
I can see some of you dancing at the prospect while others will have a list of reasons why they can’t say “Yes!” before I even finish this sentence. That’s OK, when you are ready you will take the chance.
My experience travelling for work
My job often requires me to travel to meet the requirements of the project that I am working on. I can be away from home anything from a few nights to more than a month. Some projects require that I am away from home Monday to Friday for several months at a time.
I have travelled to various Australian cities and regional areas as part of my career.
I have also joined projects that have afforded me the opportunity for international travel.
Some of the destinations that I have travelled to for work are New Zealand, Singapore, Thailand, China, and Laos.
I have found that being willing and able to travel can open up some great opportunities for both your career and your personal growth. Not to mention the chance to meet some amazing people and sample life as local in the places you are visiting.
Balancing travel and family life
Now this can be tricky situation if you have a partner who does not support your decision or a young family to look after.
Before you get the impression that I am a “footloose and fancy free” woman without any responsibilities I should share that I am a single mum who has managed to juggle her family commitments in a way that enables me to work and travel.
Travelling for work is something that I have done since my daughter was a toddler and it is considered the norm in our home. If my travel co-insides with school holidays, my daughter, who is now in her teens, often has the option to travel with me.
Staying in touch
If you have loved ones at home or friends that you catch up with on a regular basis make the effort to stay in touch if you are going to be away for long periods of time.
Make a pact with your kids or partner to call or Skype at the same time every night to share your respective days.
Sailing Catamaran, Bali, Indonesia
Make the most of the opportunity
The whole world looks the same from inside the office or inside a hotel room.
If you do get the opportunity to go somewhere for work make sure you get out and about after hours and see something of the city or region that you are visiting.
Eating half cold room service meals in your hotel room is a miserable existence. Get out and see some sights and sample the local foods. Your colleagues should be able to point you toward their favourite restaurants and any other local places that are worth a visit.
Scout out places that you might like to recommend, or return to, with your friends or family on the next holiday.
Socialising after hours
Meeting up with your colleagues after work can be a fantastic opportunity to build relationships and do a little networking.
If you do go out with your colleagues and alcohol is involved, know your limits. Don’t damage your precious professional reputation by going overboard. It is never a good look to arrive at work the next day, late and hung-over, after a night out. If your company conducts regular ‘fit for work’ (drug and alcohol) testing be extra careful. You don’t want your night out to become the stuff of company legend for all the wrong reasons!
Surviving long term assignments
If you are going to be located in the same place for a month or more consider using your location as base to travel to other destinations on the weekends.
You will be amazed how much you can fit into a weekend if you leave on a Friday night and return on Sunday.
Make list of places you would like to see or activities that you enjoy and see what is available in the surrounding regions.
Look after your health
It is easy to put on weight when you are eating in restaurants or take out venues for breakfast lunch and dinner. Scan the menu options carefully to make the best possible choices or make a journey to the supermarket to stock up on healthy snacks.
If you are flying or sitting for many hours it is important to keep up your exercise routine as much as possible. Get outside. Run, walk or jog, you’ll be surprised how much better you will feel and how much you will notice in the streets around you when exploring on foot.
Many hotels offer gym facilities and some gyms will even let you use your membership in more than one location. Exercise videos are easy to download from you-tube if you prefer to workout in the privacy of your room.
Know your company travel policy
Check your company travel policy to see if it is allowable for you to earn frequent flyer points on flights, hire cars and hotels when travelling work. If the answer is “Yes”, sign up for the frequent flyer program of the preferred service provider to your company.
If you have the option to choose a hotel, pick one that is affiliated with the airline so that you can collect additional points for staying and dining in the hotel. Ditto for hire cars.
Frequent flyer points are great reward for business travellers. Your family may even forgive you for being away when the points mean that you can claim a free flight or two to boost your next family holiday budget.
Travel light and get home on an earlier flight
If you want to catch that earlier flight on a Friday night, check your fare conditions. Flexible fares will give you more options than standard fares.
If you do not have a flexible fare, travelling with carry-on only, and politely asking the service desk staff if you can get on an earlier flight, can greatly increase your chances of getting home early.
Once you check your bags you are committed to that flight and are unlikely to be able to make any changes to your itinerary.