Why We Love Business Travel (Taking the Positive View)By Jeanne Hopkins
Travel is a proven relationship booster. Business road trips can help strengthen your partnership and also interactions with friends and co-workers.
The more you travel for business, the easier it becomes to complain about it. The novelty and luster wear off pretty quickly.
What was exciting is now routine, and the inevitable irritations can suck the fun right out of the experience.
Worst case, you could sour on travel altogether. What a loss that would be! Before you fall victim to such a thing, let’s look at the sweeter side of business travel.
Because business travel does not totally suck.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder. No, really.
Turns out there is truth to this old adage. Travel is a proven relationship booster, so business road trips can help strengthen your marriage or partnership and also interactions with friends and co-workers.
According to well-known clinical psychologist, Dr. Joshua Klapow, “As humans, when something is not new or novel or different, it commands less of our attention.” That’s true for everything in our lives, he says, from partners to food. When you’re around your partner (or friend or co-worker) all the time, it’s like “eating your favorite food over and over — no matter how much you love it, after a while, you may start getting a little tired of it. Separation, he says, works like a palate cleanser, reminding us how much we really do like the qualities we’ve become overly accustomed to.
“So separation is basically a reminder to us that we get reinforcement or reward out of our partners. And you can’t know that until you’re separated.”
Research conducted at MIT reveals that “people spend more time catching up when they have been out of contact for longer [periods].” This is especially true when the separation involves greater distances. Summing up their study, researchers noted that “the conclusion is clear – for all of us, absence does indeed make the heart grow fonder.”
Travel feeds your inner vacation planner
Are you one of those people who goes somewhere new each trip, so the experience is always freshly different? Or someone who likes to go back to places you’ve been before, where you feel comfortable and can dig deeper? There are obvious reasons to do both, and it can be tough to decide.
Business travel is a benefit either way. It can introduce you to a new city, state, or country, lighting a spark of desire to add this place to your must-visit list so you can really see what it has to offer. It can also give you at least a small sense of familiarity that makes this place a good candidate for your must-return list.
Either way, this is great. Savvy employers encourage travelers to think “bleisure” when planning business trips. But it’s not always possible to add even a day or two. Nonetheless, you can get at least a glimpse and brief taste of the locale.
Travel broadens your horizons
The busier you are at work, especially if you’re a road warrior, the more quickly you can develop tunnel vision. Time away lets you literally take a step back. You can take a breath and gain some new perspective – on life as well as work.
Diverse surroundings and people and experiences make you a better employee and a better person all around because you gain awareness and deeper understanding of different cultures and approaches to problem solving.
You become more adaptable, not only to unfamiliar local conditions but to the vicissitudes of travel. The ability to just roll with it is one of the most valuable traits you can develop in business as well as in your personal life. Look at it this way. When something goes wrong – and it almost always does – you’ll have a story to share with family and colleagues. They can laugh or commiserate with you. And if, wonder of wonders, your trip goes perfectly, well, that’s a story you’ll want to tell, too.
And let’s not forget the food!
How can you get even more love from business travel?
Sometimes what you really need is a do-nothing day pampering yourself at the hotel spa. But even with limited free time you could get out and explore this new place. Stroll the streets. Visit a museum or historical site. Shop for local goodies to bring home as gifts. Sample the local food.
Or take your inspiration from travel bloggers Dave and Deb of PlanetD: “When standing at the top of a mountain, overlooking a world heritage site or witnessing an incredible sunset we cannot believe that we are there. Travel has allowed us to witness some of the greatest sites on earth. It has allowed us to be touched to the core and feel completely connected to the planet. What more is there to love.”
Look on the bright side
The purpose of business travel is to benefit your company, not you personally, so you need to keep that in perspective. The next time you’re slated for a business trip, instead of whining and moaning to yourself, focus on the positives. You’re doing great things for your company. And you’re doing some pretty great things for yourself, too.