The downsides of PR travel

Flying around the country on business does not make you a jet-setter. More likely, it makes you poorly rested, malnourished, and under-exercised—but at least you wait around a lot.

Spend any time on Facebook or Twitter following PR pros, and you’ll see plenty of it. Call it the “glorification of business travel”—or, simply, the #humblebrag version of business travel.

What I mean: those talking about their massive business travel schedules, bemoaning the fact that they have to do it, yet most likely sharing as a way to promote themselves.

I can’t fault these folks for doing that. If I were in their shoes, with client meetings on two different coasts each week, or three speaking gigs in three cities in a week, I might do the very same thing.

Before you glorify that lifestyle and set a goal to speak at 10 industry events in 2014, I feel an obligation to tell you about the substantial downsides of that choice.

Business travel can be exciting. Sure, in some senses, it can mean you’ve achieved a certain level of accomplishment (whether it’s making the client travel team, or in the speaking arena).

There can be some perks, like visiting NYC in the fall, and seeing a friend during the trip, but there are a lot of drawbacks.

Let’s look at some:

Your workday was just elongated to 18 hours

You think I’m joking. As anyone who has run a booth at CES knows how long those workdays can be. Even on the rare instances when I travel for business now, I find myself working nonstop because, what else is there to do when traveling? Don’t operate under the assumption that you do less on the road—you do much, much more.

Nutrition is completely out the window

Good luck finding foods that don’t include the word hamburger, steak, or fried. It’s not impossible, but it’s much tougher to maintain a healthy diet when traveling. There’s a reason many traveling salespeople gain weight.

Exercise is nonexistent

Remember that 18-hour workday? Well, it doesn’t exactly allow for an exercise regimen. I’m not saying no one sneaks in a run on the road, but you really have to work to find it.

Hours spent waiting-and waiting

Thirty minutes waiting in the security line. Fifteen minutes waiting to get on the plane. Another 40 minutes on the tarmac. Twenty minutes waiting for your bags you almost lost. Another 20 minutes waiting to pick up your car. You get the idea. Travel is a waiting game. No fun here.

Limited sleep

The older I get the more this one has fazed me. I rarely get good sleep when I’m traveling for work anymore. For me, it’s a combination of sleeping in a foreign environment and sleeping alone. For others, the reasons are different, but truly restful sleep is tough to come by on the road.

Stress levels are up—way up

If you’re traveling for work, you’re most likely either: (1) visiting a client and giving some form of presentation, or (2) presenting as part of an industry event or trade conference. Both can be stressful situations. I’m not saying you’re taking two antacids every morning, but the stress does wear on you.

You’re not home

When you’re 25 and single with no kids, this isn’t a big deal. When you’re 35, married with two kids at home and one on the way, this is huge. Traveling later in life is a chore. It is rarely something you look forward to. Instead, it is a necessary evil, something you must do for work. Sure, travel has its fun moments, but you’re typically tired, stressed and away from the people you love most.

What do you think?

A version of this article first appeared on ArikHanson.

Topics: PR

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