Lately I’ve seen a lot of comments on my blog posts, on other’s blogs and on travel forums criticizing ‘road warriors’ because we have jobs that allow us to earn a lot of miles/points.
A reader recently sent me a note saying that he wasn’t going to my blog anymore because “I couldn’t relate to people like him who don’t have the luxury of having a job that earns them points and miles” and that “I take that luxury for granted.” I wish I had 100 points for every time someone said “I wish I traveled as much as you” because I might be able to retire on points!
There’s obviously some allure to having a job that allows you to travel but I often think people don’t realize what it means to have a job that allows you to travel. There are those jobs that allow you to travel a few or more times a year and then there are those jobs that keep you on the road all the time – and they are quite different. This post is about the jobs that keep you on the road all the time.
If you think the road warrior’s life is glamorous and that we can’t relate to people who don’t have jobs that allow them to earn points and miles then here are a few things to consider:
Fact: I have a job that I love. In order to do my job I have to travel – it’s not one that can be done from an office.
Fact: I have spent 250 nights in hotels this year and flown 132,000 miles which has translated into earning a lot of points/miles.
Fact: I’ve seen some amazing places that I probably wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
Fact: Spending 250 nights in hotels means that I’ve been away from family and friends for more than 3/4ths of the year. Spending that much time on the road, often by yourself, can get lonely. I’ve also spent holidays and major family events away from home.
Fact: Constant travel is exhausting. Jet lag begins to take a toll on you physically and mentally. My average flight time (for business) in 2012 was 18 hours. My longest flying time, including layovers was 47 hours and the shortest was 13 hours.
The Bottom Line
There was an article in USA Today earlier this year that talked about the change in business travel and how some business travelers are paying more out of pocket than ever before. I was interviewed by CNN earlier this year about the very same subject and as I said then, I frequently pay for things out of pocket that aren’t covered by per diems or allowed travel expenses.
Very few companies pay for business class travel (I’m jealous of those road warriors who have jobs where business class is paid for) and so I use the majority of the miles I earn to upgrade myself on long flights. In 2012, I used more miles upgrading to business class than I actually earned – so I do have to be resourceful and figure out ways to earn miles for my personal travel.
It’s absolutely true that I earn a lot of points and miles because I travel for business. It’s also absolutely true that I have to find ways to earn miles like everyone else and I can relate to how challenging that can be. I realize that some day, when I’m tired of the constant travel, I won’t earn the points and miles that I earn today and that’s the trade off that road warriors have to make.
So, to the people who say “we can’t relate” I hope you’ll consider the fact that just because we have a job that allows us to travel doesn’t mean we don’t have to work for our miles too!