Do not confuse “Travel” with “Business Travel.” Telling a seasoned-business-traveler-interviewer that you love to travel makes you sound impossibly naive.
“Travel” is on your schedule, your own dime, and, within limits, your own behavior and dress code. “Business travel” is on someone else’s schedule, someone else’s dime, and on someone else’s behavior and dress code — 24/7. Never confuse the two — especially in an interview.
There may still be businesses with unlimited budgets, but for most business travelers, what hasn’t been scheduled as video conference is constrained by spending limits and security concerns. Business travel that once might have been moderately pleasant, takes more time than it should, has more technical details to follow (3 ounce liquids? baggage fee-or-free? where is the Wi-Fi? airline and hotel surcharges), and puts you into a potentially uncomfortable space that is definitely not your own bed.
In Suite Dreams, Bob Greene notes that hotels are trying extra-hard to make business travelers comfortable. Why? Because they know that today’s business traveler isn’t seeking party-time, but “a night of deep shuteye, with no distractions.”
Tips for business travel:
1. Dress for the Road Business travelers must show up on time and dressed appropriately. If you are to go straight from the plane to an interview or a meeting, wear your suit, or carry something that can make you look professional in a pinch. Showing up in jeans, even with the absolutely believable excuse that your luggage is in an undisclosed location, will distract from your candidacy or your business pitch.
2. The Budget: This is not your money Candidates should know the limits of the potential employer’s budget. Do not order champagne and oysters from room service, and do not call a limo when a cab will do. Business travelers who overspend their per diem must be prepared to pay the difference.
3. Spending quantity/quality time in airports There are times when business travel can morph into just plain travel Yes, your laptop and smart phone can make airport time into productive work time, but what if you don’t want or need to work every minute? Bring a book, an emergency book, and an emergency back up (or get a Kindle.) Artists: carry pencil and paint for small projects. (I travel with watercolor paints and papers that fit into a make-up bag). Knitters and fiber artists should find out whether their needles will imperil national security. Make time for yourself.