Travel Percentage?

I’m never sure how high a travel percentage might be considered acceptable to some of you.  For myself, anything more than about 25% is probably out — having a wife and child makes even 25% pretty difficult.  But then, some of you may have fewer roots and an itch to get out and see the world, so I’d like to get some understanding of whether or not higher travel percentages are acceptable to enough of you to make posting jobs with high travel requirements worthwhile.

Of course, even with categories it’s hard to be totally specific.  Could I travel one week per month for a couple months?  Probably.  On the other hand, if a job basically guaranteed one week of travel per month for as long as I had the job, there’s have to be a pretty strong reason for me to stick with it.  So — I guess what I really want to know is — when a travel percentage is listed in the job, what’s the highest number you’d consider before deciding the job isn’t worth pursuing on that basis alone?

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3 Responses to Travel Percentage?

  1. otoburb says:

    Most travel can be broken down into a few categories:

    A. 1-2 day work assignments.
    B. Extended out-of-town work assignments.
    C. Long-term work assignments.

    I think that when a job lists “travel”, it rarely delves into the type of travel. I think it’s fair to say that most travel assignments fall under category A, in which case it’s rather a pain no matter how you slice it. As an example, 5 days per month spread out over individual days may actually be easier to deal with if they are 1-day trips (e.g. Toronto-NYC), because it may put less strain on a young family to have one parent gone for brief spurts, instead of extended periods of time (where burn-out during that one-week a month may become a bit too much to handle for the other partner).

    Also, once (usually younger) people understand that most travel consists of surgical trips (sales pitches or consulting gigs) with often little time to invest in meaningful longer-term relationships, their prior willingness to travel (e.g. > 25%) may be adjusted downwards in subsequent jobs that advertise travel.

    I should temper this with the idea that category C is something that I would consider an attraction for the job, as long as the partner/family is flexible to move with you during the duration of this assignment (e.g. 6mo-18mo).

  2. Geoffrey Wiseman says:

    Interesting analysis, thanks – most of what I’ve done is category A, for sure.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s always easy to categorize the travel by the percentage. Most of what i’ve seen is Category A, and that’s up to about 30% or 40% travel. I know there are travel consultants who are often in the 50% – 80% range, where the bulk of the work is at client sites. Most of these seem to be away during the week, and back on the weekend, often with an extra day.

    Then finally, what you’re calling Category C – which is almost more like relocation, except it tends to come with a built-in timeframe. That is more interesting, although I wouldn’t consider it unless it were both an exceptional opportunity and exceptionally well-paid. There was a Dubai position recently that fell into that category, but even if I had the skillset (and I don’t), I think my wife wouldn’t get along with the UAE culturally.

  3. Billy Haynes says:

    I have always wanted to travel and see places, get away from here as I haven’t been away from here many times in 16 years. I am currently considering trying out the escort/pilot car occupation where I would follow wide load trucks to their destinations.

    If I try that out, I would say 90% of it would be driving and travel, other 10% probably getting the name out there to let companies know I’m there to follow them!

    I am single and no children yet so I don’t have anything other than my mother keeping me here, although with escort/piloting she could come along and keep me company, so that all would work out.

    Also, I am currently trying to plan a cross country road trip which so far is an estimated 5,500 miles. 🙂

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