Travels Through Time: A Look at the Changing Face of Business Travel

There’s an inevitable moment which occurs every time I meet a new person and explain what I do for a living. “Oh, that’s interesting!” they always say, followed by the slightly-jealous “It must be so nice to travel all the time.” Let’s be clear here, I love traveling, and I am so lucky to have this as part of my job, but that’s what it is: a job.

The Evolution of Travel

Business travel is vastly different from vacation or personal travel. My days are filled with itineraries, plans, calls, interviews, notes, and hunting for wi-fi signals. No matter what city I visit, I’m more likely to familiarize myself with the local Starbucks than the shops or museums. When you’re an online publisher and face competition with literally millions of articles coming out per day, you realize quickly that downtime is a thing of the past.

For example, last time I was travelling through Portland, Oregon, I was approaching a deadline and facing an imminent deadline, while battling a dead laptop battery. While coffeehouses pretty much litter the streets in Portland, there wasn’t time to waste driving around trying to find the most convenient location in a navigable proximity which would offer wi-fi, cheap service, and little to no chance of singer-songwriters in the corner. (An incredibly tall order.) In past decade, I would have been forced to use trial-and-error, hopping from site to site like Goldilocks changing beds. Fortunately, I live in the digital age, where a quick search on Yelp and a few buttons on my rental car’s on-board navigator, and I had found my ideal temporary office. Efficient, yes, but not exactly the kind of  soulful wandering normally associated with traveling through the Pacific Northwest.

This got me wondering. Is it actually true? Has the digital age eliminated the concept of free time, and have our devices ruined the fun of “business trips?”

Was this just a myth to begin with?

To find out, I turned to Dalene Heck,  a former corporate-world professional who traveled for business, and is now a full-time professional world traveler and writer, as the co-founder of Hecktic Travels. We got a chance to talk about getting lost, technology, and the value of a good “digital detox”.

After all, there’s nothing really stopping me from putting myself into a mini-time warp, an era without distractions. All I really need to do is step outside my hotel room and just turn my phone off. Oh, except if I see something cool, then I have to put it on Twitter and Instagram. Oh, and I’ll need to check-in at the restaurant and tell all my friends I’m here. And of course I’ll have to review it for my fellow travelers, and…. Okay, this is going to be harder than I thought.

Do you have some thoughts on the difference between travels today and from days gone by? Leave your stories and opinions in the comments below, and one contestant will win a business travel prize pack from National Car Rental valued at over $400! The winner will be selected on June 30th, 2014.

The package includes:

  • eleven techtrap
  • zoom energy pack re-chargeable battery
  • leather luggage tag, camelback groove stainless
  • $100 AMEX card, $50Starbucks gift card
  • knitting charge!

Update: The winner has been chosen. Congratulations to Kathleen who wrote about her experiences at a healthcare communications company. Kathleen will receive the price pack mentioned above.

Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.