How To Get the Most Out Of Your Work Travel

Work for a globally based company? Want to travel the world without quitting your career?

If you’re not already travelling internationally for business purposes, negotiating this is your first step.

If you are travelling internationally for work, all you have to do is be strategic with project deadlines and PTO or negotiate remote work days.

Convincing your boss you should travel internationally:

This can easily be the most difficult part of the negotiating package, because sometimes, your position simply doesn’t lend itself to a defensible business case for international travel. But if you have even a sliver of hope, these suggestions and tips may just get you on the plane.

  1. If you have team members that sit in other parts of the world, GET INVOLVED. Figure out exactly what their pain points are, what projects they’re on, and how you and your skills can contribute.
    • I.E. You have a colleague in Europe working on automating a manual and time consuming process. He is having a hard time communicating with IT and you happen to be a great PM and have IT experience! Offer to help PM his project and take an ACTIVE role in the project. Key word is active, if you’re constantly engaged, you will have a better case for arranging in person meetings.
  2. If you operate in a consultant capacity, you’re in luck, because chances are high you can get a client to pay for your travel.  Engage in a conversation with your foreign colleagues about the clients they work on and see if there is any skill gap or if they are maybe behind in the processes and technology that your company is using domestically. While you work at the same company, you will often find that separated entities act in a very separated manner. If there is a skill or task you engage in on a regular basis, this could be something you could knowledge transfer to the rest of the company!
    • Network with your colleagues and see if you can spot a client account that has a lot of cash to burn and a huge need for people or for a skill you have. Tell your boss you think it would be beneficial for the inter company relationship and the client engagement if you were to spend some time helping the account. If they can find it in the contract budget easily, there’s a good chance that no one will object, since it’s not coming directly from the company’s pocket!

Negotiating personal travel time in conjunction with work travel:

Already flying on a regular basis for work? You have a couple options, as mentioned above.

  1. You can use your PTO and plan it before or after your work-related obligations in the new area. As long as the cost of the flight is the same or less, companies rarely care if you fly back a different day, or fly in to your destination early. Even just a week extra (5 days of PTO) can give you plenty of time to see a new country (or even two!)

Feel pressured to not take your PTO or are you surrounded by a culture of workaholism? Read this article about why employees who take their PTO are more likely to get promotions and raises.

2. If you don’t have any PTO accrued and are not able to go into PTO deficit, another option is remote work. As more and more companies adopt ‘workplaces of the future’ with open office floor plans and snacks, the flexibility in working from home also increases. Really, what’s the difference between working from home and working from a different country? If you are accommodating for any time difference and are still getting your work done, many employers will see no issue. And good news, WiFi is everywhere!

Sometimes, negotiating these perks is a lot easier than you’d expect, and there’s no harm in asking. Strip yourself of any guilt feelings you have about it, your relationship with your employer should be mutually beneficial! And who knows, this could be the first step in negotiating a recurring remote week every quarter so you can explore the world without quitting your career!

I’d love to hear about any experiences you have with combining work and personal travel, tell me about them in the comments below! Thanks for reading and happy traveling!

 

 

I Didn’t Study Abroad & Traveled for the First Time after College Graduation

I was constantly berated with stories of my peers, specifically the wealthier ones I knew through Greek life, going on Christmas vacations to Paris, spending summers in Patagonia, and spending a year of their life exploring Thailand. I was simply not that person. My family was (is) poor and growing up international travel was absolutely not even something I thought about. Truth be told, I didn’t know what I was even missing. As junior year of college approached quickly and violently, I considered cost first and foremost when choosing if and where I would study abroad. Since my alma mater has one of the best programs for study abroad (the same cost as a semester of school!) I thought maybe this would be my chance, this would finally be the time I would join everyone else and do what was normal for people my age. Nope, after getting rejected from my number one choice of South Africa (very affordable program and it was alluringly beautiful) I gave up all at once the idea that I would study abroad at all. I was among 5% of my junior class peers that did not study abroad, and so it was a lonely campus and four solid months of social media fomo.

So after spending my entire senior year lingering on the opportunity I had missed, I began looking up tours. I was offered a job 6 months before my graduation date, so I was set! They were flexible in allowing me to take a month off between graduation and my start date, and I knew that this is how I would take advantage of it. I researched many travel tour companies and came up with my final choice- EF College Break. I  will do a review of their service and my trip with them in an upcoming post. Please subscribe to read. 

My trip with EF was scheduled for 16 days, 7 countries, and called the “European Road Trip”. Our journey began in Netherlands, then went to Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France, and UK. This was my first real taste of international travel as the only time I had previously been out of the country was a weekend in Mexico during high school to my friend’s beach house in Rosarita. Of course, I was living in San Diego at the time so a one hour road trip to Mexico didn’t really count as ‘travel’.

As it was my first experience with travel I learned a lot, but mostly I learned how much I regretted not studying abroad when I could have. I was hooked, infected by the travel bug and I knew this was only the beginning. I learned how to maneuver public transit written in indecipherable languages and how to embrace every moment of the journey with my eyes and not my camera lens.

I guess the biggest takeaway I want this to leave you with is, travelling is so much more than a plane ride, a backpack, new foods, and new sites. It is diversity embraced, perspectives and opinions altered, and child-like wonder renewed. Remember that pure happiness and excitement you felt as a child seeing a bouncy house castle? I had always thought that feeling was fleeting, meant only for a child’s mind unaffected. Turns out that feeling of wonder and happiness is still out there, waiting for you in another country.