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As you may have seen from some of my debt accountability posts, I travel for work . . . a lot.
Traveling for Work isn’t Always Awesome
In my current day job, I cover a territory that spans across 5 (very large) states. Which means I’m traveling for work 2-4 weeks of each month. If you have ever wished you could travel for work, I urge you to consider the reality of being on the road so much.
It sounds great, traveling with work footing the bill and I admit that part is kind of nice. However, only being home for a few days every few days, makes it difficult to establish any sort of routines outside of work.
Trying to work out more? I find it hard to make time to work out after traveling all day and then doing my day job work. It’s exhausting. It’s not impossible to work out more, but it takes a lot more effort since every day is different a routine.
You never realize how much exhaustion impacts your decisions, I’m too tired to work out, I’m too tired to make a smart meal decisions, just give me a burger and a beer. The longer you keep up these activities, the less healthy you become, the more tired you become. It’s a vicious cycle that I struggle with constantly.
The Upside to Traveling for Work
That being said there are also upsides to traveling for work. From earning rewards points, to free meals out, and access to amenities I’ve cut to save money, I definitely do my best to make the most of my regular travel.
It’s Easy to Build Up Rewards Points
While work pays for the travel, I am able to sign up for the rewards programs. I earn points since most of my travel involves rental cars and hotels, I haven’t had to pay for either in a long time. This is actually how I’m planning to stay in a rather nice hotel when I go to Paris.
I’ll need 200,000 points for the trip. I currently have 113,956 all from traveling for work. I have about another 3-4 months before I really need to make the reservation. While I may not hit 200,000 but I’ll definitely get to 120,000 and if need be I can sign up for the rewards credit card which has an 80,000 bonus.
I also have built up enough car rental rewards that I’m able to save both my friend and I some money when we hit up Chicago before driving to our friend’s wedding in Michigan. I’m excited for the trip and for saving some money, thanks, day job.
Eating Out for Free
One of the hardest things people deal with when cutting expenses is missing the ability to eat out. Traveling for work means I eat out all the friggin time and don’t have to pay. It also makes it easier to resist eating out when I’m at home. After eating out for several days at a time, all I want to do is stay home and have a home-cooked meal. Even if it means I’m the one that has to cook the meal.
If I’m being really lazy, I’ll bring home the leftovers from my trip and save myself from cooking. Making eating out when I’m at home/in town a very rare occurrence, which my wallet appreciates.
Access to Cable
An expense I’ve cut to save money is cable. I opted for a digital antenna instead. But I do love TV which is why every once in a while I splurge on a month of Netflix or HBO (because GOT). However, I normally don’t have to pay cable or the internet. Yup, my work reimburses me for my internet. I’m lucky that I’m able to cut that expense completely.
Even cutting that expense, I’m not without cable all the time. Hotels have cable. When I travel for work, I stay in hotels, which means I get to watch cable. I’ll be honest I’m pretty boring I mostly watch HGTV and Comedy Central. It’s fun and still allows me to get work done while it’s on.
Other hotel amenities, though I’ll admit I’m bad about taking advantage of them. It can be really nice to soak in a hot tub and read a book after a long day at work and travel. Or go for a swim, which is just as much of a workout but less taxing on your body (yay for low impact sports.)
While I usually forget to pack my swimsuit, I always pack some gym clothes, so I can get in a little activity while I’m on the road. Also super important to pack – my iPod Shuffle and it’s charger. Nothing is worse than your iPod dying 10 minutes into a workout.
Time to listen to podcasts/audiobooks/music
Since I drive 99% of the time to get to where I’m going, I spend several hours in a car where the only thing to do is listen to stuff. While other folks might have trouble carving out time to listen to a book or their favorite podcasts, I never do.
Though I’ll admit, sometimes I just like to take advantage of the silence. Some of my favorite podcasts are Smart Passive Income, Listen Money Matters, So Money, ProBlogger, and Anna Faris is Unqualified. So if you are looking for a podcast I recommend you check these ones out.
For audio books, I had an audible subscription for about 6 weeks, which gave me two credits and then I did end up buying a book. The only book I have left to listen to is Tina Fey’s Bossypants. Though I’ve also downloaded audiobooks from my local library for free.
You definitely don’t have to spend money to listen to audio books or at least not a lot. You can get a free book through a trial of Audible, though right now they are offering TWO free books. I also used to live near a bookstore that would rent out books on CD for a fraction of the price (Porter Square Books for anyone living in Somerville MA), it was fantastic.
Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top
While traveling for work can be exhausting there are lots of ways to take advantage of work footing the bill. Whether you take advantage of hotel amenities or being able to eat out without cutting into your budget, traveling for work doesn’t have to suck.
Do you do a lot of traveling for work, how to make the most of it?