Beyond The Glamour: What the Reality of Business Travel Really Is

The reality of business travel isn’t as glamourous as what the mainstream media would have you believe.

Often, when you hear the words “business travel,” you typically visualise first class, high-end hotels, and champagne—the glamorous Instagram version. However, industry insiders know the reality is often far from this illusion. 

The reality of business travel - you won't always get the business class seats While luxury at 25,000 feet does exist, business travel is rarely as glamorous as it seems. It’s more about early mornings, navigating unpredictable transport systems, and spending nights away from family, sometimes for weeks. It’s not exactly everyone’s dream. 

That said, many business travellers still see the value in it. 83% of employees view travel as a job perk and 39% of Millennial and Gen Z workers wouldn’t accept a job without travel opportunities. 

Most people travel for work to fulfil job duties, not to indulge in luxury. The common belief is that business travel is primarily for meetings, but that’s not always true. What is clear, though, is that all business travel should have a purpose and is most effective when well-managed. 

This article will explore the realities of business travel, the challenges faced by business travellers, and the ways to make business travel more purposeful and enjoyable.  

The reality of Business travel – more than what meets the eye  

While there are certainly perks to business travel, it’s not all glitz and glamour. Sure, there’s a break from routine, opportunities to visit interesting places, discover new bars and restaurants, and enjoy fresh, crisp sheets in hotel rooms. But despite what some might think, a lot of effort and dedication is involved in business travel. For instance:  

  1. The business travel guilt 
    One of the toughest aspects of any work trip starts before you leave. Informing your partner that you’ll be away for a few days can be challenging, particularly if your trip overlaps with a holiday, weekend, birthday, or worse, an anniversary. If the kids are sick and acting up, it only adds to the difficulty. You can often expect a chilly response and some tense moments. 
  2. Navigating wardrobe challenges 
    The morning rush before dawn frequently disrupts a smooth morning routine. It’s common to discover at the airport that your makeup isn’t quite right or find unnoticed stains on your shirt from the dim morning light. Avoiding coffee spills during the flight is an art form, as is preventing excessive sweating while waiting for takeoff. Keeping your clothes free of wrinkles can also seem nearly impossible, especially when trying to stuff your jacket into the overhead compartment. 

  3. Dealing with inexperienced flyers 
    Even if you’re a seasoned traveller with all the insider tips, not everyone on board is as experienced as you. Novice flyers are often identifiable by their loud declarations of, “This is my first time on a plane,” coupled with visible struggles to find their seats. While their enthusiasm is understandable, their lack of familiarity with air travel can occasionally lead to delays, which may disrupt your carefully planned travel itinerary.

  4. Coping with the realities of air travel
    The experience of flying often brings to light several realities of air travel. From reclining seats on short flights to passengers who leap up as soon as the seatbelt sign is off, and oversized luggage in the overhead bins, these are common sights. Flight attendants, seasoned in handling such situations, generally manage them well. However, challenges like passengers dozing off in the restroom remain beyond their control.

  5. Hotel room hassles 
    Staying in a hotel while travelling for work can bring about some distinctive challenges. If you’ve ever attempted to iron your clothes with a questionable iron that looks like it’s been through a lot, you’ll understand the struggle. And those hair dryers that heat up to nuclear levels within seconds? They’re another story. Let’s not even get started on the small, unappealing bottles of generic shampoo. Dealing with noisy neighbours becomes even more bothersome when you’re already craving rest from all the travelling.

  6. Endless workdays 
    During business trips, the line between work hours and personal time often blurs into a continuous flow. Days stretch on, shaped by meetings, travel logistics, and unforeseen delays. Rising early and retiring late becomes routine, as work demands dictate the day’s rhythm, leaving little space for breaks or downtime. This perpetual motion challenges even seasoned travellers, demanding adaptability and resilience to manage the unpredictable nature of business travel.

  7. Potentially gaining weight 
    It’s hard to resist the allure of chocolate muffins, ham and cheese croissants, potato chips, and all-you-can-eat buffet breakfasts while travelling for business. From endless dinners with clients to drinks after, these culinary delights constantly challenge those striving to maintain their figure. Resisting them demands discipline akin to a Tibetan monk’s, but hey, rules tend to relax when you’re away, right? The truth is, you might just find yourself bringing back a bit of extra baggage.

  8. Dining alone 
    Solo dining is often part of the business travel experience, whether you’re dining with clients or flying solo. But on those evenings without engagements, navigating a restaurant alone can feel awkward. The wait between ordering and your meal arriving can be particularly uncomfortable, attracting sympathetic glances from other diners who may assume you’re unlucky in love or lacking in company.

  9. Chasing status – a relentless pursuit
    Once you start climbing the frequent flyer ranks, the perks become addictive. Priority boarding and expedited security screenings become second nature. You find yourself planning trips around accruing these credits, checking your frequent flyer status regularly, and even concocting reasons to travel for work just to maintain or elevate your status. The ultimate blow comes when you’re downgraded from a coveted gold status, forcing you to travel like everyone else—a frustration only business travellers truly grasp. 
How to make business travel more purposeful and enjoyable  

If you frequently travel for business, you probably explore various regions of the country and experience firsthand the constant evolution of the travel industry depending on your timing. This lifestyle can also be quite exhausting. 

Here are tips to maintain interest and enjoyment during business travel:  

  1. Pamper yourself 
    To enhance your anticipation for trips, consider treating yourself. Whether it’s enjoying room service and a movie or scheduling a soothing massage, find activities that consistently bring you joy. Choose experiences that are feasible and enjoyable wherever your travels take you. 
  2. Engage in local experiences 
    Seek out landmarks or cultural gems unique to the city you’re visiting. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or inconvenient; the goal is to immerse yourself in the local flavour. Whether it’s browsing a renowned bookshop or savouring a regional delicacy, these activities can inject a sense of adventure into your journey.

  3. Explore beyond the city limits 
    Consider adding an extra day or afternoon to your trip to venture into the countryside. This not only exposes you to new sights but also provides an opportunity to rejuvenate your mind. If leaving the city isn’t possible, seek out a nearby park. Stepping away from the office and immersing yourself in nature can be refreshing, often sparking creativity and fresh perspectives.

  4. Prioritise personal time 
    Amidst the activities mentioned earlier, it’s crucial to emphasise the importance of carving out dedicated time for yourself. Regardless of whether you lean towards extroversion, allocate moments to engage in activities solely for your enjoyment, free from work-related obligations or social engagements. Allowing yourself these breaks enables you to fully unwind and appreciate your surroundings.
  5. Embrace walking breaks 
    For all business travellers, I suggest integrating regular walks into your routine, whether around your hotel premises or near your office. Besides helping you refocus on your tasks, walking provides excellent exercise benefits. If feasible, aim for walks during sunrise or sunset to enjoy tranquil moments amidst your busy schedule.

  6. Optimise your accommodation and travel choices 
    When frequent business travel is on the horizon, prioritise staying in accommodations that suit your preferences. If you favour a particular hotel chain, consider enrolling in their loyalty program or exploring any associated credit card benefits they offer. Additionally, think about upgrading your airline seats for added comfort during flights. 
Discover Holiday Tours’ excellence in Travel Service Care  

Holiday Tours, a leader in travel management with nearly five decades of experience, has served over 500 esteemed corporate clients with distinction. They excel in understanding diverse travel needs and are trusted for their seamless and hassle-free travel arrangements. 

Focusing on client-centric services tailored to individual needs, Holiday Tours builds trust and lasting relationships. Utilising advanced technology, they provide efficient and seamless travel solutions, ensuring journeys are stress-free. Their commitment includes 24/7 support, offering peace of mind during travels. 

Holiday Tours prioritises transparency, offering clear and comprehensive reporting to keep travellers informed at every stage. They maintain flexible policies to accommodate changing travel plans and ensure access to a wide array of flight options, accommodations, event venues, and transportation services, essential for successful journeys. 

Learn more about their commitment to travel safety and exceptional travel service care. 


REACH OUT TO US AT +603 2303 9100 (PRESS 3) OR [email protected]  

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