If anyone understands the value of travel, it’s the Women Leading Travel & Hospitality community. For you, travel is more than just a job, it’s a calling — a way to inspire yourselves and others by sharing your experiences of the world. “NOMADS: Adventurous Businesswomen that are Changing the World while Traveling,” just released on Amazon.com, is a collection of 16 women’s stories that delves into how travel has inspired, influenced and empowered them to shape their lives and their careers.

As a woman and as a business leader, how many times have you been told that something you want to do is “dangerous” or “risky”? How many times have you sensed that someone was trying to talk you out of taking a leap and doing something new by telling you stories about potential negative outcomes of the thing you want to do?

In business, women are still fighting for “more,” where old stereotypes persist about how they’re not as smart or strong or tough as “men at work.” In the travel industry, there’s still a solid infrastructure founded on an “Old Boys’ Club” mentality, and the instinct that the stereotype is wrong is the key to realizing that the “system” has, over time, developed a set of stories that it tells women (and encourages women to tell each other) which are designed to keep them “out of the ring.”

Women in the travel industry are often naturally inclined to travel themselves. Despite the allure of the “Frequent Flyer,” when it comes to business travel, there are two main stories (and sometimes these stories are blended to try to increase their effectiveness) to keep women back “home at the office.” The stories are:

  1. travelling alone is dangerous; and
  2. travelling alone is unpleasant.

However, neither of these stories are true. Business travel is a way to expand one’s network, upgrade one’s knowledge, and polish one’s confidence.

The danger in accepting the negative stories and allowing them to influence one’s ambition to travel as a leader in the travel industry is that if they succeed in keeping women from getting on that plane, they also work to prevent women from pursuing other endeavors and greater leadership opportunities. If women begin to believe they’re not “tough enough” or “savvy enough” to travel for business then they might also start to believe that they aren’t strong enough to lead a team, take on a fitness challenge, or make a family decision. The stories women are told about business travel are but chapters in the long tales created to minimize women’s ambitions.

In chapter two of NOMADS, I explore benefits to business travel specifically for women. I’ve missed being on the road during the pandemic for the programming (or time-related) benefits, power benefits, and professional benefits.

Programming advantages of business travel are evident when I turn my attention to the periods of time in between the schedules and deadlines, when I can program my own day and be in control of my work and my life in ways that I might not be at the office or home. I share how I’ve done some of my best idea generation while travelling for work — an excellent byproduct!

Power advantages are related to the choice and agency regarding things that women, especially, often don’t feel they have choices about, or have been taught to feel guilty when they do. On a business trip, I imagine I’m not alone in enjoying hotel rooms; no cooking, cleaning, or tidying up … if I want to, I can order room service and soak in the tub with a sheet mask on my face (why not indulge in a little self-care when you can?). At the end of the night, there’s a smoothly made bed with crisp sheets and the knowledge that I can wake up early for a workout or choose to pre-order breakfast in my room and get ready for the day at my own pace.

Professional benefits of business travel are, for me, the most valuable of all. These are the advantages I’ve missed the most due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the ones which I’m most looking forward to resuming. Conferences and seminars provide networking and educational opportunities that can be difficult to replicate virtually. As much as I appreciate the ability to keep up with work and learning opportunities via Zoom, Slack, etc., I miss the ways in which business travel allows me to carve out dedicated time for learning, networking and collaboration. Travelling for business gives women the opportunity to show up professionally at a high level and provides us with additional tools to add to our career toolkits, including public speaking, mediation, flexibility, problem solving, compromise, vigilance, time management, negotiation, and leadership.

If you’re ready to read more, learn my personal business travel safety tips and tricks, and be inspired by the incredible travel experiences of my co-authors, be sure to check out the No. 1 new best-selling release of “NOMADS: Adventurous Businesswomen that are Changing the World while Traveling.” All profits from sales will be donated to the New Teacher Project, USA.