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What is “Obligatory Travel?”

(From the CEO, Initiatives and Trends) Permanent link

What is “Obligatory Travel?” 

By Howard Nusbaum, CEO and President of ARDA

May 8, 2013

National Travel and Tourism Week 2013 

It is National Travel and Tourism Week (traditionally the first full week of May and first celebrated in 1984), and therefore it makes sense to blog about the importance of vacation planning. 

But before I go there, I should take a minute to dissect the thought of what constitutes a vacation versus other types of trips. Now I’d admit up front I have a bias—not all time off, and certainly not all travel, equals vacationing. And I don’t just mean business travel (something I do a lot of and have learned to enjoy and value) but I also mean the very important, enjoyable, and family-life affirming “obligatory travel.” 

So what do I mean by “obligatory travel?” I mean family life cycle events. For example, over the next thirty days I will gladly and proudly attend two college graduations (one in Ohio and one in New Hampshire), a Mother’s Day trip to celebrate my 87-year-old mom, and a friend’s wedding to which I was pleased to be invited to attend. This isn’t counting the five business trips I will be taking between now and the end of June.  

So, what is my point? I get a lot of travel and all of it is highly enjoyable and often important to me. However, none of it rejuvenates me the way true leisure travel does.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not “dissing” obligatory travel or business travel. They are both important to the relationships we value most in our lives, and are at the heart of what we do at work and home; however, they should not be mistaken for or “horse-traded” for vacationing. Vacationing is about wanderlust, new adventure, recharging your batteries, spending time with those you love—without an agenda or the emotions (and yes, sometimes baggage) of life cycle events.

We all deserve to get away and truly connect.  Your kids, your spouse, your boss, your co-workers, and your inner guru will all thank you. It matters. So plan a vacation this week—and I don’t mean Cousin Bertha’s 90th birthday celebration!


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