How to Answer Job Interview Questions About Travel
If you're applying for a job that will require some regular travel, you should prepare for that question in your interview. When an interviewer asks this question, it’s to see if you’re willing and able to travel as much as the job requires. If you’ve applied for a job like this, it’s a good idea to think about how to answer questions about travel.
How to Answer Interview Questions About Travel
When answering this or any other interview question, you need to be honest with your answer. Think about how much you can travel, whether or not you can be flexible, or if you have family ties or other obligations that require you to plan ahead when it comes to making travel plans.
Know the travel requirements beforehand. Ideally, you should know if the job requires travel before you apply. If you know you absolutely cannot travel for work, simply don't apply for those sorts of jobs.
There is nothing to be gained by saying you’re willing to travel if you know you are not.
State any travel limitations you may have. If you have any limitations that might restrict travel, be sure to state them clearly. For example, if you have to be home with your family on weekends, you’ll have to explain that you can only travel Monday through Friday. Again, you should be as forthright as possible in your answer, so you don’t get hired for a job you ultimately have to turn down.
Ask the interviewer clarifying questions. Questions about your willingness to travel give you the chance to ask questions about the type of travel required. Even if you’re willing to travel, you can ask follow-up questions to learn more about the travel that may be required. For example, you might ask how much travel is involved (if the job listing didn’t state this).
You can also ask how the travel is broken up: for example, will you travel one day every week, or for one month every year? You might also ask where you’ll have to travel, or whether or not weekends are included. With this information, you can provide a more honest answer to the question. This will also keep you from being surprised about the amount of travel later on.
Explain how you’ve traveled in the past. When answering questions about traveling, explain how and where you traveled for previous jobs. Answers like this show that you have experience with work-related travel, which will place you ahead of other candidates who lack this experience.
Focus on how you can help the company. When answering questions about travel, avoid answers that explain how you enjoy the benefits of travel. For example, don’t say that you love free hotel rooms or the chance to travel the world on the company’s dime. Instead, emphasize why you think travel is important for the job.
Examples of the Best Answers
Here are a few examples of how to answer questions about your willingness and availability to travel.
I’m very willing to travel. I have worked as a sales representative in the past, and that work required 50% travel time. I know this job requires 25% travel time, and I’m willing and able to travel when needed for this company.
Why It Works: This candidate uses percentages effectively to quantify her experience and to demonstrate that she is well-versed in travelling for her job.
I’m definitely willing to travel. I believe it’s extremely important to meet regularly with my clients face-to-face to develop our working relationship. However, could I have a bit more information on the type of travel required for this job, to get a better sense of the job schedule? Would this travel be weekly, or once every few weeks or months?
Why It Works: This is a good example of to ask clarifying questions to ensure that you have enough knowledge about the company’s travel requirements to provide an honest response.
While childcare commitments require me to stay in town on the weekends, I’m very flexible with my schedule on weekdays. I traveled extensively for my previous job and am comfortable with a high percentage of travel days. Would the travel for this job be on weekdays only, or on weekends as well?
Why It Works: While this answer is honest about the candidate’s limited availability on weekends, it also shows that he can be flexible and is willing to travel during the normal work week – a mark in his favor.
More Job Interview Questions and Answers
While questions about travel are important to answer appropriately, there will be many more questions to answer. Familiarize yourself with these potential interview questions and answers so you’ll feel more comfortable and confident during your interview.
Your interviewer will also expect you to have several questions about the job or the company in general. If you’re not good at coming up with questions, take a look at this guide about interview questions to ask your interviewer.
BE HONEST: Don’t be tempted to misrepresent your availability to travel, thinking that this requirement might be negotiable. If an interviewer asks this question, that’s a sure sign that some travel is expected.
BE FLEXIBLE: Even if there are times, like the weekends, when you cannot leave home, emphasize your willingness to travel on those days you are free to do so.
CAPITALIZE UPON YOUR EXPERIENCE: If you have travelled as a regular part of a previous job, describe this experience to your interviewer. If this has involved international travel and you are proficient in a foreign language, this would also be a good thing to mention.