Answering “Are You Willing To Travel?” In An Interview

a picture of business person and are you willing to travel

When an interviewer asks you, “Are you willing to travel?” you might be a little thrown off by the question at first. But we’re here to help you answer the question in a way that’s going to get you onto the second round of interviews and further your chances of being hired.

In a lot of jobs today, travel is a major part of the role. It can be because they would like you to meet with other colleagues at various offices around the world or country. Or it could be related to the fact that you might be applying for a sales position and that going on location for the sales process is a key part of the role. When the interviewer asks you this question, they are ensuring you both are on the same page related to the job requirements. And travel can be one of those requirements.

Before you interview with a company or position that may require travel, you should ensure that you are personally comfortable with the fact that you may have to commit to this. For example, you may have a family at home. Or children. Before you commit to a certain level of travel, you may want to have discussions with your family or consider what your family needs are before you say “Yes” to your interviewer.

Are you willing to travel

An example answer for when the interviewer asks you if you are comfortable with travel is: “I’m very comfortable with travel being a core part of the job function. In previous roles, this was a requirement. This is something I’m very familiar with, and this shouldn’t be an issue. Can you please let me know what degree of travel the job requires? Or what the standard business travel practices are?”

It is always good to ask the interviewer a question whenever possible. With your question here, this will give you more insight into what the required travel entails. That may give you more information on deciding on the fly as well. For example, if they are asking for you to pay for the business travel through personal expenses. While this is very rare to have happened, you may want to ensure that’s not the case.

If you’d like to go above and beyond related to this interview question, you can give an allotted time for which you are comfortable traveling. For example, you can say: “I’m very comfortable traveling for business. It was part of the job function for previous roles I’ve had. Though I wouldn’t be comfortable traveling more than 35% of the time.” This will help to set some limits on the travel that you’d be comfortable doing. Which is useful in managing the expectations of the interviewer you are speaking with.

Stay enthusiastic, be honest with yourself

At all costs, whenever a question like this is asked, try to stay positive and answer with enthusiasm even when you feel as though you may not feel that enthusiastic. This is because you can always come back to the interviewer at a later date, potentially by email, and ask if there is an opportunity to change some of the requirements like business travel. If you aren’t comfortable with travel, it's advised that you be honest and tell your hiring manager that you aren’t. They will decide whether this is a deal-breaker or not.

What does "percentage of time willing to travel" refer to?

In most circumstances, let's say you are employed full-time. That means you will be working 1,920 hours a year. The percentage of travel is a portion of the total amount of hours or days you are willing to travel. For example, if your employer asks you to travel at least 20% of the time, that means up to 384 hours traveled. Or, in other words, around 16 days out of the year. You must clarify with your employer whether that is including weekends or not. It is okay to say to your employer that you would prefer not to travel for business on weekends.

Helpful tips when speaking about business travel to interviewers

Here's some things you should keep in mind when speaking about business travel:

  • Speak in a positive light about being able to travel.
  • Ask if the travel is local or international.
  • Ask questions to what the travel is for.
  • Ask questions related to how the travel expenses are handled.
  • Speak highly of the fact that you've had prior business travel experience and feel comfortable doing so.
  • Ask what percentage of travel is expected of you. If you don't want to ask that, you can suggest a certain travel percentage you are comfortable with.

Here's what you should not bring up when speaking about business travel:

  • Tell the interviewer it will change your mind about the position.
  • Speak about negative travel experiences you've had in the past.
  • Speak about negative business travel experiences you've had.
  • Inquire too heavily about who is going to pay for the expenses. Don't be aggressive about the compensation portion of the question.
  • Change your mood and become negative towards the interviewer.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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