How Much Do You Travel For Work?


Many philosophers travel for work, delivering talks or participating in conferences and the like. In deciding whether to attend another conference, or accept another invitation, one factor is whether one has traveled enough, or too much. But how much is that? While there will be a lot of personal factors involved in that assessment, let’s see if we can get a sense of the disciplinary norms about travel.

Check your CVs or your calendars for the past couple of years and post how many trips you typically take in one year. Don’t refrain from answering if your answer is “zero,” as that is relevant information. Anonymous comments are acceptable, but note that your comment may be more helpful if you also include:
– What kind of position you currently hold (tenured, tenure-track, visiting, adjunct, graduate student, etc.)?
– What kind of institution you are affiliated with (e.g., R1, elite R1, regional state school, SLAC, community college, etc.)?
– Do you have a travel budget, research budget, or other institutional funds that pay for most of your travel, when your host is not covering such costs, or is your work travel paid for mostly by you from your personal funds?
– Do you have children or other dependents?

(Feel free to suggest other relevant questions.)

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GradAnon
GradAnon
7 years ago

I am ABD at a mid-ranked PhD program. Recently I have traveled to two conferences per year, with my school covering about two-thirds of the cost.Report

1700
1700
7 years ago

TT Assistant Professor at flagship state school with MA program.
$1700/year travel/research budget.
in the last 2 years: 3 presentations out of state, 1 comment in the region, 2 out of state conferences attended (driving), 4 conferences attended at home or nearby university

The budget is insufficient for my travel and book expenses. At my most recent conference, I had sleep on acquaintances’ couches because I couldn’t afford hotels in the city. Also, repayment of expenses is slow, and assumes you have good credit or spare funds to float the cost for a few months, which is often not the case.Report

elisa freschi
7 years ago

Project-leader at a R1-equivalent (in Europe), with dependents, with travel funds for two travels per year: I have attended about 3 conferences per year (two of them paid by my institute and one by the institute hosting the event). I used to attend 3 per year also when I was financing myself for the trips.

However: Why is this important? I mean, what do you want to achieve with these raw data?Report

justinrweinberg
7 years ago

I think people are interested in how what they’re doing compares with the norm (not just at their institution, but in the profession at large). What people may achieve with the responses here depends on the people and the responses. It may be used by some to argue for more travel, or more travel funding, and by others to realize that they are doing way more than normal, and so perhaps can cut back.

I suppose I should add my info. Over recent years I traveled about five times annually (including some relatively close events), with almost all of the expenses covered by my department or the host institution. I am tenured at an R1 state school and I have dependents.Report

TTState
TTState
7 years ago

I’m an Assistant Professor at a medium-sized state school, married with one child. I have a travel budget, but it’s not always entirely fixed. The travel is determined largely on a case by case basis.

This past year, excluding this summer, I went on 6 work-related trips during the academic year. All but one were within the U.S. One was for comments while the rest were for presenting a paper. All was covered by my Dept, except the international trip was partly covered by the conference organizers and partly by my Dept.

I’m junior but my sense is that this is on the higher side here and at other similar schools. Next year will likely involve fewer trips.Report

GradToTT
GradToTT
7 years ago

Since Spring 2012 I’ve given 17 external talks. 9 of these were in Europe. 9 were job market related. In that time I’ve attended 3 other conferences where I wasn’t on the program. I was a grad student at an elite R1 through the 2012-2013 academic year. Last year I was a post-doc at a SLAC. I had substantial funding in grad school (case by case but nearly everything got funded) and my post-doc ($1500ish for travel for the one year). I’m starting a TT job in the fall. The only real downside to the job is a rather low research budget (averages about $1000 per year for the pre-tenure years). I expect I’ll cut back on travel I pay for, but I hope I start getting invited to things because I love to travel and to give talks.Report

GradToTT
GradToTT
Reply to  GradToTT
7 years ago

I forgot about some nearby conferences I attended this spring. Since spring 2012 I’ve attended 6 conferences where I wasn’t on the program.Report

GradUK
GradUK
7 years ago

I am a recent PhD from a reasonable UK department. Very little funding for travel. No dependents. During my PhD I’ve been to 2 or 3 international conferences a year and about 8 UK conference a year. That includes some at which I wasn’t presenting.Report

GradUK
GradUK
Reply to  GradUK
7 years ago

Funding was either my own, from bursaries, or from external bodies.Report

anonjunior
anonjunior
7 years ago

As a grad student at a low-leiter-ranked department there was the possibility for up to $600 (competitive) funding from various internal sources. More if your advisor would pitch in from his/her own funding. In the last year I had good luck applying for funding outside of my university and managed to get all conference travel funded through the conference hosting organizations. In the fall I start TT at a SLAC. Travel funding of $800 or two conferences, whichever comes first. No additional research funds.

Interesting to note that (thus far) those coming from grad programs offering them significant resources for travel ended up in jobs which offer,to my mind, significant resources for travel, and vice versa. It’s almost as though access to more resources allows you to perform better. Though that may be a spurious correlation.Report

ND Grad
ND Grad
7 years ago

As a graduate student at Notre Dame, I gave papers at 20 conferences and comments at 3; Notre Dame funded travel and lodging to all of them, and to two that I just attended.Report

Assistant Professor at R1 Equivalent in Europe
Assistant Professor at R1 Equivalent in Europe
7 years ago

In the past 12 months I gave 7 talks, 5 of which were international trips. The host institution paid full expenses for 6 of these trips, and I used my travel budget to pay for the remaining trip. I have an annual travel budget from my university of 2.000 Euros, and external funding provides an additional 2.000 Euros. I have no dependents.Report

anon
anon
7 years ago

I take 10-15 work trips a year and most of them are paid for by my host. The rest comes out of my research budget. One of the reasons why this job appealed to me is that I like the travel. I am a senior Associate Prof at a Canadian University and I don’t have any dependents.Report