Most of my professorial colleagues travel a lot during the academic year and during the summer, as do I. In 2007, I discussed the issue of academic year professional travel in terms of how to deal with missing a class (for example: trade teaching with a colleague? cancel class? show a movie? ask a grad student/postdoc to substitute for you?). Now I am curious about how much we travel. That is, I am feeling very quantitative.
I am feeling quantitative because I have before me the number of miles I flew last year on one particular airline: 69,287 (= 111,044 km). In a random poll of two colleagues in my department, their numbers are similar: one flew 57k miles and the other 62k (down from > 75k the previous two years). Of course, not all professional travel is by airplane, though here in the US it tends to be.
Overall, I think I travel more now than I did at earlier stages of my career, with a few prominent exceptions when I was a Distinguished Lecturer or something like that. I think the increase in travel is mostly related to professional factors and not so much to personal factors (e.g., the age of my daughter), although the duration of some of my professional trips has increased now that my daughter is older.
Below are some polls, organized by professorial rank and not controlled for the size of the country or continent that one inhabits.
If you are a professor, how much did you travel LAST YEAR (calendar year 2008), and has this number changed (up, down, not) as you have progressed through the academic ranks? For assistant professors, 'previous academic rank' refers to the graduate student and/or postdoctoral stages of one's career.
1 year ago