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Go figure, business travel isn’t what I thought it’d be.

There was a time back when I was young and foolish when I thought I knew what “business travel” looked like. It looked like men in business suits carrying leather briefcases. I’ll admit to being old, but I’m not old enough to remember the 1950s firsthand – and yet that’s kind of the image I used to have of business travel. Which is why I find it so amusing to be doing some business travel myself these days – sans a business suit or leather briefcase (not to mention anything that would remotely qualify me as male).

While business travel used to be that sort of 1950s image, it’s certainly not limited to that any longer. As travel got cheaper, more people were traveling for work – whatever their work was. And even if a particular job doesn’t require regular travel or seem like an occupation that would involve any kind of travel whatsoever, there are so many professional conferences these days that basically anyone could find one to attend if they wanted to. In other words, business travel now comes in lots of different colors and flavors.

Another misconception I used to have about business travel was that it always meant going to places you wouldn’t ordinarily go, or even want to go. Places with potentially funny-sounding names but with no perceptible redeemable qualities as a vacation destination. But the organizers of professional conferences have their act together and often plan gatherings in fun cities – Las Vegas remains one of the most popular conference destinations in the U.S., although as I’m not a Vegas fan myself I’m glad the conferences I’ve been sent to haven’t been there!

In my worklife, even before I was a travel writer for BootsnAll, I’ve been sent to such cool cities as New Orleans, Minneapolis, and Atlanta. Last year I attended the BlogHer conference in San Francisco, and this summer I’ll be going to BlogHer in Chicago. (Not being a fan of high heat, I loved the temperate July weather in San Francisco. I’m apprehensive about late July in Chicago. The airline tickets to Chicago were cheap, or I’d have had a really good excuse to skip this year’s conference.)

But I also know I’m lucky in that every time I go to Italy, a place I would happily go on vacation, it’s work-related. My trips to Italy are, technically, business trips. Yes, it’s extraordinarily fun, and I love every second of it, but it’s also work – and I definitely work hard when I’m there. Those trips are yet another reminder of how varied business travel can be.

Now, at some point my good business travel karma may run out, and I’ll be hunting for flights to Oakland* and looking up the rates for Oakland airport parking to boot, but for now I’m going to enjoy the business trips I get to take and not forget how lucky I am to be taking them.

* No, I have nothing against Oakland. But just try comparing Oakland with Italy. I dare you.