(Without Losing Your Mind)
There are a lot of benefits to being a regular business traveller. You get paid to see the world. You’re constantly exposed to the latest and greatest in travel technology. You’re always just a quick flight away from beating cabin fever, boredom, and that hum-drum feeling of being stuck in one place for way too long.
But business travel isn’t all roses and sunbeams, especially if you have a family back home anxiously awaiting your return.
Being on the road can wreak havoc on relationships, so more and more frequent business travellers are opting to bring their families along on business trips whenever possible.
When the two worlds of work life and personal life collide, the result can look sort of like a train wreck mixed with a science experiment gone horribly wrong.
Here’s how to spend quality time with your family on the road without tears, arguments, or compromising the professional purpose of your next business trip:
Set Clear Boundaries
A family-accompanied business trip is not the same as a family vacation. It’s important that everyone understands that, and sets their expectations accordingly.
Set clear boundaries around your work commitments. For instance, you might set aside 3 hours each morning to work in the hotel room while the rest of your crew sight-sees, or share your conference itinerary with your family so they can plan some activities without you.
By clearly communicating when, where, and how long you’ll have to work during your trip, you’ll avoid unnecessary arguments and crossed wires.
But a business trip isn’t all business, especially when you have a family in tow. Make sure to plan some special activities that will allow you to enjoy your destination in the company of your loved ones without worrying about work.
The best way to make this happen without stressing yourself out is to pre-plan outings and events before you’ve even left for the airport. This will give everyone something to look forward to and ensure you don’t miss out on quality time with the ‘fam’ during your trip.
It will also encourage kids and significant others to give you ample space when you do have to work. Use planned activities as “leave me alone” leverage, i.e. “No, I can’t go to the beach with you today, but I can’t wait for our trip to the museum tomorrow!”
Pad Your Trip With Extra Days
It’s always a great idea to pad your business trips with an extra day on the front or back end for sightseeing and exploration, but it’s even more important to do this when you have an entire family to entertain.
Even when you pre-plan, meetings and other commitments can ruin those plans in a heartbeat, leaving your family disappointed and disgruntled. Fly in a few days before or a few days after your conference, work session, or big meeting in order to assure enough quality time with your family.
This is also a great way to see more of your destination without the pressures of juggling meetings with being a tourist!
Bringing your family along on your next business trip is a great way to bond and expose your loved ones to the work you do and the big world in which you do it. Just take care to plan ahead, set clear boundaries between work time and play time, and set aside some extra time to simply focus on family.
Rebecca Anne Nguyen is a freelance writer and the Founder of TheHappyPassport.com, an inspiration site for solo female travellers.