Ideally, taking a business trip means just you, your passport, a laptop and a case of smart clothes for the time you're away. But what happens if you need to take the children on the trip as well.
As much as it'll be a shock to the system, days of sitting around in an anonymous hotel, or heading for back-to-back meetings, can be turned into fun-filled adventures where you can get more out of the trip as much as the children. At The Wise Traveller, we have put together five smart ways of surviving your business sojourn with the kids in tow:
Plan with Care
Taking the children with you means you need to consider how a long-haul journey will affect them, with time zone changes, cultural changes, and strange food. So plan with care, develop the trip into an adventure for them to look forward to and provide an educational buzz for them. But don't forget, business comes first, so don't slip up and merge the business trip into a family trip. Keep things separate and have to-do lists that keep both of your tasks in hand and under control.
Bear in mind that the young ones have their routines and may well conflict with yours and your business trip aims. Factor in meetings that will have little impact on your children's habits and ensure they are suitably refreshed and are given enough activities to stop them from getting bored, and having a knock-on effect on your routines. A business trip across different time zones means your child will be doubly antsy with the routines and times.
Reach for the Inner Child
As much as you have to be a business person on the outside, ensure that on the downtime you actively immerse your inner child and take the youngsters for days out, to the hotel's pools or even to local landmarks that enable them, and you, to get a broader view of the world. And why not have fun doing it with a trip to local restaurants for a taste of the regional cuisine? Also pack their 'comfort items' such as colouring books, toys and electronics, so that their break is just as enjoyable as yours.
One of the significant elements of business travel is just that. When is the best time to travel to cover meetings and then fly home? When you have family in tow, why not utilise hotel loyalty brands and your freedom to stay a long weekend, with meetings clipped late into the week, or early Monday. By doing so, you can enjoy the days with your kids with the knowledge that you can hit the ground running for business.
One of the important elements of business travel is just looking after your self. When you have the little ones, then childcare costs will have to be factored in, as will how you achieve getting childcare in a different city, country and culture. Work through the options either with your company, the hotel, who may offer a long-standing childcare arrangement for such an issue, or even with the business people you'll be meeting, as they may have alternative options for you.
Andy Probert left the British rat race after a 25 year as a journalist and PR specialist to live in Turkey and now Cyprus, a compulsive traveller his favourite places include Vietnam and India among many. Among the travel Andy continues to write freelance and still maintains a PR client base.