Here are my top five tips for mixing business and family travel on one trip. If you’ve been following along with my Instagram, you’ve seen my business and family travel posts. I am incredibly fortunate because while my last few professional roles have involved at least some travel away from my family, I’ve also had the opportunity to bring my children along on at least a few of these trips. It’s less common for us now that my oldest is in school full-time. My thoughts and tips have changed as my children have aged and we’ve moved from one to two but these are created with parents of young children in mind.
Choose an all suites hotel like Embassy Suites! We stayed in four hotels over this trip because I had meetings in different locations and none were in the Embassy Suites (my favorite choice but not a sponsored post!). More than one of my phone conferences was taken in a bathroom with a towel over my head hoping that the other people on the call couldn’t hear the TV in the other room. My boys are used to being a home, so the space to spread out also just would have been great to have for our family.
Have childcare you can trust and depend on. When I walk out the door, I go to work even if I’m onsite in the same building. I’ve used a variety of childcare options from family to hiring a service. My last trip I was lucky to use the college-aged daughter of a friend and I loved it. I don’t worry about what’s happening. I give a list of instructions and am gone until I come back.
Work hard and play hard! I try and dedicate my playtime to my boys as fully as I can. During my off-time, I’m focused on them more than I might when I’m at home. During the evening and weekend, we hit the local attractions and explore as much of the city as we can. That’s a big reason why I bring them along.
Keep the expenses separate. If I wouldn’t do it for my normal business travel, I don’t include it on my business/personal travel mix. I book airlines tickets separately. From a practical standpoint, I try to keep my business expenses and my personal expenses separate. I don’t expense anything from my evening trips out. I keep my room service charges off the bill being charged to my clients.
Communicate with your employer/team. I have always told my employer and my team that my kids are coming along with my childcare plans. I don’t bring my children on every trip; if I know that it’s going to be a crazier meeting or conference, that’s not an appropriate one for them to attend. That way they don’t feel like I’m trying to hide anything. They know that I’m there for work during my work hours and my off time is already slated for other things. Plus I can guarantee, you’ll run into someone in the hotel.
One unspoken tip, you will be more tired than you are at home and will get no alone time. Because you’re all together in one room, schedules are all off and things just aren’t the same. Also because I don’t have the same commute, I’m always on. BUT on the plus side, I don’t have to worry about missing my children and we get to experience some incredible things together, which is always one of the greatest joys for me. Do you have experience with mixing business and family travel? Share your stories with me too.