How To Balance Family and Business Travel

You have a family that you love, and you travel frequently for work. CLS™ focuses on extended stay travelers, and most of our clients stay away longer than 5 nights–this blog should really hit home with many of you. (Get it?!) Although balancing business travel with your beloved family seems like a tug-of-war game, you have two positive options to divide your business and family time more seamlessly when traveling. Either you can take your family with you and deal with additional responsibility of having them in tow, or you can depart solo and make an extra effort to communicate. Both ways, you can maintain an awesome family bond even if you’re constantly out of town.

According to NBC News, a survey conducted earlier this year by the publisher of Family Circle magazine noted that of all business traveling readers, 77 percent took along a family member or significant other on their last business trip, and 47 percent do so most of the time. Obviously, If your family leaves with you, you won’t have to bear the pain of missing them from miles away. On the flip side, toting your family along on corporate trips, often called ‘blended travel’ by the experts, means you’ll have to make added accommodations because you’ll be taking care of someone other than yourself.

For example:
-If it’s late spring or summer, try to find a hotel with a pool. Children will entertain themselves in a pool for hours. You may even catch a few moments to check your email!

-Some hotels come fully loaded with fun options for children, including play areas, water parks, and learning rooms. Find some hotels that offer these accommodations here. Some locations at major national brands also feature private babysitting for an additional fee–call ahead to see.

-Your per diem meal allowances may feel a little tighter if you bring children along because you’ll have to split the budgeted amount between more people.

-If you have younger children, you may have to skip late-night drinks with your coworkers in favor of their earlier sleep schedule.

-Consider car seats. Some states require seat belts that accommodate children’s car seats by law, while others do not. If you have a car seat, make sure you call the driver ahead and request a vehicle with seatbelts and top tether anchors. If you hail a taxi with seats that are not safe for your child, call another or request a car via the Uber Family program. Click here for more info about this safe, family-friendly offering from Uber.

-Think bringing children to business engagements is a bad idea? You may want to think again! Many experienced business travelers argue that allowing children (especially older children) to go to your business lunches and dinners helps you demonstrate soft skills that you carry over into a professional setting. As one traveler says, “It becomes a more personal relationship when you bring your child.”

If you’re wary of letting your children accompany you on a business trip or feel as though bringing an SO would become too distracting, never fear! There are plenty of options to help you close the distance between you and your family.

Here are some ideas:
-Be their human alarm clock to let them know you’re thinking of them first thing in the morning. Make every effort to call them during the times when all of your lives slow down–early in the morning, at bedtime, and around lunch.

-We’re sure you’ve heard of Skype. You can make free calls everywhere. Google Plus Hangouts let you watch the same videos while chatting with loved ones. Most new phones have the Face Time application that works much like Skype, just on a smaller screen.

-Share your life with them by posting updates, pictures, and videos on social media sites. If you’re a blogger, drop a few lines about your trip, including interesting sites you’ve seen along the way.

-Does an addiction to Candy Crush or Words with Friends run in the family? Challenge them to a duel whenever you find some free time in the hotel room or subway (or maybe an especially boring meeting!).

Although neither option will work for every person or every trip, you may want to consider switching up your travel arrangements to see what makes both your family and your company’s travel policy happy. Does the thought of speaking into a webcam terrify you? Could you imagine letting your children join you to a business banquet? Whether you’re taking your family along for the ride or leaving them at home, a more open mind toward your next trip might make business travel more fulfilling than ever before.

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