Like it or not, business travel is a reality for many modern-day professionals. The problem is it can pose additional challenges — not to mention create stress — among working parents. Consequently, what could be a perk ends up feeling like a burden.
Since work travel is often unavoidable, advance planning and thoughtful considerations can make trips easier — and even fun — provided you find ways to stay connected with the ones you love.
Sharing the Details
Before you leave, it’s important to set the tone for your travel. That includes sharing arrival and departure times and hotel location. It’s also important to establish realistic lines of communication with your loved ones. So, have a game plan in place, one that includes knowing if you’ll have reliable Internet access at the hotel and what the hours of your work day will be. Before you leave, figure out if Skype or some other form of video communication is feasible, too.
Although it takes time and effort before travel, stocking the fridge with homemade meals, and the pantry with favored snacks and treats, helps those at home feel loved and nurtured while you’re away. If time allows, consider preparing a few family meals in advance. Then, freeze them. It’s a way to ease your partner’s day-to-day responsibilities. It’s also the closest possible thing to a warm hug — something your children may find themselves longing for, and you wishing you could give.
Be Realistic — and Honest
Since business travel means you’re working on the road, it’s important to establish ways and times you’ll communicate prior to take-off. Although it’s important you don’t set expectations too high, it’s likewise essential to stick to your promises. It’s also key that your kids — and partner back home — know what to expect and when. Nothing hurts a child or partner’s feelings more than when you don’t follow through.
Bring Home with You, and Leave You at Home
It’s helpful — and meaningful — to leave thoughtful surprises at home, such as daily journal entries for kids, which detail where you’ll be and what you’ll be doing. Or, tuck encouraging daily messages into an envelope, knowing your kids will delight at the thought of reading them each morning or before going to bed. Then, pack a little something from your world to take on the road. It’ll help you combat the homesickness many traveling parents feel.
Show Them Where You Are
Make your location more tangible by sharing visuals with your loved ones. Whether you video chat your way through your hotel room upon check-in or send pictures of the places you visit, offices you work at or what you ate for lunch, sharing imagery during your business trip can help kids envision — and feel more connected to — your day.
Spend Time Together — Remotely
Even when you’re away, there are opportunities to bond. That’s true whether it’s joining in on a multi-player video game or watching a favorite show “together” and video chatting or texting throughout. In between those times, quick texts, photos, emails or video messages make all the difference in the world.
Just be sure once you’ve established these tools, you use them. You’ll find yourselves together in important ways — even when you’re apart.
How do you stay connected with your loved ones when you travel for business? Sound off in the comments below and share your best tips!
By: Jennifer O.