This post originally appeared on Best Western’s YouMustBeTrippin.com’s blog, where I regularly contribute stories. I was compensated for this post but the opinions are mine.
My work can sometimes be back-breaking, so when I travel with my wife and/or children for business, I try to go on the offensive to make our trip count as something good and memorable.
The key to a good work-family trip is to plan ahead as much as possible. Here are some of the things that I do to have more enjoyable “workcations” with my wife and/or children:
Make your nights and weekend family time count: Unless your spouse or children are able to be integrated into “work” activities, try to separate your nights and weekends only for family gatherings/outings.
Indulge your wife’s and children’s wishes: If the family or your spouse is accompanying you on a work trip, I recommend you let them dictate what you’ll do and enjoy with your free time. They are making sacrifices to stay up with you during work, so it’s only fair to cater to them.
Consider taking your spouse or kids to work meetings: This sounds so, well…unprofessional, but it’s true. I have clients and business contacts who are more like friends at this point in my career, so I get away with doing this more often than most anybody else I know, but this is not unique to me. Increasingly, it’s becoming acceptable to do business trips accompanied by your spouse or children. Some spouses and children are not compatible for this, but if they have the right temperament and you’re meeting with somebody that you feel close to, why not? My wife and children appreciate what I do more because they have that up close and personal understanding of what I do and who I work with. Besides, haven’t you heard of “Bring Your Kids to Work Week?”
Bring cultural and historical context to the place you’re visiting: I’ve been to most of the nation’s top major metropolitan cities many times so, in order to break out of the monotony of those visits, my wife and I often go out of our way to discover something culturally or historically new whenever possible. Of course, there are always places in L.A. or Austin or New York City that we treasure visiting every time but, for us, it’s equally important to make those visits feel different so we look for something a little different each time.
Make your culinary experiences different: One of the biggest perks for me and my family as we travel is to enjoy unique culinary experiences. When we head to Louisiana later this summer on our way to Austin, you can almost be sure we’ll stay away from fast food restaurants. When we travel, we want to build unique culinary memories you can only acquire from local restaurants.
Fully utilize tablets and smartphones: When all else fails, for the kids, turn to tablets and smartphones. All children love to turn to their beloved devices when bored, so be sure to keep these loaded with games and movies. There are even apps that are both fun and educational so, whenever possible, download those from the iTunes or Android app stores.
When all is said and done, with a little planning and discipline, you can make something positive and memorable from your “workcation” for you and your family.