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People who are frequent business travelers have unique issues. The fact that they are often on the road, missing important family events and not seeing much of their family often takes a toll not only on them but also on their spouses and kids.
They also spend their time feeling guilty and lonely for being somewhere else while their significant other is forced to deal with everyday issues alone.
If you are trying to balance your business travel and family life, you already know it isn't easy. Still, these couple of tips can really help you keep stronger family bonds despite your frequent business trips.
Preparing the Family for Your Business Trip
When you know you're about to love soon, it's important you prepare your loved ones for your absence.
- Have a special time with the kids - find a specific time before you go on a trip to spend with your kids. You should be completely focused on them at that time - let it be a time reserved just for them without distractions.
- Consider your kids' feelings - allow your kids to express their sadness. Don't sneak out when they're not there; allow them to say what they feel and tell them you can see they are sad. They need to know their feelings are appreciated.
- Support your spouse's decisions - you and your spouse need to have an agreement where neither one of you will undermine the decisions of your spouse. You don't need to be the "good" parent who allows kids everything when you're at home or letting your spouse representing you as the "bad" parent who will punish the kids as soon as you get back home.
Keep the relationships real while on a trip.
While you are away, you need to do your best to keep in touch with the family.
- Evening phone calls - have a conversation with your kids and spouse before they go to bed. Don't ask your kids a bunch of yes/no questions. It's better to ask them what they want to talk about and what the best part of their day was.
- Create a tradition - try to make your trip fun for the kids. Buy a specific souvenir from every trip (like a mug) so that kids feel excited every time you come. You can also take a stuffed animal from your kids' room with you and take photos of the animal traveling with you. Or send your family pictures throughout the day, making funny faces and with cute messages.
- Video calls - whenever possible, have a video or a Skype chat with your loved ones. Seeing your face is immensely important to them and it builds a stronger connection, especially if you are frequently away.
Take your family with you.
Sometimes it's possible to have your family with you while you're on a business trip. In most of the cities, like New York, London or Sydney, there are many high-quality corporate suites suitable for families so that you can be together during the trip. You just need to set a couple of rules.
- Have a together-time every day - maybe you'll have business meetings all day or you will be expected to attend business dinners. In that case, try to have breakfast together as a family or a family dinner when you're done with meetings.
- Find some fun activities - do your research before the trip on where you can have fun as a family. It can be an amusement park, a kid theater, a zoo or an ice rink. It's important to have your kids see your business trips as an opportunity to see something new and to enjoy an adventure with you and your spouse.
- Have your spouse make their own plan - don't let your spouse spend the whole day waiting for you to come when you said you would. There will always be unexpected things at work and you don't want your spouse to have their plans ruined just because you didn't show up at all.
- Bring someone else to take care of the kids - sometimes your spouse won't be able to go with you on a trip, but if it's possible to bring someone else with you, like your mother or a sibling, no reason why they couldn't take care of the kids while you're at work. Take any chance you get to spend with your kids - your spouse will appreciate that even if they are not there.
Finding a balance between a family life and business trips will always be a challenge. Still, if you do your best to let your family knows how much you care about them even if you're not with them very often, they will know how to appreciate that.