10 Ways Working Parents Can Make Business Trips More Bearable

At my previous job, I traveled at least two weeks out of every month. I maintained this schedule for three solid years. I was on the road so much that I had to check my itinerary every morning just to remember where I was. I reached the point where business travel was making me and my family miserable. I felt guilty about leaving them so much and they missed me while I was gone.

Although many people believe that business trips are glamorous, they really aren’t. Most of the time you only get to see hotel rooms and airports. But business travel doesn’t have to be all drudgery. After a couple of years of bland hotel food and general travel frustation, I decided to change my attitude about travel and make the most of the opportunities I was given.

You can also make your next business trip more enjoyable and remain connected to your family by following these 10 tips:

  • 10 Ways Working Parents Can Make Business Trips More Bearable 1 of 12
    working parents business travel

    Click though for all 10 tips.

  • Stay Organized 2 of 12
    boarding pass

    One reason why travel is so stressful is because many people are disorganized. Develop a system to keep track of your travel documents, appointments, and itineraries. I use a clear, plastic folder to store my paper documents and I keep digital copies on my phone and laptop. You should also make digital copies of your IDs (driver's license, passport) in case you lose them. Make sure to leave a copy of your itinerary and contact numbers with your family.

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

  • Book comfortable accommodations 3 of 12
    hotel

    I've stayed at some pretty crappy hotels over my lifetime and I've discovered that life is too short to spend it in a fleabag hotel. Find out as much as you can about your hotel before you reserve it. There are many websites that allow you to review user's recommendations. Read them carefully and book the best hotel you can afford. Your accommodations don't have to be lavish, only comfortable.  If things don't feel right when you arrive at the location or if you're concerned about your safety, you should immediately move to another hotel.

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

     

  • Bring a momento from home 4 of 12
    Mr. Terrific

    When I travel, I always bring my son's Mr. Terrific action figure with me. I place him in unusual locations, photograph him and send the picture to my family. They always like to figure out where Mr. Terrific is and it allows me to maintain a connection with them. You can bring a stuffed animal, doll, or photo collection—anything that reminds you of home.

    Photo via Frederick J. Goodall

  • Breeze through the airport 5 of 12
    DIGITAL CAMERA

    The airport is another major source of stress. Before your trip, visit the TSA website to get up-to-date information on security requirements. Knowing what you can and cannot do will make your life easier. Be sure to take advantage of airline's frequent flier programs. When you accumulate enough miles, you can bypass the long security lines and receive preferred boarding privileges. Finally if you travel internationally, you should apply for the Global Entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States.

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

  • Get out of the hotel 6 of 12
    band music

    When you're traveling for business, it's easy to get caught up in the cycle of going to the office, attending meetings and crashing in the hotel room. To break the cycle, I like to visit local music venues to check out up-and-coming bands. If music isn't your thing, ask the concierge to recommend interesting activities or events.

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

  • Document your journey 7 of 12
    IMG_0161

    Whenever I travel, I always bring a compact camera that takes video and still photos to document my journey. I used to rely solely on my iPhone, but storage and battery life became an issue. I like to document every part of my journey from the airport to the local sights. I want to allow my family to relive my experiences as much as possible. Don't forget to include yourself in some of the photos and videos. Ask others to photograph you at various locations. 

    Photo via Frederick J. Goodall

  • Eat like a local 8 of 12
    crawfish

    While I was in Hawaii, I stopped at a local dinner for breakfast. After talking to a few patrons, I ordered one of their favorite dishes rice, eggs, and spam. I've also eaten fish heads in Indonesia, Zurek in Poland, vegemite in Australia, and crawfish in New Orleans. Once when I was in Mexico, my coworker took me to the seediest, back alley restaurant to eat. Although the ambiance wasn't great, the food was spectacular. Be adventurous and try things that you wouldn't ordinarily eat. 

    Photo via Mocha Dad

  • Stay active 9 of 12
    jogging

    Travel allows many opportunities to exercise. Start by walking to your gates at the airport instead of taking shuttles. If you're runner, check with your hotel's front desk for running maps. Many hotels have created nice running routes that will allow you to get some exercise and explore the city. You can also pack a jump rope or exercise cables to workout in your room. If possible, walk to your meetings and appointments. You will arrive more alert. Don't forget about the hotel's workout rooms. If you're a member of a gym, check with them to see if they offer guest passes at their other locations.

    Photo via Stock Xchng 

     

  • Keep in touch with family 10 of 12
    cell phone

    Tools such as Skype, Google+ Hangouts, and Facetime allow you to stay connected with your family. These tools have made travel much more bearable for me because they allow me to see my family and they can see me. You can also record short voice message or send them short video messages via Vine. You can also keep in touch via social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Send frequent messages and call to let your family know you're thinking about them.

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

     

  • Buy meaningful souvenirs 11 of 12
    snow globe

    Don't stock up on last-minute tchotchkes from the airport gift shop. Buy guys that your family will actually enjoy. My daughter likes to collect snow globes and I always bring her one from each city I visit. I buy jewelry for my wife from local artisans and I get my sons unique toys. I make sure to pick a gift that is meaningful to the recipient and has some local flavor. 

    Photo via Stock.Xchng

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