Business travel is almost never anything like independent travel, although you can certainly incorporate elements of the kinds of trips you take for fun into your next business trip. Any business traveler with a family knows that sometimes a business trip is about more than just business. Depending on where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone, bringing the family along on your next business trip may be unavoidable – or enjoyable.
Some of the keys to successfully blending a business trip and a personal trip when you bring family along have more to do with your family’s expectations than with anything you as the business traveler can do. Yes, it’s important for you to have realistic expectations about how much “fun” time you’re going to have since you’re traveling for work first and foremost, but if the family you bring along isn’t willing to go out and see the sights while you’re working you’ll end up working all day and then returning to an unhappy family at the hotel.
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You definitely need to set expectations before you leave home – how much time you’ll have to spend with your family, what activities you’ll be available for and what attractions they can go see without you (because you don’t mind missing them) – but be sure you don’t leave all the fun stuff to your family. If you’ll be tied up in meetings and with work for the entire time your company has planned for you to be wherever they’re sending you, consider adding extra days either at the beginning or at the end of the trip (the latter is often easier) so you can spend some quality leisure time with your family. Have fun with an open-top bus tour of New York even if you’ve been there a hundred times, get out of the city with some Madrid day trips if your family has already covered all the basics, or bring your family to your favorite Hong Kong haunts.
Set your expectations and those of your family appropriately, make sure your family is adequately prepared to enjoy the destination without you, and add some time before or after your business trip to actually enjoy the location with your loved ones – and just about any business trip can be successfully merged with a fun family adventure.
photo by Elizabeth/Table4Five