One of the benefits of some careers is the ability to travel for work. I love work travel for many reasons. That’s not to say I would want to travel 100% of the time, but I do like to travel about 25% of the time. For my family, this number works for us.
I love to experience different places, cities, and try regional restaurants. I love exploring and taking in new sights. It is also not to my expense so that is also helpful. I view it as scouting for future family vacations and places to put on my bucket list for when I have more time to spend in an area. Often times, I will FaceTime my family and give them a room tour, share my meals and usually bring home a little treat. I try to share with them as much as I can so they do not feel as though they are missing out. Technology is a wonderful thing!
Traveling for work allows everyone to develop independence. Especially the kids. I hear countless stories from coworkers whose children cry when they leave. Their children are afraid of the parent not coming back or they feel abandoned. My kids know I will be back and that I am working. We talk about this alot and they understand it to be part of life. So whether I am gone for a day or for a week, they know it is temporary. Ultimately, I get “me time” while my daughter gets ‘Daddy time’.
They also understand that schedules may be flipped. We all get a better understanding of the various job roles around the house and this fosters a better understanding of everyone’s importance. Like when my husband had to attend school’s open house alone or when I have to remember to take out the garbage. It gives an appreciation for the family as a unit and for everyone as an individual. It ultimately leads to a better balance for you as well.
There are times on a work trip where there may be not much time to explore. This is especially true if there are dinner events and meals scheduled. It doesn’t mean, however, that it needs to be all work. If there is any personal time allowed, try to explore. The only two rules I abide by is 1) always be on time to any scheduled events and 2) do not overdo any alcohol consumption. It seems silly to even write but I have seen many people not know their alcohol limits and pay for it both personally and professionally.
Prior to leaving for the trip, I will often check for things to do in that area or restaurants I may want to try. Choose places close to the meeting center as so that traveling to explore is under 20 minutes each way. Think “Uber-able”. Yes, I made up that word but you get the idea! If your meeting involves anyone from the local area, this is a prime networking opportunity. If they live there, you can ask for their input or, better yet, ask if they would like to accompany you. It is a great way to build relationships and foster collaboration.
Many times, I may take an earlier flight to the meeting or come back on a later flight to accommodate some exploring. For example, when I have an afternoon meeting, I will fly out the night before and explore in the AM. This guarantees I will be at the meeting on time and allows me to see a few sites.
Site seeing and finding out about a local area also gives you some great topics of conversation. There have been so many times when facilitators or meeting hosts will ask “What did you do last night?” and the resounding response is “Sat in my room and worked”. Boring. I, on the other hand, will talk about the Museums I visited, the restaurants I tried and the shopping centers I explored. It makes the travel so much more interesting and in turn makes me more interesting and helps me build my network. It also shows independence, inquisitiveness, and ability to think outside the box and be confident wherever I am.
The next time you are able to do some traveling for work, take that opportunity. With a little forethought, you can get both personal and professional benefits from it!
If you are prepping for a business trip, shop some of my favorite styles below: