Many young professionals just entering the workforce look forward to business travel. Not only is it a great opportunity to see the world, but your flights and meals are typically paid for. However, as they continue to grow older, settle down, start families, and become seasoned road warriors, business trips can become irritating disruptions in your personal life. Business trips force you to spend time away from your loved ones and you are often left feeling out of the loop. However, as technology continues to improve, staying in touch with your family will get easier and easier. Using a combination of new technologies, and old methods of communication, your family will feel your presence even if you’re thousands of miles away. Here are our top tips for staying in touch with your family for your next business trip.
- Constant Contact: Grab your smartphone and bring it with you everywhere you go. You probably already do this, but having it with you at all times just means more opportunities for staying in touch. You can send a quick text to check in on your family and loved ones without having to take any additional time or effort out of your day.
- International Communication Apps: Prepare for international travel by downloading applications like Viber, Whatsapp, and Skype. These are all free tools that help you stay in touch with your family in various ways. All you need is access to Wi-Fi and you’ll be able to talk, text, and video chat with your family.
- Snail Mail! While old-fashioned, sending mail comes with an extra layer of sentimental value. Grab a postcard in each of your stops and send one each day. You can also write a letter and include a picture of your from your trip. This will be especially appreciated if your business trip will be taking you away from home for extended periods of time. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Now you can combine it with a handwritten note and it’ll be worth even more.
- Social Media: You can always use social media networks to stay in touch with your family. For example, update your Facebook status every day, your friends can also keep up with you while you’re gone. You can also upload pictures of yourself or a certain place, and tag any of your family in them with a caption like “I miss you guys” or “I wish you were here”.
- Share your Schedule: Once you have finalized your travel schedule, share it with your family and loved ones. This way they know when they can call you if they really need to. You can easily create a shareable business itinerary by using TRAVO, a business trip planner, and email all of your friends and family a link to your itinerary.
- Schedule Family Time: Build family time into your business trip schedule. It can be extremely difficult to find a time that works for everyone, especially if you will be crossing time zones. Before you leave, compare your schedules and find a time at least once a day to schedule a call. That way you will be sure to see and talk to your family at least once a day.
- Email: Send them an email. This a very similar concept to snail mail, but if you’re in an area where sending letters or post cards is not possible, or your schedule doesn’t allow for time, sending emails is a great way to provide updates with photos without having to search for a post office and stamps.
- Surprise Gifts! Surprise your family by leaving small gifts and notes around the house. Leave them in areas that your family is likely to pass. This way they will get little reminders of you as they go through their normal day.
- Play games on your smartphone: Add an element of fun to staying in touch with your family by finding a turn based game like Words with Friends or Quizup. This is especially great if you are going to be traveling away from your kids. You can still play and have fun with them, even if you’re in a different country or time zone.
- Bring a totem from home: Grab a toy or stuffed animal from your kids and bring it with you everywhere you travel. Not only will it make for a nice travel buddy for you that will remind you of home, but you can create an entire photo series of your travels with your kid’s toy that you can share. This way you’re bringing a piece of home with you every time you leave for a trip.
- Presents: As you travel, especially to new places, try to find a small present for your family. This will also sweeten any business trip you will take in the future for kids because they know there’s a gift for them at the end and will minimize hard goodbyes. If you travel a lot, try to find small unique snacks or other useful household items to prevent clutter from accumulating in your house.
No matter where you will go, no matter what will you do, your family will always come first. These are our top 11 tips for staying in touch while on business. If you have any of your own, please share them below!