For some, the idea of bringing the kids along on a business trip may seem unprofessional or irrelevant, but it can be a great way to ensure a balance between work and family. And in fact, business travel and families have been meshing for years. KiddieCorp, one of the top meeting planners for child care at business events, just celebrated their 28th anniversary. Additionally, the online business magazine AllBusiness released an article stating that more than 32 million business trips in 1998 (16 years ago!) included children. According to the Travel Industry Association of America (TIA) that is a 33 percent increase from the previous year.
In the informal business climate of today, you may find your company and colleagues are more accepting of children on business trips. To determine whether this is a manageable concept for your situation, here are five things to consider before booking those extra tickets:
Should you bring your family on a business trip?
- Do you have a set schedule?
If your trip comes with some sort of agenda you can better plan both yours and your child’s time. If the trip is less structured, it may be difficult to arrange and plan activities and child care.
- Should you bring a sitter?
Oftentimes businessmen and women will bring their spouse or a responsible family member to care for their children while they’re tied up in meetings. This allows the kids to venture out to local parks and attractions with a trusted adult. Keep in mind it is best to choose someone your children are familiar with. It may be uncomfortable for them to be left with an unfamiliar face, which might hinder your concentration at work.
- What will your kids do while you’re working?
Deciding what to do with your child is the last thing you’ll want to deal with while rushing to an 8:00 a.m. meeting. Ask yourself: what will keep them entertained while you’re working?
- Are there kid-friendly resources available?
Similar to KiddieCorp, many hotels provide sitting services and amenities for “junior guests.” Some resorts even have camps with water sports, crafts, and kid-suites with video libraries and play areas. If you’re going to a conference, it might be worth mentioning that you would be interested in a youth program. Often, if a handful of people request child care at a conference, the association will listen.
- Is this trip conducive to children?
Be sure that you’ll actually have time for family-time. If you’re going to be too tied up in meetings perhaps it might be best to wait for another trip. Also, is it the right destination for children? Some cities are more conducive to family time than others.