If a work trip involves a nice location, you may want to take the family too. But how do you make the most of combining business with pleasure?
Delaying the family’s arrival.
“You might ask your family or partner to come out later so you can get most of the corporate entertaining out of the way,” says Alex Cheatle, founder of Ten Lifestyle Management. “It’s a good idea to move hotel – and possibly area – when you do this, to get the worker out of work mode.”
Be strategic about meetings.
However tempting, never agree to do something with your family straight after important meetings, as they may over-run. Instead, make sure family are doing open-ended activities during these events.
Ensure the family has access to communications.
Little is more stressful when you are supposed to be working than tracking down a lost spouse in an unfamiliar city. “If something goes wrong with a phone in Shanghai or Delhi, it can ruin your business trip. We’ve had to track people’s partners down in these places,” says Mr Cheatle. So, agree a fallback way to make contact beforehand.
Investigate flights, hotels and restaurants.
Your company may allow you to trade one business class seat for four economy seats. With restaurant meals, says Mr Cheatle, think ahead about receipts. If you bring the family along to dine with clients at an expensive restaurant, you do not want to be working out how to split the bill at the table if you cannot claim for your family. Similarly, agree with your company about how you claim for the hotel.
Lastly, says Mr Cheatle, good, worry-free childcare is a compelling reason to stay in five-star hotels.
Use your family.
This will vary, but in some cases, having family members with you can be an asset, and your business contacts may be delighted to introduce families and help yours see their city or country. “It can be a real bonding experience,” says Mr Cheatle.