Business travel is often seen as a whirlwind of glamor and excitement…by those who don’t need to do it. Those who do travel regularly know that while it can be glamorous and exciting, it’s often tiring and dull, too. If you’re a regular business traveller who also happens to be mother, you’ll know that it is extra-exhausting for you, adding yet more lines to an endless to-do list and taking you away from your kids more often than you’d like.
Even if you have a super-supportive partner and a job you adore, it’s hard not to feel guilty and annoyed about being away, but there are lots of things you can do to make business travel less tiring and time-consuming. You could buy a pre-made travel kit, for example, rather than spending time packing up your toiletries every time you travel.
Follow this advice to help you embrace business travel by making it as easy and enjoyable as possible.
When time is short, lists and routines are your friends. If you travel on predictable days (working away two days a week, every week, say), it’s relatively easy to do this. If your travel is more sporadic and unpredictable, it can be harder, but not impossible.
Have a packing list, so you don’t have to think and can be ready fast if you need to travel at short notice. This should naturally include things like your laptop, phone and chargers, but also everything you need to look and feel well-groomed. Travel can make you frazzled and grubby, which is not how you want to be when you need to impress at a meeting. A personal hygiene kit is a must-have to help you spruce up fast and look the part after your journey.
And always make sure you always know where you need to go and how you’ll get there. Either print out all your meeting, hotel and flight details, or make sure they’re easily accessible on your phone.
Buy a bag that is easily packed, light to carry and won’t have to be checked-in. A bag that zips open entirely on one side is much better than one you’ll have to dig around in to find everything. Before you leave for a trip, open it up and do a quick check to see that everything you need is there.
Nights out and time alone are both in short supply for most mothers. Business trips can provide a great opportunity for both. There will always be networking drinks to attend and colleagues to catch up with, and you won’t need to worry about being home for the babysitter. Yes, it’s part work, but it can be fun too, so dive in.
Travel can also be a great chance to spend some time by yourself, with no-one making demands on you. Take a night away from your colleagues and work if you can, and enjoy a long soak in the tub or time to read a book or watch a movie without interruption. If you can’t take a night entirely off, use some solo time to think creatively about work problems or even just to catch up on emails.
No doubt you miss the kids and your partner when you’re travelling. They miss you too, and may even be a little jealous that you get to explore lots of places that they don’t. So why not, whenever you can, have them along for the ride? Of course, this won’t always be possible, but think about ways it could be done. If you could arrange a meeting for a Friday, then you could fly them out to join you for the weekend and spend a couple of days exploring together. They’ll feel part of your world and you’ll have turned your business trip into a family holiday.