Most of the time, you probably travel for business alone. But, on a few occasions, bringing your spouse or partner along gives you an opportunity to spend quality time together in a new setting. Anything’s possible, as long as you both understand the situation and set expectations ahead of time and are willing to go with the flow.
Perhaps the best time to bring your other half on a business trip is (a) when your destination is a place where there’s lots to see and do independently; (b) when other partners are coming along, too, and can keep one another company; or (c) when your spouse can visit family or friends in the vicinity during the workday.
Whatever the scenario, here are a few tips for getting the most out of business travel with your spouse or partner.
- Engage in activities together and apart. Obviously, on a business trip, business is supposed to take priority. The person who isn’t working should understand he or she will be on their own much of the time and take responsibility for entertaining themselves. But if your schedule opens up, you and your beloved can seize the opportunity to check out a local landmark, visit a museum, or go for a swim, etc. You can also plan activities together, such as dinner, a night tour, and stargazing, after business hours.
- Avoid drama. Business travel comes with enough built-in stress, so try not to pile on more of a domestic nature. You can be as giddy as newlyweds and still find yourself squabbling over some minor inconvenience. (“Do you really need that bag of peanuts from the minibar?”) Be exceedingly patient with each other. A spouse who listens and sympathizes when their partner needs to vent after a long workday can be a source of moral support.
- Communicate. When you travel alone, unexpected delays or changes in plans often don’t affect anyone but you. But if your loved one expects to meet you at 6 p.m. and you’re not going to make it, be sure to let him or her know. The same goes for expectations about what to wear when having dinner with a client, when to call home to check on the kids, and so on. Communication is key before and during the trip.
- Be flexible. Along the same lines, maintaining a basic attitude of “let’s be flexible” is ideal. Make a mutual pledge not to get upset if and when unexpected client demands crop up and plans change. Travel under any circumstances requires flexibility, and never more so than when business is involved.
- Splurge! Whether you’re celebrating a big sale to a new client or window-shopping after a long day of meetings, splurge on a fancy dinner or an unusual gift (as long as it’s not on your expense account). This can help make the trip a memorable one — and give you a story to share with your family and friends when you get home.