When you’ve got kids, business travel is especially stressful. It’s hard for them to have mum or dad away, and it’s hard for you to miss them. Here are 5 ways that technology can help:
- Google your trip: Before you hit the road, spend a few minutes showing your kids where you’ll be going. Google your destination and show them a few images so they can picture the city you will be visiting or even the hotel where you will be staying. Use Google Maps to show your child where you will be and how it relates geographically to your hometown. This is a great way to make geography real and meaningful to your child.
- Download a bedtime story: Maybe you don’t want to lug the complete Beatrix Potter collection, but you can download one of your kid’s favorite books to your e-reader or laptop. Call or Skype at bedtime, and ask your spouse or babysitter to turn the pages of your child’s storybook while you read the words on your virtual edition.
- Make a movie: When my husband is on the road, he often shoots a short movie for the kids with his phone or webcam. It might be a walk down the Vegas strip, or a puppet show he puts on in his hotel room (don’t forget to pack the finger puppets!) It lets the kids know he’s thinking about them and helps him feel like they are along for the ride.
- Make a playlist: Our family bedtime features a now-standard set of bedtime songs. The kids prefer it when we sing for them ourselves, but in a pinch we can pull up their favorite bedtime songs on the iPhone so they won’t object when (unlike their dad) I forget the words to U2’s Pride.
- Yelp a souvenir: You can count on the airport newsstand if you want to return home with a plastic airplane or a stuffed mascot for the local sports team. But it’s much nicer to bring the kids a small souvenir that relates to one of your passions. If you’ve got even a 20 minute break in your meeting schedule, use Yelp to find the nearest art supply shop, toy store or hobby shop and pick up a gift that reflects your child’s latest interest. Or better yet, Yelp before you leave home to find a really outstanding craftsperson or toy store in the city you’ll be visiting so that you can return with something that is unique to your destination.
Of course, the number one way technology can reduce the stress of business travel is by keeping you at home. These 10 ways to use social media to get the most out of business travel can help.