Work From Zeus
Millions of people across the U.S. are working from home indefinitely. Work From Zeus is a safe and practical way for you or your teams to get their best work done. Learn More
Traveling for work is often considered a perk of the job. But when you’re working parent, traveling can come with a unique set of challenges.
Time away from your family might seem stressful at times, so it’s important to think outside of the box and get creative.
From sending postcards to discussing feelings, here are the Zeus team’s top 10 picks for parents who travel for work.
Being away from your loved ones during mealtime can be tough and if you’re the parent who’s traveling, you’re either exhausted at the end of the day or out for dinner with colleagues. For parents who are away for a few nights, try to make a commitment to sharing a virtual meal with your kids at some point during your travels. This can be morning hot chocolate and pancakes or dinner where everyone sits around the table and talks about their days (the only difference will be that you’ll be present in screen-form, rather than physically). Sharing meals with your family, even when you’re away, is a unique way to spend some time together and reconnect.
To a kid, parents who travel for work seem to be off doing exciting things in new places. To get your young children intrigued with geography and also let them know how to follow your travels, bring out some maps before your departure. Mark the places where you’ll be going and talk about the places you’ve already been to. This will help your little ones feel more connected even when you’re in another state or country.
In addition to maps, share the details of your trip with your spouse and kids by making an itinerary. This is especially good if a husband travels for work and the wife is left behind — or with the wife on business trip and husband back home — because it gives transparency to your plans. It’s easy to get anxious if you don’t hear from a loved one. But if your plan lands, you hop in a car, and business meetings ensue, it can be hard to find time to type out that text or make a phone call. With an itinerary, even though your family will still miss you, they’ll have a better grasp of where you are and what you’re doing. It will also help with communication and what times are best for family calls.
Traveling spouses issues aren’t fun, but it’s common to have them if you don’t put in the extra effort. Make a point of planning a date night before you leave for your trip, whether that’s ice cream and a movie in the living room after the kids go to bed or dinner at your favorite local restaurant. Although nothing beats being together in person, a date night can be a good way to bid each other farewell before a week of travel and tide you over until you see each other again. If you don’t have time before you leave, plan something special for when you get back. Even a quick coffee or wine date on the patio can be a nice way to reconnect with your spouse in between the hectic schedule of work traveling.
In the midst of school, work, after school activities, and meetings, it’s natural that quality family time can take the back seat. For kids with parents who travel for work, it’s important to schedule regular family time. Life is busy, so remind yourself that it’s okay to keep things simple. Playing a game of catch outside, going on weekend hikes, or spending some time together making a new recipe like homemade pizza are all positive ways to spend time together. When you’re a parent who travels, you might not be there all the time, but you can make sure that the times you are there are memorable (and fun).
When one traveling parent, or both parents, travel for work, kids might feel overwhelmed, anxious, or sad when you leave. But on the positive side of that, they’ll also feel happy when you return. Keep the communication line open and let your kids (and your husband or wife) know that it’s okay to express how they feel. Maybe they feel angry that you missed their soccer game or upset that you got home later than you said you would. Discussing feelings with your kids and spouse can lead to less disappointment, and more understanding, in the future. You can even implement a “feelings box” where kids can leave notes and you can discuss them all together as a family.
Whether you’re the one traveling or it's your spouse who’s on the go, surprises are a sweet way to show you care. Traveling for work and relationships can often be difficult to maintain at the same time, but a little surprise can go a long way. If you’re a parent, consider leaving a special note behind or a box of your child’s favorite homemade treat. For your spouse, a present that can be used for times when they need to treat themselves, like a new bottle of nail polish for your wife or your husband’s favorite coffee beans. The best part about surprises is that the best ones are sometimes the simplest — like post-its hung up the bathroom mirror if you leave early in the morning for your work trip or a pre-rented movie that your spouse can enjoy after the kids have gone to bed. On the flip side, if you’re the spouse who stays at home, you can also think of gifts for someone who travels a lot for work, like a personalized coffee mug with photos of your kids or a new shirt that’s washed and ready for the trip. When you make surprises personal, there’s no way you can go wrong.
When kids have parents who travel for work, the “bigness of the world” is thrilling. Even a quick overnight trip to a city a couple of hours away can seem exciting. Whether you’re in another town or across the country, get into the habit of sending your family a postcard. If it arrives after you’re already back home, that’s fine! The fun part rests in the fact that your family can keep a postcard box and when they miss their working Mom or Dad, they can pull out the box and be reminded of all the neat places they’ve been. Work together as a family to keep a running list of all the places you’d like to go together someday. That way, you’ll look forward to the travels both individually and together.
The routine of work travel can be drastically different than your at-home family life routine. Whether it’s tying the shoelaces of your youngest or meeting your spouse for a midweek meal at a local restaurant, the comfort of your routine at home can feel good. When you’re a husband who travels for work or a wife on business trip, these routines look a bit different, but you can still maintain some of them (while also creating new ones). For some parents who travel for work, the idea of missing bedtime stories with their kids is too much to bear. Thanks to technological advancements, you can still be present for storytime with your little ones just from a different place. Simply do a bedtime reading via video or make time for an evening phone call to your younger kids. To avoid traveling spouse issues, come up with a new midweek date routine that can be done from afar. Meaningful long-distance family time can be done — it just requires you to get a little bit creative.
One of the easiest ways to get more family time in for parents who travel for work is to bring your family or significant other along with you. If you get a family-friendly rental, you can cook together in the kitchen with your kids and have morning coffee with your spouse. Of course, you might not always get a rental when work takes you on the road, but if you’re traveling during summer vacation or breaks from school, a rental is a wonderful way to be together. At Zeus, we offer everything for furnished home rentals, from multi-bedroom apartments to cozy neighborhood homes. Whether you’re working in LA or San Francisco or Boston, you can bring the family along with you to experience a new area.
From rentals to postcards to the occasional virtual dinner, there are plenty of things parents who travel for work can do to make their families feel special and content.
At Zeus, we’re wishing you luck for those times when work takes you on the road! Stay safe and enjoy the journey.