Easy business travel helps for professional parents
If you’re on the go a lot for business, like I am – whether it’s speaking, attending meetings, serving clients or serving audiences – balancing necessary travel and parenting can get tough. Not to mention the expenses you can incur. That’s why I wanted to do a small round-up of my favorite easy business travel helps for professional parents.
Pack your own food.
It seems like a simple tip but it can really impact you on so many levels. Having healthy snacks that keep temptation at bay and energy at its peak makes a big impact. You can both avoid spending too much money on food and avoid that afternoon and early evening drag. After all, you want to have the energy to check in with your family at home. Personally, I find protein or nutrition bars good choices but you do need to learn which ones are actually good for you and which ones are basically like candy. Look them over and read the ingredients. I like to shoot for a minimal number of ingredients and only ingredients I recognize. I figure if you don’t recognize ingredients, they probably are not helping you. Above all, you have to experiment with what works for you because what keeps one person full and energized might not work for someone else.
Bring your own motivation and entertainment.
Face it, as much as you plan to work on the plane or during downtime, you likely don’t. I know that I just want to decompress. To provide inexpensively for this, I download Netflix movies to my mobile, and binge-listen to podcasts. Having my own choices encourages and refreshes me. Podcasts and audiobooks, in particular, are wonderful ways to build yourself up and develop yourself personally, professionally, and as a parent. They are especially nice during any long ride because you can sit back and just listen. You’re don’t have to try to balance anything on your lap or sit a certain way to read something. Of course, make sure you have fully-charged batteries and a backup or two.
Go digital for saving business cards and capturing receipts.
This may seem like a small thing but it can save you precious time once you’re back home. When you’re home, you want to see the family, not burn time entering an entire stack of business cards into an antiquated system. Go digital with an app that will instantly scan business cards into digital contacts. This app scans paper, like business cards, and in moments you have everything captured. It even connects you via social media, such as LinkedIn. Now you can take care of all those papers you bring home, like business cards, conference handouts, and receipts in mere minutes, saving you precious time.
Save time and money on flights and hotels.
We always want to save money on everything – and time is a precious commodity. My favorite site for booking flights is HipMunk. They give you all the information you need to know for layovers, total time your trip will take, and more. All this information helps me plan my schedule more accurately to not miss important family events.
For saving on hotels, I use Hotwire and also recommend you check Priceline. They’ve made being able to tell where you’re likely to stay pretty intuitive so you can feel comfortable booking their undisclosed hotels. I’ve found relying on guest ratings is pretty solid. Plus, if you end up needing something last minute, you can book with confidence, even from your mobile. I’ve done a whole article about hacking Priceline in the past, you can find it at SavingsAngel.com/priceline.
Stay connected with your family.
Obviously, using video chat on various platforms, like FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangouts are common ways. But what if you want to do things like read a book together or help with homework? I recommend two ways: the Caribu app and good ol’ Google Drive.
Caribu.co is like FaceTime meets Kindle, for kids. It allows parents to read and draw with children when they’re not together. They’ve created an engaging livestream, shared-screen experience within a secure platform. The library contains hundreds of storybooks and drawing books, in six languages, from leading children’s publishers. Caribu features video-calling (with audio-only fallback for low-bandwidth issues), a real-time story guide pointer to follow along, real-time drawing in multiple colors, and much more. No more missing story time just because you’re gone on business.
Google Drive allows you to work math problems together, check your child’s book report, and more. Content is shared with only those you invite. When you log in together, you can watch them work live or they can watch you type as you verbally discuss the work over the phone or through a calling platform. You can even leave notes and questions for one another if they have a question or you notice something they should fix before handing in their paper. My favorites are Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets.