Next week I’m attending Problogger on the Gold Coast and this post is my entry to the Virgin Australia competition. All thoughts are my own and based on my own experiences.
For the last 2.5 years hubby has travelled for work. Each fortnight he heads to Melbourne for 3-4 days. When it was just the two of us it worked quite well. As much as I missed him, I would go out a lot to keep myself busy, I could watch whatever I wanted on TV and the three nights would fly by.
But then fast forward 12 months, Olivia arrived and solo parenting on a regular basis was a whole other kettle of fish. Olivia misses her daddy, I miss the extra set of hands around the house (and hubby of course!) and hubby misses us.
So when we can, we head down to Melbourne with him and turn a work trip into a little family holiday. We’ve done it a number of times now so I have mastered how to make the most of it.
If your partner is a regular traveller they will likely have access to the airport lounge. Make the most of this! It’s so nice to be able to pop your bags down, grab something to eat and get ready for your flight. If you get to the airport early you won’t be hanging around at the gate which makes for a much more pleasant travel experience.
I’ve also been in the situation where I have flown down on a different day to hubby. In this case he has taken the luggage so I just need to worry about my day bag and Olivia. For little babies, a carrier is your best friend. The first time I went through airport security I didn’t realise that I needed to take the carrier off so just be prepared for this.
Hubby always has a hire car so we hire a car seat from a local baby hire place. They fit the car seat into the car and it is waiting for us when we arrive. But while hubby is at work we need to use public transport to get around. Research the area you are going to and check the transport options available.
What to pack
We take our own pram when we travel but you could hire one from a baby hire company in the area you are travelling to. Like with the car seat, they can often deliver this to the airport so you are ready to go when you land.
I always pack a few more nappies and couple of sets of clothes as sometimes work trips can get extended out. It is easier than having to head to the shops and buy a whole new packet of nappies. I also pack a bag of lightweight toys that don’t take up too much room in the suitcase. Often while hubby is at work we are in the hotel room for a couple of hours so you need something to entertain the kids by yourself.
I also pack a lunchbox and small containers of snacks. When you arrive you can head to the supermarket and pick up things like yoghurt, cheese, fruit etc. If your lunchbox has an ice brick but the hotel mini fridge doesn’t have a freezer, ask at concierge and they will usually be able to pop it in the kitchen freezer for you.
We are really lucky that hubby stays at the same hotel each time he travels so when we go together we can almost always get a really awesome room upgrade. It doesn’t hurt to ask. Sometimes you can get an upgrade if you are happy to move rooms on the second night of your stay. When you ask for the upgrade, make sure to mention this.
If your partner is a frequent visitor to the hotel chain you might also have extra perks you can access such as an Executive Lounge or free breakfast. If your partner doesn’t know then ask the hotel. We will usually head up to the Executive Lounge after 8:30 for breakfast. Everyone has left for work so we aren’t disturbing anyone and I can get a coffee and some breakfast rather than heading down to the restaurant.
Making the most of your family time
A work trip means that most of the time you will be on your own with the kids but during the time you are together as a family you will want to make the most of it. Often breakfast and dinner might be the only time you get together during the day (which is probably no different to home!). If your partner is getting back to the hotel after the kids have gone to bed, ask the hotel concierge about good takeaway or delivery as this will be cheaper than room service.
The best way to make the most of some family time away is to extend the trip. We usually stay for the weekend and spend the time out and about. Often I will take hubby to great little places I have discovered while I have been at work and sometimes he takes us to cafes that he goes to when he is travelling alone. You will likely have to pay for any extra accommodation yourself (depending on the generosity of the company!) but in my experience it is worth it for a few extra nights away.
I’ve assumed here that it is your partner who is travelling as that is my situation but they can equally apply in the reverse. When we head to Problogger I’m bringing hubby and Olivia with me so it is my turn to head to work while he is looking after Olivia. I best send him this post!
What are your tips for family time on a work trip? Do you or your partner travel a lot for work?
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