5 Tips to Integrate Work and Life During Business Travel

Here's how to manage your personal life while on the go

(Image: Thinkstock)
(Image: Thinkstock)

Whether you’re single or married with children, the life of a frequent business traveler can be frustrating and overwhelming. In addition to taking care of your regular day-to-day life— you’re trying to figure out how to pack light, manage your workload and keep your sanity while getting through airport security. And if you’re a road warrior, traveling more than 2-3 times a month for business, you’re living out of suitcase and making personal sacrifices—missing or delaying family events, neglecting housekeeping duties, loosing sleep, etc.

So can you really have it all?  Can you balance traveling the world while being successful at work and personal life?

The reality is, it’s up to you.

To set yourself up for success, change your mindset and think work-life integration, not work life balance. Work life integration means finding creative ways to leverage a support network at home and technology to make it all happen.

Another key factor is defining success for yourself. According to Harvard Business Review, “When you are leading a major project, you determine early on what a win should look like. The same principle applies to leading a deliberate life: You have to define what success means to you—understanding, of course, that your definition will evolve over time. Executives’ definitions of professional and personal success run a gamut from the tactical to the conceptual. For one leader, it means being home at least four nights a week. For another, it means understanding what’s going on in the lives of family members. For a third, it’s about having emotional energy at both work and home.”

The bottom line is your perception determines your own reality. Here are some additional tips to consider:

Rethink the way you organize traditional work and non-work hours.
Nowadays, the line between work and home is often blurred. For instance, we’re all guilty of checking work email on vacation or during non-working hours. So be flexible and negotiate core-working hours with your employer, client or even your spouse.

To keep your sanity at home while traveling, take a break around the time school ends so you can use Google Chat or Skype to virtually help your children with their homework, eat lunch/dinner with loved ones, hear about their day, or speak to them before they go to sleep at night. If you’re a weekly business traveler, cook for the family on Sunday so the food will last throughout the week.

Plan Ahead. Before you depart, research your destination to locate restaurants, gyms, parks, shops ATM’s, and public transportation terminals, that are located in close proximity to your hotel and/or office site. Knowing this information beforehand helps you focus on work and personal matters when you arrive.

Mobilize your daily, weekly and monthly activities. In addition to using social media to stay connected to family, use technology and mobile apps to set up automatic bill payments, attend therapy sessions via video conferencing or even participate in your church service via live streaming, if available.

Keeping track of expenses—boarding passes, receipts, etc., is another huge challenge for business travelers. Instead of waiting to return home to manage and submit expenses, complete expenses right away with apps like Concur. Concur allows you to easily upload photos of receipts, compile summary reports and track expenses.

Set up a network of support at home. Hire a professional to do the basics at home without feeling guilty. Whether it’s house cleaning, landscaping or a home dinner delivery services like Blue Apron, having routine tasks done while you’re away on travel give you more time to tend to your relationships and favorite activities when you return home.

Take Advantage of Frequent Traveler Perks – Air & Hotel loyalty programs is not only a great way to expedite the booking process but many reward programs offer many amenities that extend to other airline/hotel partners. Plus, you can use points to plan family vacations. Check out some of the best frequent flyer programs and hotel rewards programs via US News & World Report.