Bringing a Spouse on a Business Trip: Good Idea or Bad?

I had to travel with my wife recently.  I say “had to” rather than “had an opportunity to” because she doesn’t travel nearly as much as I do. 

She enjoys figuring things out for herself, and that’s one of the reasons why I love her dearly. She’s also very headstrong, and she can be as stubborn as a Tennessee mule. These are more reasons why I love her, but they’re also reasons why I don’t always look forward to traveling with her. 

I wish I could tell her, “Just do what I do, go where I go, trust me completely, and don’t ask questions.”  I also wish I would win the Lotto.

When one of you has to travel for business, and the other wants to come along for a quick vacation, you can certainly save a lot of money and you can have a great time. Just make sure you communicate and set some ground rules before you leave, so you know what to expect from one another. 

Actually, she and I get along famously when we vacation these days. I take her along to interesting places whenever I can, and she enjoys the independance of exploring on her own while I’m working. 

Sanity-Saving Tips

We do have some secrets that alleviate the stresses such a trip can cause. After all, when you’re both on vacation or on a trip together, neither one of you are in your “home comfort zone,” and things can get stressful quickly if you don’t make an effort to avoid some of the hassle.

Here are a few of our tips:

1.  Plan a surprise along the way.  It’s exciting to be able to say, “Guess what honey, I bought the VIP tickets so we’re on the front row!”  Or, “we’re not taking a cab, I found us a water taxi instead!”

2. Keep the pace on an even keel. You might think it would be awesome to see five cities in five days, but your spouse might not.

3. Communicate! If you finish your work day and come back to the hotel, do you expect to find your partner there? What if you’re going to be late? The more often you can phone in or message your schedule and plans, the less time you’ll spend stressing out over what you might miss when you’re not together.

4. Respect each other’s privacy. On the road, I usually wake up early.  If I don’t let her sleep in for an extra hour, I know she’ll be grumpy and “nappish” in the afternoon. So the rule is, “DO NOT DISTURB” in the confined space of a hotel room.

5. Go solo! Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. It’s a blast to split up, see stuff, take pictures, and compare notes later over dinner.

6. Keep yourself amused. During the boring moments like long taxi rides or tour bus rides to sites a long way off, come up with a game or two that will keep you both laughing. Guess the first person in the tour group to sweat through their shirt, or assign a movie star name to the weird people you might be traveling with.

7. Spend the money, just once. Every trip has at least one opportunity for you to splurge and spend way more money than you think you should on something that wouldn’t ordinarily buy. We didn’t plan on spending the money we did on a special ring we found in a jewelry store in Alaska, but it is still, seven years later, the root of some excellent memories and conversation.

8. Chill. Learn to relax. You know more than most just how flexible you have to be when you travel.  If the restaurant loses your reservation, take delight in telling them, “SEEYA!” Then find an equally nice place TOGETHER to go instead.

EXTRA:  Please feel free to leave comments on this article! If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send him a “Tweet” on his twitter account.  You can also follow Ken on Twitter @foodbreeze!