8 Ways to Stay Close to Your Family While Traveling for Business

Traveling for long or short periods of time can take its toll on you, especially when you're off somewhere for work while your family is home, no doubt missing you and waiting for you to get back. The good news is that technology lends itself very well to staying in touch, although you have to use it to its best advantage, especially if you don't want to miss all the special moments that occur in your absence. Try a mix of technology and old-fashioned remedies, and although your family will still know you're gone, it will feel like you're there.

Try to FaceTime Regularly

video phone chat with dog

Image via Flickr by Iain Farrell

Truthfully, if you have any kind of face-to-face app, this will work. You can use FaceTime, you can Skype, you can do anything as long as you can see your family back home. Before you leave, make sure that your spouse and the kids have a laptop, computer, or tablet with a great camera, and make sure everyone has the necessary software to handle whichever app you use. It's important to have a good connection as well, so that everyone comes through crystal clear.

When you're setting up this option, set clear boundaries and rules as well. For example, if you know that you won't have the opportunity to keep up this kind connection every single day, make plans to do so at least once or twice a week. Keep your family's schedule in mind as well, so that they aren't forced to choose between, say, concert band practice and taking to you.

Make Use of Social Media

Social media makes it easier to stay in contact with anyone, whether you're traveling or simply live in a different area. If your children have access to social media, use the opportunity to keep in touch. Of course, you should do this with your partner as well. Update your whereabouts, share anecdotes and photos, and generally keep everyone in the loop about your trip. You may even decide to keep a traveling blog, devoted to your day-to-day doings.

Take Photos

guy on phone taking photos

Image via Flickr by Alex

One of the best ways to reconnect with your family when you're away is to make them feel like they're right there with you. Naturally, when you're traveling for business, you're typically busy. You may not have a lot of time for sightseeing and exploring the new towns and countries you visit. Still, when possible, snap some photos. You can use a real camera or your phone, which has apps you can use to share photos with your family easily. Think about trying Instagram or Snapchat for starters.

Send Letters and Postcards

stack of post cards

Image via Flickr by Stefano Montagner

Sending quick emails and instant messages is a great way to keep in touch when you're on-the-go, but on longer trips, put some more thought into it. Look for postcards to send the kids, whether you're doing business in Paris or Pittsburgh. Write longer letters to your spouse or partner while you're away, so he or she knows how you feel and what's on your mind.

You don't have to write daily, but taking the time to do something more old-fashioned often means more. The postcards will give your family mementos, which will also help them feel like they're able to experience all these new places with you. As for those longer letters, they're very good at keeping the spark alive when you're separated from your partner.

Talk on the Phone

Of course, a simple phone call goes a long way. Even if you can only spend five minutes chatting, it's important to call your family once a day or so. At least once a week, make sure you set aside time for longer calls. You also need to make yourself as available as possible for those necessary last-minute calls. For example, your son may need to ask you for relationship advice, your mom may need to vent about your dad, and your partner may simply need to connect with you and hear your voice.

Buy Gifts

This might seem a bit like bribery, but that's really not the case at all. You want your family to know that you thought about them, even while you were busy working. Picking up small souvenirs and thoughtful gifts is a wonderful way to do that. Again, it doesn't matter if you're somewhere fabulous, such as Los Angeles, or in a smaller, more out-of-the-way city, such as Utica, New York. It's the thought that counts.

As for how to send your gifts, that's up to you. On longer business trips, you may want to send care packages filled with small trinkets. Larger gifts are ideal for that wonderful day when you finally arrive home.

Play Games Together

word game on cell phone

Image via Flickr by Incase

Thanks to the Internet and mobile technology, it's easier than ever to play games with people, even when you're far away from them. Whether you have Angry Birds tournaments or play a few games of Words with Friends or Hangman, you can really connect with your family, especially the kids. This is particularly perfect when you're in transit, waiting at the airport, on the train, and waiting for all those endless meetings to begin. Having fun is essential, because your family needs to know they're still firmly on your mind.

Record Videos

Taking and sending pictures will delight your family, but there's no reason not to take things one step further. Take the time to record some videos during your travels. You can do this on your mobile device with the same apps you choose to take pictures. If you see something funny or interesting, sharing it with your family will also make them feel like they're right there with you. You can always take longer videos during your downtime, or capture quick home-movie style videos so your family can see you when they're missing you.

Your job may sometimes take you away, but you don't have to feel disconnected from your family, and they don't have to mourn your absence. How do you keep in touch with your loved ones when you have to travel for business?

Contributed to jobs.net by Kim Evans

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