Should You Bring Family Along in a Business Trip?



Frequently traveling on business has its pros and cons. On one hand, you get to see the world on company dime. On the other hand, frequent travels mean time away from loved ones. Some people have wondered whether it’s acceptable to bring family along. Is this a good idea? Is it even allowed?

The Statistics

Of course, it’s up to your boss whether having your family in tow is permitted. Most company policies are actually pretty lenient. As long as it doesn’t get in the way of business and you pay for your family’s traveling expenses, then most higher-ups don’t have an issue with it. In fact, according to a survey from Global Hospitality, 55% of business travelers have brought family along on at least one occasion. Another 29% indicated they have not done so but would consider it for future trips.

Is It a Good Idea?

This is a highly personal decision with pros and cons. If you don’t mind paying for an extra plane ticket and hotel accommodations, then bringing family along is a great way to spend quality time in a new location with plenty of sightseeing opportunities.

The Pros

There is, in fact, a trend known as bleisure, where people traveling on business also use the opportunity for partaking in pleasurable activities. If you go alone, then you’ll be eating out alone, shopping alone, or visiting a historical art gallery by yourself. By bringing a significant other along, you enjoy together-time in a place you otherwise may never have visited. This is especially beneficial for married individuals who have very little family time due to getting caught up in work-related affairs. It is often very difficult for couples to travel solely for leisure due to spouses having very different work schedules.

For those that bring kids along, this is also a wonderful opportunity to introduce them to different cultures and customs. If the trip includes ample leisure time, then this can serve as an improvised family vacation.

The Cons

If you travel with family, you always run the risk that their presence can interfere with the business aspect of the trip. You may think you can keep the two separate, but there may still be some unforeseeable conflicts. Some people have reported awkward moments that caused them to rethink future business outings with family.

If the trip requires attending a business dinner, for example, there may be a company protocol regarding whether it’s permissible for spouses to attend. This can frustrate your partner if he/she has to spend an evening alone in the hotel room while you go to a fancy dinner. This could sully what was supposed to be an enjoyable time for you two.

Even if a spouse is able to attend, that can create its own problems as well. A spouse joining the party for dinner may create an awkward atmosphere for the client/partner if he didn’t bring along a guest of his own. The client may also not appreciate you bringing along your spouse in what was supposed to be strictly a business affair.

The People You’re Bringing Along

You also need to take into consideration the personality type of the person you’re bringing along. Is your partner sociable and able to hold a conversation on their own? Or is your partner more of the quiet and reserved type? Imagine this scenario: if during the dinner you were to leave for the restroom, will your spouse and the client keep the conversation going. Or will there be an awkward silence? If the latter, this may not bode well for your career. It certainly doesn’t form a good impression if the client is meeting you for the first time.

It’s Your Judgment Call

Ultimately, you have to judge for yourself whether bringing someone along is a wise move. If this is your first business outing, then it may be better to wait until you’ve been on a few trips. If your family stays home, keep in mind that you may be able to keep in touch through your mobile. See this global roaming charges page to determine if you can use your mobile device for your destination.

Dan McCarthy is an Event Manager at Mask, an event management company based in the UK. Dan has 6 years of event project management under his belt. He has worked on many successful events, and currently, he shares his knowledge by writing on the company blog. Follow him on Twitter @DanCarthy2.

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