The emotional cost of business travel

Whilst very few people enjoy living life out of a suitcase, business travel can sometimes be unavoidable, which can often be incredibly disruptive, not only for working mums but for their families too. As well as causing chaos to the daily routine, there can also be a financial impact – especially if you miss the cut-off date for claiming those expenses back.

Air Travel

 

Money worries

Research recently conducted by Travelex revealed the average daily spend of business travellers abroad is a mammoth £353.72. What can be done to effectively manage these costs? Here are our top tips:

  • Find out if your firm has a company credit card which decreases the pressure on your own credit and debit cards.
  • When flexing the company plastic, be sure to use it sparingly – you never know when you might need to ask for it again!
  • Keep all of your receipts somewhere safe and get them to your accounts team as soon as you’re back in the office.
  • Alternatively, you could use products, such as a Multi-Currency Cash Passport which is a prepaid currency card that will make spending across multiple countries much simpler.

So, with a bit of careful planning and self-control, you can reduce the financial pressures of business travel. What about the emotional impact on parents who are away from young children?

Worries for working mums

The survey revealed that 37% of females have concerns about travelling abroad for business; a figure considerably higher than males at just 24%. Also, 29% of women see business travel as an inconvenience, almost double that of men (16%).

On the back of that, almost twice as many women (36%) felt anxious during their trip as men (18%), and 16% admitted feelings of guilt, a figure slightly higher than that of male respondents at 14%.

Not only do parents miss their children: there’s also the list of daily tasks, which are often taken for granted, that can pile up in your absence. Such trips can put additional strain on partners left at home to hold the fort, especially if they are doing things they are not used to.

For single mums, the pressure increases further, as finding a relative or babysitter to watch the kids for extended periods of time can be a big ask – especially where younger children are concerned.

Worries for the stay at home dads

It’s not just mums that feel the strain of business travel. Parents who are left at home to look after the family will also be affected by the increased work load. Responsibilities that were shared are now taken on by the person staying at home. Here are a few tips on how to makes sure your partner at home is comfortable and equipped to manage the home and family in your absence.

  • Communicate – before you leave for your trip, make sure yourself and your partner are clear about expectations whilst you’re away. For example, will it be business as usual or are the kids allowed special treats?
  • Get help – with double the responsibility at home your partner may need a little help. This could be in the form of paid babysitters and cleaners or even just a helping hand from friends and family.
  • Keep in touch – it’s not just your kids that will be missing you. Be sure to schedule in time to catch up with him separately to the children to show you are thinking of him too.

How to prepare

How can you alleviate these feelings of guilt and anxiety? By doing the following:

  • Make it fun, and mark the day you come back in the kitchen calendar with a sticker, allowing them to cross off the days at breakfast.
  • Kids need a routine, so try ensure your sitter sticks as closely to their normal daily schedule as possible to avoid problems.
  • A treat, such as pizza or a trip to the cinema, will give them something to enjoy whilst you’re gone.
    Use your smartphone to check in with a video call chat each day.
  • Commit to some quality time with them when you return and bring them a treat from duty free – a little can go a long way!

With a little bit of pre-planning and some TLC, you can ensure you keep your mind focussed on work, without worrying too much about things going pear-shaped back home.

This allows you to enjoy your leisure time and experience some local culture – all the things you wouldn’t have much time for at home.

*Megan Landauro is Global PR Manager at Travelex. The article draws on parenting advice from ABC News, Bright Horizons and Parent.com.





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