In my previous post, I described an immersive version of “Take your Daughter to Work” where I took my 7-year-old daughter on a three-day business trip to Boston and New York. This Daddy Daughter Business Trip was a success. It gave me a chance to show her why I travel so much and to teach her a bit more about money and how it is connected with our lives.
If you travel for work, I strongly recommend you consider taking your child with you on a trip. I think the right age is about 7, and I’d suggest starting with a 2-night trip first. Although my first trip was a Daddy/Daughter, any combination will enhance your experience of traveling with children. Some other key takeaways are:
I emphatically recommend taking only one child – you will struggle to keep up with one, and the magic comes from that one-on-one time.
Try to limit the work events to one or two a day. Kids need a balance between work and fun to see that they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Take pictures, lots and lots of pictures. Both of you. You’ll be glad you have the memories, and it’s fun to see what she thinks she needs to capture.
Plan two or three fun kid events each day. You’ll be surprised how much you enjoy them too.
Give a “trip allowance” so she can practice spending her own money. Kids need to start somewhere as they learn what’s a rip off and what’s not. There’s real value in letting them buy the junky toy that breaks quickly so they can avoid it in the future.
Try to incorporate some local flavor – we live in a diverse and interesting world, and chances are that your hometown is missing some of this color. Every trip can be a chance to expose them to a new sight, food or experience.
Try to meet up with some kids her age. After a few days of dad-time and grownup discussions, it was fun for Susie to have some down time with two girls her own age. Try as I may, I’m not very good at playing dolls.
A fancy dinner can be a lot of fun. Even if they’re not totally receptive it’s a good opportunity to begin to incorporate lessons on fine dining. And the pictures are priceless.
Treats and shopping are always welcome, even if it’s only window-shopping. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on toys to make the experience fun.
Remember that things will go wrong – embrace the fun of travel delays, cancelled meetings, and your inability to find a cab. These things are part of life, and it’s good to show that they can be handled with a good attitude.
If you end up trying this (or already have), let me know what worked and didn’t work for you. I’d love to follow up to this post with more tips from all of you.