When you travel for work it can be challenging to actually explore the various places you travel to. It is not a vacation or weekend getaway where you have entire days to do the fun stuff. If you work during the day, you only have your evenings free. If you work overnight, you only have your afternoons free. Basically, you only get a few hours of time for yourself. Jason works overnight and I try to keep the boys as quiet as I can so he can get some type of sleep. By the afternoon my oldest son is ready to get out of the hotel room, especially if it is a smaller room. So, by 2:00 pm we are usually leaving to explore. Sometimes we just use the pool or explore the hotel.
Below I share what I do to make Jason’s work trips a little more fun. More local work trips I do not plan much ahead or write it down.
Google and Pinterest are my go-to resources when planning out fun work trips. It can be time-consuming but I enjoy it! Even with places that seem to have nothing, there is usually always something to do. I try to find both fun, different, and budget-friendly things to do.
You can find ways to save here.
Have a Detailed Packing List
You will already have more to pack with kids and work clothes, so do you really want to pack even more than you actually need? Plan out every outfit including shoes, accessories, jewelry, etc. I plan my outfits around what we are doing each day. I typically pick the same color scheme to make the process easier. My older son has a small Mickey Rolling bag that he fills up with the toys he would like to bring. Sometimes he has a reusable paw patrol bag too.
You can find our packing lists here!
Going out to eat gets expensive and I try my best to keep us within a budget. I pack and stop at a local store for snacks, fruit, PB&J, etc. Every hotel we stay at provides a free breakfast. We eat breakfast as a family before Jason goes to sleep or after just a couple of hours of sleep, depending on what time he gets done work in the morning. For lunch, Jason stays asleep and we eat in the hotel room, on very rare occasions we go out to lunch as a family. Dinner we always eat together. Most of the time it is in the hotel room with something we packed or bought at a local store. There are times we go out for dinner. One of our favorite hotels has multiple restaurants onsite and their pizza is delicious.
You can see more details about eating at hotels here!
Write it All Down
This is important, especially if you are far from home and/or it may be a once in a lifetime type work trip. Write out the dates you will be away and the areas that you will be in and near. Then write down each place you want to visit each day. Check the distance of the places because you do not want to waste most of your time driving. I literally handwrite it down using pretty stationery and I love doing it that way. My iPhone is only used for research, pictures, and video.
Keep it Simple
Since we have just a small amount of time to explore, I do not pick places that may take a few hours or more to explore. I also try to avoid places that are more than 30 minutes away. The only exception is if we are more than 5 hours from home and if it is a place we may never visit again. Only pick one place to go each afternoon, small towns that are walking-friendly with shops I count as one place. Do not have high expectations. No need to add extra stress, even though sometimes with kids it is unavoidable.
Do you travel for work often? Share your advice and experiences in the comment section below!