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The last few months for my family have been filled with traveling all over the United States. So, I had to learn how to manage my business and client work while traveling. And did I mention that I also have an active and rambunctious toddler that can make it practically impossible for me to work sometimes?
With over 10 trips logged as a family during the time I’ve been running my business, I’ve learned quite a few tips and tricks that have helped me navigate the tricky waters of being an entrepreneur and traveling, while also trying to keep my family sane. Here are my tips to help you work on your business while traveling with kids.
Prep Ahead of Time
For me, productivity and running a successful business go hand in hand. While I don’t believe you have to work 40+ hours a week on your business for it to be successful, I do believe you need to prioritize your tasks and make the biggest impact with the time you do have.
My family and I travel two to three times a year. I typically know when those times will be at least two months ahead of time. So prepping and staying productive help me get more done so I can spend less time worrying about my business while I’m away.
Here are a few things I do when preparing to travel:
- I block out my calendar and email all clients that I will not be in the office during the travel time.
- I’ll set a vacation responder for the dates I’ll be out.
- I look ahead in Asana and my calendar to see what I can work on ahead of time.
- I take time to batch tasks like social media and blog posts so they run on schedule.
- I’ll set my priorities on what absolutely needs to be worked on while I’m on the road or on vacation.
- I set up my systems and automations to carry the bulk of my work while I’m away.
With prepping, I’m able to get ahead on work and tasks, and also keep my plate from being too full when I’d rather be spending time traveling and enjoying time with my family. Also, prepping means I can focus on the super important parts while I’m “out of the office”.
Know Your Limits
I can guarantee you that you won’t be able to work as well as you would in your home office. Travel takes a lot out of you. On top of that, no matter how well planned your traveling or vacation is, something is bound to happen. Throw kids into the mix and it’s borderline chaotic.
Because of that uncertainty, it’s important to understand and set your limits on your work. What is the absolute max that you want to work while out of the office? What are some tasks that you can pass off or not do until you get back home? Are you able to outsource some tasks to a virtual assistant while you enjoy yourself?
Knowing your limits will keep you from feeling stressed and overworked when you’re supposed to be relaxing and celebrating. I get it. As entrepreneurs, it’s hard to shut off our brains and work to enjoy the fruits of our labor. But the whole purpose of traveling or taking a vacation is enjoying the moment your in right then. Don’t let the whole trip pass you by because you thought you just HAD to update your Instagram stories a million times in one day. Trust me, your business will still be there when you get back.
Schedule It In
One of the best decisions I made last year was scheduling in work time during traveling. Because we drive to most of our destinations, I have hours and hours that I can spend working while sitting in the passenger seat. So, I use those to my advantage. I will also work an hour before my daughter wakes up and an hour after she goes to bed since I’m the most productive when I’m not having constant distractions.
When traveling by plane, you won’t have as much time to focus on work, but I suggest trying to use half of the plane ride focused. You’d be surprised at how much you can get done in one hour when you’re truly concentrating.
When you’re traveling alone with the kids, bring distractions (I’ll talk about those more in a minute). If you’re traveling with your significant other or a family member/friend, ask them to watch the kids while you work and then you can switch places. If you have an infant that you need to breastfeed or hold close to you, get them comfortable and settled in and then work. And, If all else fails, wait until you land and get settled to ask for that time to work.
I remember when my daughter was an infant and we traveled out of state to visit my friend for her wedding. My daughter was a pretty fussy baby because she seemed to always be hungry. While breastfeeding or bottle feeding, I would get work done on my phone. I did this because I could do it with one hand, while also making sure she was taken care of!
Kids seem to get thrown off the most when traveling. Their toys, beds, and everything else is swept out from underneath them, and all of a sudden, they’re in a strange place with a bunch of people they don’t know. So how do you solve that? You bring in distractions.
When traveling, I keep our suitcase light, but my daughter’s bags typically have more in them. This includes:
- Various snacks. The compartment idea has been really helpful for us.
- A kindle. My daughter isn’t on it for hours at a time, but it saves us from a lot of headaches when she gets bored. Plus, we can download Netflix shows and movies for her to watch.
- Crayons and multiple coloring books (we also love using the magic markers so my daughter can’t make a mess).
- Magnetic board games.
- A Mr. Potato Head and various pieces.
- A kids car tray.
- An over the seat organizer.
Having a variety of items, snacks, and toys makes time fly by for my daughter. It also helps that when we stop during car rides, we take the time to stretch our legs. When we were flying, I would try to get a direct flight, but if we had a layover I would purposely choose one for an hour or longer. This allowed us to get to our new plane, eat, and get out jitters.
Use Your Phone
These days, our phones can do everything. I’ve been known to edit photos, write blog posts, and even do client work on my phone. It’s basically a portable computer, so use it to your advantage!
For example, when traveling to New Jersey, I read two ebooks that I had purchased to learn more about social media marketing. I also spent 30-minutes scheduling Instagram posts via Planoly. And, to round it all out, I wrote three blog posts for one client and worked on some course launching tasks for another. I did all of that through my phone, and I didn’t have to worry about getting Wi-Fi or constantly shifting around to use my laptop.
The only items you need to work on your phone are apps that allow you to do so. For me, those apps include Canva, Planoly, Google Docs, Quickbooks, and Gmail. If I absolutely have to use my computer, I will use my phone as my hotspot and get those tasks knocked out as quickly as possible.
It can be hard traveling while working on your business and raising kids. I understand that it’s not easy pulling away from them either. But, these tips and tricks made it easier for me, and I hope they make it easier for you to work on your business while traveling with kids too. We do the best that we can as moms and entrepreneurs. The least we can do is take some time off and enjoy ourselves!
How do you make it easier to work on your business while traveling with kids?