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Rules for the Road: 5 Tips from a Traveling Dad

As some of you know, I have a new son, who is now almost 9 weeks old. I travel quite a bit (average 10 days per month away from home) and in order to limit the amount of nights that I am on the road, I have started setting little rules for myself:

1. Try to be away no more than one night at a time and two tops.

2. If I have a speaking engagement or meeting after 1 p.m., I fly up that morning so that I avoid an extra overnight.

3. Skip the happy hour on the last day of an event and get home instead.

4. If a trip is within 4 hours of our home, try to bring the family along…and help to find activities for mom and baby so that they’re not stuck in a hotel room all day.

5. Call every night that I am away while my son is awake…using Skype, if possible.

What are your “rules for the road” as a traveling parent?

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Gary Berg-Cross

One of the things that is important with toddlers and older is being home for them by bed time. Skipping the happy hour may make this possible.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Thanks, Harlan. I actually have rules that I set up with my wife – which will be a subsequent post on “5 Tips from a Traveling Husband.” These rules were definitely informed by conversations with my wife!

…disagree on the presents one…got to do that every once in awhile! Keeps it fun…especially when I see something special that I know will be appreciated.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Gary – having a hard time with that one…tough to leave an event early enough to get a flight that puts me back here by 6/7p so that I can do bath and bedtime…but will keep trying!

Gary Berg-Cross

@Andrew Congrats on the new son. At 9 weeks you still have months to work on the home before th bath and bedtime goal. 🙂

Ed Albetski

I disagree about the presents. So what if they expect them? They don’t have to be expensive. I used to do a lot of trade shows and my kids loved the squishy balls, t-shirts, pens, and other stuff you accumulate at these things. One booth had Ken Norton Jr. when he was with the Dallas Cowboys (my son’s favorite team). He kindly signed a picture (with that company’s logo) personally made out to my son. My boys ended up with t-shirts from all over the country. If it doesn’t put you out of your way or make you late, I say, go for it. Shows you thinking of them.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Ed – I actually do that for my dad right now. If I happen to be in a cool place where I know he hasn’t been, I grab a cap for him. He loves it. In fact, the first cap he bought in years was just a couple weeks ago (with a gift card for Dick’s we gave him at Christmas!). I do the same with my wife to some degree…and hope to pull some sweet swag from events that my son will love as toys.

Christina Morrison

Being on travel as I type is making me a little home sick for my 2 boys (ages 3 and 1). So far, I have not had any tearful goodbye from anyone other than me. I guess it’s just the age of the boys. I friend of mine with older kids, does a count down til Mommy comes home calendar for her kids. Each day the kids rip off a number until the reach the goal of Mommy Comes Home. She says it helps them focus on the goal, and not the fact that she is missing.

I also try to make sure the little things are taken care of before I go away — go food shopping, do the laundry.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Christina – I like the whole calendar piece…I hope I’m not away that long though!

Good points, Harlan – time is the key…and the points above are geared toward minimizing time away and maximizing time at home…

Ed Albetski

@ Harlan – “Cat’s in the Cradle” was by the late great Harry Chapin, not the current Yusuf Islam. (grin). But boy, that song was poignant for me when I was on travel. I was sent to Dallas once on my wife’s birthday. Not a happy situation. Today though with camera phones and the Internet, it’s much easier to touch base with the family while you are away. The key is that they know you care.

Andrew Krzmarzick

Ed – Awesome stuff…I like #4 – my wife definitely sends photos of him, which I appreciate…and I try to reciprocate…self-pics in front of historic places and stuff like that. Thanks!