Travel and family go hand in hand when the destination is Disney, the beach, or camping in the great national parks. But the equation changes in a hurry when dad hits the road four days a week, flies to Vegas for conferences, or has to stay overnight somewhere when he’d rather be home. Hotels, airport lounges, conference hospitality rooms, long business dinners — the list goes on and it can make life difficult to say the least.
I asked several guys I know how this plays out when they’re on the road. The following comments come from real conversations with a pharmaceutical rep, a corporate executive, an airline pilot, and a soldier.
“Everyone seems to want to drink too much,” Dave said. “A lot of the conversations are, well, unsavory. Too many of the guys are interested in ‘hooking up’, and nobody seems to want to behave badly alone.”
“I went back to my room to call my wife and got accused of ‘not being a team player,’” Chris said.
“Loneliness is my downfall,” Frank added. “I hang around the lounge for company and sometimes I get sucked in. Or I go back to my room and stare at a television fully stocked with readily available porn.”What we need is some usable strategy we can put in place when we’re traveling.
“What we need is some usable strategy we can put in place when we’re traveling,” Scott suggested. “Kind of like a handy guide for family guys who want to keep their grounding.”
Or to put it another way, “Avoiding Temptation: Business Travel Tips for the Family Man.” (For a “real-life” reminder, watch the movie, The Song, with your wife.)
1. Establish a check in protocol:
Have an agreement with your wife to text each another every 90 minutes during the evening. Have items on the “conversation checklist” that include sharing the details of the evening: the menu, who was there, who you talked to, where the conversation went, and how she would have enjoyed (or not) the evening.
2. Talk to your children every day — morning and evening:
Having conversations with your kids keep things in perspective. Skype or FaceTime is even better. Share photos of your children with others; everyone likes to talk about their family.
3. Utilize your family for a reason:
We have all told our kids they can use our names to get out of situations by saying, “Dad would kill me,” or “Mom says 100% no.” Well, we can do the same thing by saying, “How would I explain this to my kids?” or “I have an appointment to talk with my children in 15 minutes.” or “My wife and I are committed to a fitness routine; it’s time for my evening walk.”
4. Use accountability friendships as a defensive weapon [Tweet This]:
Add the phone numbers of guys you can talk with (and trust) to your Favorites. Examples: Stephen calls Alan when he’s tempted to do something unsavory; knowing Alan will ask him about it is a deterrent. Or Mike texts, “Help!” to his friend, Sam. When Sam calls back, Mike answers and removes himself from the situation.
5. Pack a survival kit:
A family photo (to place on the nightstand), a book you and your wife are reading, and a movie you enjoy watching with your family. Any things that will help you avoid temptation. For more suggestions: Ask your wife.
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your wife and tell her how much you miss her.