K child reading hotel bedTempted to mix business travel with family vacation? It can be done – with some advanced planning and open communication with not only other family members, but the boss as well. Business travel sometimes means traveling to exotic locations like Spain or Italy, or decidedly less magical places like the state capitol. Either way, the trip can be not only important to your career, but a learning experience for the kids; here’s how to combine a business trip with family travel.

Make Sure it’s Appropriate to Travel with the Family
Unless your company encourages families to travel along on business trips, it’s important to first make sure it’s OK to bring them along. Determine the length of the trip and when and where you will be able to interact with your family – will the trip include ample amounts of down time, in which you can be with family, or does it require you to be on the go from sunup until late in the day? If you won’t have much free time, you may want to consider adding a few days before or after the trip to block off separate family time, and then traveling separately for the business part of the trip.

Set Expectations with Family Members
Hold a family meeting and talk to everyone about their expectations for the trip to ensure that no one is disappointed or confused. Talk about when and where you will go and how much time will be spent together, as well as the time that you will be unavailable.

Stick to the Plan when Traveling for Business
Talk to family members each morning to plan everyone’s day and let them know your schedule. Explain to the family when you will be in meetings or conferences and thus unavailable, and when you will be available, such as for dinner in the evening.

With some advanced planning and flexibility, a business trip can be successfully combined with a family trip. Keep the lines of communication open so that everyone’s expectations are heard and no one is left surprised.

Have you combined business travel with a family trip? Leave a comment below to tell us about it!

Teresa J. Shaw is editor of the Free in 50 States section and writes about traveling as a working mom for Traveling Mom. Follow her on Twitter at @TeresaShaw