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Business Travel with Baby – Travels with my Aunt

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business-travel-with-babyPhroogal Blog recently wrote about tips for business travel with family members which reminded me of the time I did business travel with my baby.  Now this was over 20 years ago, and thought by some to be a risky and potentially career limiting move.  Let me explain.

I was a new Mom having given birth to my daughter a little over a year earlier and having become a second Mom to my three step kids one year before that.   I was asked to go on a one week business trip to meet to plan transition of work for a plant my company was closing in Florida.  Great stuff!  Who wouldn’t want to go to Florida for a week, right?  Um… that would be me.

The Need for Business Travel with Baby

I was still breastfeeding my daughter and to be gone for such a long time would have potentially ended that and or at a minimum been quite inconvenient and stressful.  Sure I could have pumped and dumped, but who’s to say she would have been still interested when I came home or that it would have been enough to keep my milk supply up?  Traveling alone on business can always have the potential of being kind of lonely, and suddenly being away from my family and especially my baby was not a prospect I was looking forward to.

As I prepared to tell my boss, that I would not be able to make the trip including the reasons why, my child care provider commiserated with me but then proposed an idea which was worth a try.  She asked if my aunt who was recently retired would be available to travel with me so that I could bring my daughter.  My aunt would babysit during the day while I worked.

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Naturally, I did not want to be out of pocket any costs for such an arrangement, so I proposed the idea to my boss, a single and childless woman, wondering what her reaction would be and could she possibly understand.  All I was looking for was the cost of the airfare for my aunt and some meals.  All other costs (car rental, accommodations) would be the same if I was traveling alone, and of course my baby was young enough to travel for free.  She took the proposal to her boss, also childless and I was thinking I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall listening to that conversation.

The answer came back from him “It’s such a bizarre request, it must be the right thing to do”.  Ha!   And it definitely was, the right thing to do.  I was so thankful and motivated because I didn’t have to choose between my career or my family.  I worked very hard not only on that trip but thereafter.  Okay, I’m always a hard worker, but what I mean is that little extra cost born by the company paid back so much ‘dividends’ to them because they had a satisfied and motivated employee who really did appreciate that both personal and company needs could be met.  I’ve always been a strong believer, after that experience, that sometimes you need to look at the situation and see how to assess ‘the rules’ and make them work.  The most important aspect of a good employer – employee relationship is loyalty.  When that can be retained through a win-win situation, the company usually ends up with the bigger win at the end of the day.

The hotel had a kitchenette and a pool, so they had all the makings of a grand time when I was at work.  I was so happy to see my little boo boo at the end of a busy day, and knowing she was being well cared for by my aunt.  I was really blessed to have her support, so I could relax about what they were doing and focus on the task at hand during the office hours.  We made the most of the situation and although I didn’t know it at the time, she ended up being my first and last baby.  She continued to nurse to beyond two years and consequently there were no regrets or laments from this Mama.

Have you ever gone on business travel with a family member?  What type of accommodations were made on behalf of your family?  Have you ever considered business travel with baby?

Part of Friday Jet Fuel #4

   

Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at debtdebs.com sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

66 thoughts on “Business Travel with Baby – Travels with my Aunt

  1. I have traveled with my husband on a couple of business trips and vice versa. No special accommodations other than some extra meals were provided at no charge. The cost of airfare was ours to bear. The hotel and transport were part of the trip itself so no extra being spent there. It’s wonderful that your employer helped out with the additional airfare and meals. I believe that many wouldn’t.
    Kassandra recently posted…What You Don’t Need To KnowMy Profile

    • That’s great, Kassandra, that the meals were paid for. When I have brought my husband along, we paid for meals and airfare and sometimes transportation to/from airport if we were taking a bus or train as opposed to a taxi. For that, I expect it to be funded by the employee. In the case of my daughter, it was more out of necessity that she came along (or I didn’t go on the trip) as opposed to combining business and pleasure like when my husband traveled with me.

  2. This is a great story Deb!! I never business traveled with my son, but I hated when I had to leave him when I was breast feeding. One time, I was going to a meeting with two other female co-workers and I actually pumped breastmilk in the backseat of the car while one of them was driving. The things we do as working moms that our kids will never appreciate! :-)
    Shannon @ Financially Blonde recently posted…Music Mondays – ForgivenessMy Profile

    • Oh what a great story! You rock as a Mom, Shannon! Thanks for sharing, I know Will knows you’re a great Mom and you can share that story with him when he is all growned up and his own baby! hee hee

  3. I went on a business trip with my husband when I was six months pregnant, so I guess my son was with me too! Other than that, I could not imagine traveling for business with a baby. It was difficult enough for me to travel with a baby for pleasure! Thanks for sharing your story!

    • ha ha… Where there’s a will, there’s a way, Kay! That’s awesome you got to go with him on business though. My daughter and SIL will be taking my grandson on his first plane trip in October. They opted for a different airline than the one they usually take so that they would have no stopovers. Hope baby will be okay, thought I think my daughter is getting better at BF in public. :-)

  4. Great story. I try to travel with the family when I can. One trip, I was able to book our stay at a hotel with a water park so they spent the day in the pool and I joined them after work. It can cut down on the cost of travel, Makes for long days though but worth it. Also because I travel so much for work – I collect hotel and travel loyalty points where I can to save up for a family trip.
    May recently posted…Messy LeftoversMy Profile

    • Thanks, May! Good to see you! I used to travel a lot as well and saved some points so was able to get hubby to come on a few trips with me which was great. I don’t travel much anymore since I changed jobs last Oct. Glad that you are able to take the family with you on occasion. It definitely makes business travel more palatable. Although when I traveled, I was so darn busy the time usually went pretty fast.

  5. Nice! I love that you just approached your employer and had no compunction with asking for what you needed–awesome! Mr. Frugalwoods and I have traveled on one another’s business trips before, but, not our favorite thing since you can’t choose the destination and one person is stuck, well, working during the day :)
    Mrs. Frugalwoods recently posted…Travel Cheap By Being A Thanksgiving WeirdoMy Profile

    • When my husband came with me to China, he just went about sight-seeing during the day. Same thing when we were in Wales, San Francisco, Paris. It’s not ideal but at least a way to make the most of it. I enjoyed his company in the evenings and we made the most of the weekends too!

  6. That’s awesome that you were able to do that! My wife and I both have always thought it would be fun to travel with each other on some business trips, but neither of us travel for work so we don’t haha. But if I went to FinCon she said she’d love to go with and just hang out at the hotel and whatnot.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…You Won’t Believe What Started as a Side HustleMy Profile

    • My husband didn’t travel with me on every trip, because I started traveling a lot, but we tried to have him come to some of the countries I visited more than once (China, France). I think it would be great if your wife can plan a few days off to go with you to Fin Con. I would bring my husband if I was going, for sure.

  7. My mom and dad ran a business when we were growing up but it required them to travel quite often, so we had a similar arrangement like you had with your aunt but my grandmother came along and took care of us. She loved to go on vacation (often the trips were to places like Florida or Hawaii or San Francisco) and loved us to pieces so it worked out really well!
    Daisy @ Prairie Eco Thrifter recently posted…Why Cheaper Isn’t Always BetterMy Profile

    • Awww, how wonderful! So great that she enjoyed it too, so the whole family could be together. Thanks, for sharing, Daisy.

  8. That’s awesome that your employer was willing to work with you. I read Ask A Manager (great blog if you don’t read it) and things are always so absurd that I forget there are nice, accommodating bosses out there!

    When I was little we (me, my mom and brother) would tag along with my Dad then he went to conferences. We got a few trips to Florida out of it by using airmiles and then all being in the hotel room already paid for. Since I don’t have children, I haven’t had to do any sort of travel with them :)
    Alicia recently posted…Tackling Another Closet Purge.My Profile

    • That’s great you guys got to go with your Dad and you have good memories about this. The only other time I was able to take my kids (I have four) was when I took my oldest daughter when she was a teenager on March break to a place within driving distance.

  9. Nice job by your boss! I have never travel with my family during business. My wife has met me in the location after my assignment was over to take advantage of the company paid travel for me.
    Brian @ Debt Discipline recently posted…Credit CardsMy Profile

    • Well that turned out well for you guys then! Nice to capitalize on these things when possible. ;-)

  10. Good for you!!! That was a gutsy thing to ask!

    I’ve just done a little business travel with family. It was hard because they were all on vacation while I had to make an important presentation.
    Will recently posted…Hate DIY but Love Saving Money? Here’s Your SolutionMy Profile

    • Oh… that’s tough… everyone wants to partay… and you have to work and be good! eek!

  11. No I can honestly say that I’ve never done anything quite like that. We’ve turned a few conference/business trips into vacations by staying over a couple extra days. As for accommodations in our careers…….. well right now we’ve scaled back substantially, so that my wife can stay home with our little man. Our plan is that in 5 or 6 years she’ll go back to her job and I can scale back my hours and focus more on writing and investing. Seems a healthy tradeoff to let her live out her dream. Besides, the Little Man is flourishing with some much mommy time
    -Bryan
    Income Surfer recently posted…My Confession and Thoughts on the US Stock MarketMy Profile

    • That’s wonderful that you guys are able to do this, Bryan. You can’t get that time back so I’m sure you will have no regrets. :-D

  12. That’s incredibly impressive that your bosses were so supportive. I have traveled while breastfeeding before, which isn’t easy as you know. :) My husband and I have each tagged along on reward trips but on general business trips we typically don’t join each other. Partly because those trips are so heavily scheduled we wouldn’t have much time for ourselves anyway and someone needs to stay home with the girls.
    Shannon @ The Heavy Purse recently posted…How to Start the Money Conversation with Your KidsMy Profile

    • I understand, Shannon, sometimes it’s difficult unless you have family who can stay with your girls. Only since our kids got older has he been able to travel with me. Once when they were younger, my in-laws came to stay and he came to Wales with me and we managed to fit a trip to Ireland in afterwards to visit my family. So it was nice to be able to capitalize on that opportunity then. I also went to Sweden and Hong Kong but he could not join me those times. I understand about being super busy though. That’s always the case with me in my job!

  13. How awesome that you were able to do that! I don’t have any children yet but if there were a way for me to travel with my child and still have them cared for by someone I trust while I am working I would do it for sure.
    Downstairs and in Debt recently posted…Hockey Season 2014-2015My Profile

  14. Yep, good post over at the Phroogal Blog. I read it myself.

    During a three year stretch I was traveling quite a bit to Hawaii on business. On multiple occasions I was able to use airline miles to fly family members over and hotel points for lodging. On the last trip, I flew my wife and brother over during their birthdays which are within a day of each other. The only thing they really needed was spending money. On my most recent business trip, to the Central Coast of California, my wife took a few days off work and joined me.

    When able, definitely take advantage of the opportunity to travel with family.
    SavvyJames recently posted…Establish and Manage Your BudgetMy Profile

    • I’m sure they loved the chance to go to Hawaii! Nice place to go on business too. Was it the Maui or the big island? We went to Kauai a few years ago for a family wedding. My first time.

  15. Thats an interesting situation. Good thing the boss was so flexible and it worked out well for everyone. I do travel occasionally for business but most of the places I go to are in smaller, northern communities so no one would want to come with me anyways!
    Dan @ Our Big Fat Wallet recently posted…Financial Goals for the Rest of 2014My Profile

    • You may be right about that, Dan! I can’t even get my husband to go on an Alaskan cruise, he hates the cold so much! heee

  16. I went back to work when my son was 3 months old, and my husband became a Stay At Home Dad (SAHD). I had to travel for work quite regularly and my bosses were fantastic about accommodating my husband and baby travelling with me. If my family could not have come, I would have said no to travelling. It worked out very well for us.
    MsRichLife recently posted…40My Profile

    • Oh, that’s fantastic! I’m so glad that you were able to do that. With mat leaves so short in the US, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be going back to work with a young baby. As it was, at the time I had my daughter, the leave we had in Canada was 4 months and I took an additional 1.5 months and went back when she was almost 6 months old. Nowadays, the mat leave is one year. :-D Did your company pay for your husband’s airfare? Thanks for visiting and commenting!

  17. I was the boss, so I always took Jim with me to conferences when he was able to go and still bring my daughter to work if we don’t have another option, even though I am not the owner anymore. I also let employees take spouses on trips and even have let new Moms keep babies at work until they start moving around too much and getting into stuff. New Moms have such a rough time with Mommy guilt that having the kiddo there seemed to make the best of everything all the way around. Of course we live in a small town where you can get away with that sort of thing. Probably would not work as well if we were in a corporate office in the middle of Manhattan.
    Kim recently posted…Pros and Cons About Booking a Vacation With PointsMy Profile

    • Oh wow! So great, Kim! You must have been a great boss to work for having such a family friendly practice like that. I’m sure the staff really appreciated it.

  18. Wow – things I’ve never thought about haha. I have never traveled with a family member. I think I could in the future, but being single without kids, there’s been no need. I will say that I can imagine the struggles with a small baby!! Nice job :)
    Natalie @ Financegirl recently posted…7 Financial Discussions To Have With Your Better HalfMy Profile

    • Not sure if you plan to have kids in the future or not, Natalie, but these are all things that may cross your path some day! ;-)

  19. That’s really awesome that your bosses decided to cover it. I can’t imagine how difficult it is to travel when you have a newborn at home. My cousins actually went through this a few times already, as the mom is the one who has to travel. One time, she was actually visiting locally, so my aunt and grandma babysat for her during the day. Another time she was in the city, so my uncle stayed at the hotel and watched the baby. It really helps to have (retired) family around!
    E.M. recently posted…My Affordable Dream WeddingMy Profile

    • Your cousin is really lucky to have that support for when she travels. Thankfully I did not travel a lot when my baby was small. It’s funny how having a grand child now makes me remember so many things about being a new mother. But then there are some things that my husband and I look at each other and shake our head because we cannot remember at all how or when some things happened. It’s like erased from our memories probably due to sleep deprivation. LOL

  20. I thought the idea of bringing a baby along on a business trip was really cool, so I tried it myself when my son was about six months old. The trip was really fun and actually productive!
    Alicia @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Is there such a thing as a cheap pet?My Profile

    • Alicia – that’s fantastic that you were able to do that and make the most of it. There are some aspects that can be a bit stressful, but given the alternative I would rather have my baby with me.

  21. I’ve never been on a trip with someone that younger than me. I have always wanted to take someone to Disneyland or Disneyworld but still don’t have any nephews or nieces. =(

  22. That was one heck of a sales job! I doubt any company would do it today. They would not even send you to FL, they would do everything over the phone and conference calls.
    No Nonsense Landlord recently posted…Multifamily Landlords Are Better Than Single Family LandlordsMy Profile

    • Hi Eric
      I was able to unspam you earlier from my tablet but was too busy with work today to reply to comments.

      LOL, you are completely right about the conference calls, today! ;-)

  23. Wow, that is such an awesome story! It’s so creative, and it’s amazing what can happen when you ask. I went on a few trips with my Dad when I was a kid, but mostly I was 12+ when I went, so I could tag along and read or be left to my own devices.
    Anne @ Money Propeller recently posted…New Graduate Office Wardrobe Staples (Men)My Profile

  24. That’s so nice and accomodating of your boss! My husband is in travelling right now for two consecutive weeks around a long weekend and he asked if they could fly me over, but they said two weeks wasn’t long enough to merit that cost :(

    Good for you for travelling with an infant! And for nursing for so long! I stopped at 14 months; it was a sad time for me!
    Emily @ Urban Departures recently posted…Goals, RevisitedMy Profile

    • Oh that’s too bad you couldn’t join him. My company would not pay for that either. Whenever my husband traveled with me it was on our own dime.

      Yes, I have no regrets about our nursing relationship. We always planned on having two kids together but then things changed. I didn’t know at the time that she was going to be my first and only baby.

      Thanks for commenting, Emily

  25. A Ipad mini loaded with movies and games is THE way to travel with a toddler! Has saved me on a few occasions!
    Asset-Grinder recently posted…July 2014 Dividend and Monthly Report UpdateMy Profile

    • Imagine, I did it without all those gadgets! I used to like to watch Supernanny and I said to my kids, who were young adults at the time, “How come they didn’t have SUPERNANNY when you guys were growing up? I coulda used that!” My son said, “Mom, you did it without Supernanny! Be proud!” ;-)

  26. Wow, that was pretty cool of your boss/company to do that!! I don’t really travel for my job, but if I did I would hope they would be as understanding about the accommodation of an extra hand for child care as your company did. I know now for conferences there are child care accommodations on site, which I think is a great step in the right direction.
    anna recently posted…Pregnancy Notes: The Good, The Bad, and The FunnyMy Profile

    • Yes, and today I heard on the radio about how they were trying to support more mothers breastfeeding in public so that mothers are not so uncomfortable, which is a good thing. BTW, my daughter bought something called a “Booby Trapper” which is like a little tent thingy with a wire hoop at the top so you can easily see your baby when you are trying to get them to latch on when nursing in public, but no one can see you exposing your breasts in trying to do so. It’s lightweight and packs in the diaper bag easily. Really helped her when out in public or visiting friends or even when family was over visiting. Thought you might like to know about this, Anna! ;-)

  27. When I was working 4 years ago, I haven’t tried to travel, but we had a 3 day summer outing/ team building and it was required for our job. One of my company rules, it’s exclusive to the employees only, you can’t bring your friend or relatives. But I asked the management that I need to bring my hubs and daughter with me because just like you, I am breastfeeding her during that time.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted…Side Hustles As An Overall Life SchemeMy Profile

    • Oh so happy to hear that they were accommodating for this as well, Clarisse. That’s an awesome story! Thanks for sharing. :-D

  28. That sounds like an awesome boss! I’ve actually never gone on business travel with a family member, but the company I’m at has a big culture of promoting appropriate work/life balance. Plus, it just seems like smart business and a good way to motivate an employee.
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…how you should think about stock market dropsMy Profile

  29. I’ve tried to travel for work while breastfeeding my under daughter who was under 1 year old. They weren’t willing to give, and insisted upon extra costs (ie They would no longer pay my transportation costs, or subsidize my hotel room) so I decided to stay home and not go.

    It’s awesome that somewhere some work places are very accommodating of families.

    • Oh, that’s too bad and really sad that for the sake of chasing small dollars companies make bad decisions that way! Imagine if they had let you go and how pumped you would have been to be able to meet your professional goals while not sacrificing family needs? I think sometimes companies think that if they bend the rules for one, then everyone wants a piece of the pie, but in my experience there are ways around this for high performing employees. I don’t blame you for staying home and not going. I would have done the same as I know I was going to refuse to travel in this case. It just wasn’t worth it and I know I would have had tons of regrets if I let my professional goals blind my personal ones. Thanks for weighing in, Leigh!

  30. The closest I came to family on a business trip was when my job sent me to a 3-week training. It was only 6 hrs away so I opted to drive and get the per diem reimbursement rate. On the weekends, hubby and son came to visit me.
    MomCents recently posted…Articles that Make “Cents” – Roundup #4My Profile

  31. I was supposed to go to Russia about the time my daughter turned one. I was so glad I didn’t have a passport and couldn’t get one in time for the meeting! Someone else went in my place and I happily continued pumping (first daughter wasn’t allowed to nurse for a medical condition) and snuggled close to her each night!

    Love that your employer – 20 yrs ago!! – did this. I’m with you – if an employer helps you with work-life balance, they have definitely created a motivated, dedicated employee.

    • Sometimes business travel can be fun and exciting, most of the time it’s a chore and sometimes it just ain’t worth it at all! Glad it worked out as you wanted. That’s exactly my point, sometimes going a bit around the rules creates a “motivated, dedicated employee” that pays back to the company tenfold.

  32. I really appreciate an employer who doesn’t force an employee to decide between work and family. My wife is in a situation now where her boss is very family friendly, even during the busy tax season. She can take off for kid games and family events as long as her work gets done. Very flexible situation which is nice to have.
    Brian @ Luke1428 recently posted…Celebrating a Milestone With My Top 10 Favorite Proverbs About MoneyMy Profile

    • Yes, and it’s the wise employers that realize this only works in their favour! Thanks for sharing, Brian!

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