While travelling can prove beneficial for your personal and professional growth, it can stress your personal relationships. Friends, family or spouse- we make connections and build relations based on communication and our interactions- sometimes remotely, but mostly in person.
Sometimes travel is inevitable, especially when it is for work. Consequently, it can strain relationships; but you can make it all go much more smoothly with some effort.
We talked to those more experienced in this area, and have brought you some of the best ways to handle your social life alongside travel.
- Compromise on Both Side
“If you want to preserve your relationship while traveling for work, it is key that both parties in the relationship are willing to compromise. All too often, one person will sacrifice themselves (usually the woman) and take up all the responsibility for maintaining a connection with a partner or family while the partner is traveling.” (Rokas Mickevicius)
- Commit a Fixed Time Each Day For Communication
“The best tip from me would be to commit to a certain amount of time each day where you put your relationship first without interruption from work or distractions. It eases the pain knowing that when you go away, there will be a scheduled time for the call. Also, constant messaging or sending funny photos and messages work too.”
Rokas Mickevicius, The Founder of Gifting Deer
- Know Important, Non-negotiable Dates
“Your wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. – know the dates dedicated to your loved ones and declare them at the start of any working engagement. Keep flights, emails and meetings off of these dates, and your family and friends will surely appreciate it.”
Rowena Murakami, Co-Founder of Tiny Kitchen Divas Blog
- Keep Your Loved Ones in The Loop
“Keep your significant other, friends, or family in the loop while you’re traveling for work. Connect with them through apps. Let them know where you are staying, what your schedule is like, and tell stories about your day. In return, listen to their stories about their day, too. If you know you’re going to be busy, schedule a time when you can call them. Taking the initiative to remain active in your friend, significant other, or family’s life is the key to maintaining healthy relationships even if you’re on the other side of the globe.”
Lauri Kinkar. CEO at Messente
- Use Technology to Connect
“I just recently had this conversation with a friend and as an executive who is on the road often, I have found technology to be a great helper in maintaining a social life. Social media and platforms such as Skype and Zoom often get a bad rap when we talk about connections and friendships but the truth is if you are traveling a lot it is not always possible to meet your friends in person all the time and this is where technology comes in. Regular group Zoom calls with friends have been a boon in helping me maintain a lively social life despite my busy schedule.”
Paul French, Managing Director Intrinsic Search
- Take Time Off Before and After Travel
“One of the best ways to maintain healthy relationships when work travel is a common occurrence is to try taking extra time off before or after your work trips. This can often be a great way to destress and also gives you the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with your loved ones before you head off or after you come back from a work trip.
“Moreover, it gives you the opportunity to spend time with everyone, be it your friends or family, whenever you are around, making it an ideal strategy to maintain some form of a good work-life balance.”
Eden Cheng Co-Founder PeopleFinderFree
- Keep Your Companion in the Bend
“You might be in a distinct time zone, that’s no excuse to fall off your significant other’s framework. Notify him/her of where you’ll be living, what your schedule will involve, and which partners you’re traveling with. These details bring a sense of relief, realizing you both are remaining engaged in one another’s lives. Tell your companion about the sights you experienced or the characters you met, then tune in attentively as he/she narrates what happened.”
Shiv Gupta, Marketing Directors of Incrementors Web Solutions
- Host Gatherings
“If you think your constant travelling is keeping you from maintaining your friendships, don’t worry your friends are probably as busy with their work as you are. The best way to keep up with them is to host a gathering when you’re back in your hometown. They’re probably reluctant to host since they’re always busy too. But you might be free when you’re not travelling. So take the first step and invite everyone over for a BBQ or a taco night. Trust me, they’ll thank you later.”
Elizabeth Hicks, Co-Founder of Parenting Nerd
- Small Gestures Matter
“Relationships are all about showing up, and that could mean anything from checking in on your loved ones every week or sending them a token of appreciation regardless of the distance.
While you may not always be face to face, you can still count on small acts of appreciation like sending a heartfelt message, maintaining calendar updates for all important occasions, and most importantly, making quality time to communicate when you finally get some time off.”
Philipp Zeiske, CEO Zeitholz
“Being honest, communicative, and setting clear expectations is obviously a must for someone who travels for work frequently. This is applicable to significant others, friends, and family. And while it may seem trivial, keep that commitment of calling or FaceTiming them when you have both decided. You can still participate in date nights, gaming, and family events, even if through a screen. If possible, plan your travel in a way that you don’t miss the important milestones and events: birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings.”
- Follow Boundaries
“It is also very important to set boundaries and follow them. Remember, to account for the time spent during the journey as well and ensure that there is time left at the end of the day to unwind and catch up with your folks and friends. It is incredibly hard to maintain a healthy work-life balance even when people work in the same city, so for someone who travels frequently, they will have to implement a strict system of switching off from work every day. If the duration of the trip is long, set up a list of close friends and family that you must keep in touch with.”
“Finally, it is critical to keep talking to your partner and ensure that you both understand each other. They are most likely to be impacted the most due to your absence, so staying on the same page, vocalizing your thoughts and concerns, and just communicating regularly and honestly is essential. The bottom line is to make the extra effort to actually express yourself, listen to your family and friends, respond to people, and create boundaries between your personal and professional lives.”
Joe Flanagan, Senior Employment Advisor at VelvetJobs