I don’t know if I’m in a “modern” family, but when my job requires that I travel out of state for business, it isn’t a given that baby will stay home with my husband. The option of bringing baby - now a toddler - on business trips with me seems daunting, but in this day and age, why can’t it be possible?
Well, I’m about to find out the realities of bringing baby on a business trip. I’ll be speaking on the East Coast - at least 16+ hours of travel to get there from the Far North - and I’m bringing baby along. How will I manage this? I must admit that part of making it work will be based on a wish and a prayer. But the rest is on careful planning….
1. The flight
I haven’t yet mastered the art of flying with a toddler. Although buying an extra seat for her would have been ideal, it just wasn’t in the budget. So she’ll be a lap baby. This is the wish and prayer part - I am praying she’ll decide not to be a wiggly, squiggly, gotta-move-around toddler - just for the flights. (Dream on!)
2. The conference
There are several ways I could have arranged attending a conference with baby in tow. Bringing her along, of course, would not be an option at this age. But here were some reasonable options:
a. Ask the conference to provide childcare. This is no longer a far-fetched concept. I spoke last year at BlogHer in Chicago and they actually provided childcare for their attendees, free to speakers. Most conference planners have good connections where they’re holding the conference and could potentially look into an option for you. As an attendee, you have less “pull,” however, if more and more attendees request childcare at conferences, this service could become the norm instead of the exception.
b. Ask the hotel if they provide childcare. I never thought about the fact that many upscale hotels offer childcare as a service until I had a baby. Now the first thing I ask when I travel with baby is “do you have cribs” and the second is “do you offer or can you arrange childcare?” I am always pleased to hear yes to both questions more often than not. Sometimes, the babysitter is an employee who is looking to make extra cash on the side. Other times, they hotel partners with a local nanny service or babysitters in the area.
c. Locate a local reputable nanny service. I’ve used the Internet and asked hotels to find nanny services locally and arranged babysitters before that way. A professional nanny service may cost a little more, however, you have the added comfort of certifications, background checks, etc.
d. Fly up the Grandma. This is my tactic for next month. My mother is flying up and staying at our hotel to take care of baby while I’m at the conference. She gets granddaughter time, and I get peace of mind knowing family is on hand.
No matter how you slice it, traveling with baby on business is going to be a challenge, however, setting up the right resources in advance can make all the difference in the world.