Most fundraisers have to travel for at least some portion of their time. My daughter (now 7) was very spirited and attached to me. So, I didn't travel without her until she was 3 and a half. We are are very lucky because my husband is a stay-at-home dad and he was happy to travel with me to conferences a few times a year. Since we homeschool, they still travel with me quite a bit
Luckily, my son (almost 2) is a bit more independent and doesn't mind short-term separations. This means that I travel without my kids more and more these days. And it's important to me to keep connected to my kids when I'm on the road. Some days it's really tough because my schedule is packed, morning to night. Other times, I'm just exhausted from time changes and travel delays.
Here are some quick ideas that have worked for me to stay connected with my kids when I'm on the road.
1) Facetime and Skype
This one is obvious but it wasn't that long ago that these tools weren't widely available. Now, they are available to use almost anytime and anywhere on your phone. I can call from the airport, hotel or even when I'm out and about. These tools are especially important for my son who is too small to talk on the phone or understand when I send messages in any other format. With my daughter, I get updates on what she did for school work and her current projects and with my son I mostly sing songs that we sing at home, etc.
2) Flower power
My daughter and I have a thing that whenever she's not with me, I take pictures of beautiful flowers and send them to her dad (or sometimes grandmother) so she can see the flowers. But, really it is just a confirmation that she's continually on my mind and she gets to be a part of the trip. Beyond flowers, I also take pictures of anything that I think she would love to see or would find interesting. (Photo above was one of the pictures that I took and sent to my daughter while I was in Boston today.) I took a trip this week and she got 5-6 flower pictures, a picture of a replica ship from the Boston Tea Party, and a picture of the pastry cases in a fabulous cannoli shop.
If your kids are like mine, they have ENOUGH knickknacks. Our fridge isn't magnetic and I can't abide the idea of trying to keep a snowglobe from breaking in my luggage. So, we have a few preferred types of souvenirs: pencils (that she can use for her schoolwork and be reminded of our travels), patches (which we sew on her travel backpack), and educational books or coloring books.
Do you have travel rituals that keep you connected with your kids when you are doing work travel? Any additional good ideas for the little kids?
Jessica Cloud, CFRE
I've been called the Tasmanian Devil of fundraising and I'm here to talk shop with you.