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Traveling on Holidays: Tips for the Business Traveler
With Easter fast approaching, some business travelers are moaning that they have to be on the go for this traditional holiday. However, most business travelers inevitably are asked to travel during holidays for one reason or another. It could be that meetings fall directly after a holiday, requiring business professionals to fly on the busier travel days of the year, or perhaps there needs to be business done on the holiday itself for one reason or another.
International travelers will find this to be even more common since many American holidays are not recognized all over the world, and even regional travelers encounter this when people from other nations are coming to meet them locally. If you are asked to do so, try to take it in stride and realize that you can still celebrate the holiday. You simply may be celebrating early or late.
If it falls on a holiday that is not significant to you, it’s best to just go with the flow. When you are asked to travel on a holiday that’s important to your family, however, consider the relationship you have with your boss and your position at the company. If you are not in fierce competition within your department, you may want to ask your boss if you can ask to see if someone else in the company who does not share the same family responsibilities would be willing to fill your place for the one trip.
If you are the only one that can do the traveling for the job that needs to be done, you may want to discuss an increase in compensation; many companies automatically pay overtime or a bonus for salaried employees when requiring work on holidays. While sometimes your boss may mention a bonus up front, you should otherwise bring up the topic of compensation as gently and diplomatically as possible in the initial discussions of the trip. You are not likely to get what you don’t ask for, but, if your boss knows what you want, you two can work together to get it.
One perk of working on a holiday is also free, seasonal food. Of course, business travelers often already enjoy indulging in reimbursed business lunches. Yet, on a holiday, you are often given extra culinary perks such as permission to eat at higher-end restaurants. Many companies also send gift baskets with all sorts of holiday food treats.
Don’t wait for the company to lift your spirits, though. Plan for potential holiday blues that can occur when you’re essentially alone in a hotel room. Make you schedule some “me” time in the hustle and bustle of the meetings and business obligations. Because working on a holiday can be a major inconvenience, balance it out with giving in to treating yourself to an extravagance. Do what it is that would most cheer you up, whether it’s a nice meal or a spa afternoon or a golf game.
Also, if you have children, discuss this situation with them in advance. You don’t want them to be shocked on the holiday to not get to spend it with you, and you want them to understand that you can still celebrate together as a family even though distance separates you. For example, you could bring along some of the treats they’ll be eating that day, then you could all plan to eat them at the same time or perhaps while speaking on the phone. Connect via Skype if possible, and you may be able to watch them open presents from you and say thanks to your face even though you are are not physically in the room.