I'm finally at a company that will pay for professional conferences! I'm trying to decide between a few this year and the biggest question is logistics.
Has anyone ever taken their family with them? Good idea, bad idea?
Did they join you before/after the conference or travel out with you?
I have a 3yo and 1yo and can't get past the fact we could have a really great vacation partially subsidized Am I crazy?
honeydew / 7303 posts
I had a work conference at Disneyworld a few years ago. My husband and 2.5 year old daughter went with and it was amazing! We all flew down together, i conferenced during the day and had time with them in the evening for two nights and then we stayed an extra week!
I have a conference in Hawaii coming up and just dh is coming this time. He’s coming two days after me and we’re staying an extra week.
pear / 1881 posts
I'm following this to see responses.
My husband just found out he will have a conference in Seattle in July. I think that we are going to make a trip out of it and bring our 1 year old and 6 year old. The conference itself will be 4 days, so we will have 3 full days to explore.
We had no plans for a trip this year, but figured why the heck not?! His airfare would be covered, along with his meals, the hotel and a few other things for half the trip. We also have points that we can use to buy our flights and only need a rental car for the portion of the trip where he isn't at a conference. It should be a fairly inexpensive trip.
Where are your options to go?
hostess / wonderful persimmon / 25556 posts
@codeitall: I travel a lot for work. We have yet to take our LO on a work trip. It would be a LOT of work on my DH when I'm working....and my trips are usually chock full so I don't have a lot of time to play.
wonderful kiwi / 23653 posts
LO1 and I tagged along to a conference at an ocean front hotel in 2016; she was a few months shy of 2 and I was in my 3rd trimester (it was a 2 hr drive). It was amazing!
persimmon / 1111 posts
I have brought my family along and have gone with DH. The hard part is you have to be in employee mode--so while your kids are doing a fun outing, you will be in a session. If you leave immediately after your session, you will miss out on networking opportunities (which may be frowned upon). The way we normally do things is that I take an early morning flight and do registration, networking, and sessions. DH flies out with kids and meets me at the hotel.i then do 2 half days where we hang out until lunch, I go to work from 1-8 (networking receptions). It's great, but it's not a vacation.
pomelo / 5554 posts
Before we had kids, my husband joined me in Chigago for a few days when I was there for work. It worked out well because I was there for a few events so I had a lot of free time, and one of the events was a cocktail party so I was able to bring him.
eggplant / 11714 posts
Yes! I have done it. I work in education so typically there aren't conferences in other places, but I got on a book awards committee, and was able to donate $20k of books from that to our school system, so in return they funded the mandatory attendance at the conferences.
My conference schedule was really light--I presented or moderated at 1 session a day, plus had to take a shift helping at the booth during an author signing. But for a 3 day conference, I had about 4 hours a day of work plus maybe an hour of Prep time (tweaking introduction speech, etc).
The first conference was when my oldest was 14 months and was in New Orleans--my husband and would take her out and about in the morning, then we'd have the afternoon and evenings together. Lots of fun. We also did Boston and Philadelphia.
For New Orleans, he bought his own flight of course. For the other two, we drove.
watermelon / 14467 posts
We did it last year in Chattanooga for my husband's conference. He did his conference stuff in the morning/afternoon and I took the girls on long walks along the Riverwalk, we had breakfast together every day, and in the evenings we did dinner and an activity together. One night, we went to the Children's Museum, another night we went to a different part of town and did some sightseeing. It was a lot of fun for us and and it helped that we were staying downtown. Plus, we aren't able to do vacations right now because of double daycare payments, so it was nice to tag along on his trip. I'm doing it this year for another of his conferences and we are leaving the girls with their grandparents.
grapefruit / 4464 posts
It typically wouldn't work for my husband to tag along due to his limited leave schedule, but I have to go to a conference in a couple of months, am bringing the baby, and bought my mom a ticket with miles. She is SO excited and I'm glad not to have to worry about stashing enough milk for a week. If it works well I will do it again in the future...
nectarine / 2046 posts
Growing up, my mom went to a conference in cape cod every summer and the whole family always went. My sister and I would spend the day with my dad at the beach or checking out the town and we would meet for lunch and dinner and then spend the evening together. They always extended the trip a few days and those memories are some of my most cherished. I have to go to conferences yearly now as well and plan on bringing the family along!
eggplant / 11824 posts
We have built small trips around both my work conferences and my husband's. The structure and how much family time you'll have will really depend on what the conference expectations are. In both our cases, the spouse is basically a solo parent the entire time because there are always dinners and evening events that are not family-friendly (or open to family members). That said, it's still been fun. I just hang out with LO all day and we do different things and explore. Often we get room service to the hotel room because by then I need a little break lol
My work had a conference at Disney World a couple years ago and LO and DH came after it ended, so we just extended the time I was there. My company paid for my flight (no additional charge to me to stay a few extra days), and I could use the conference room rate for hotel for the additional days, which saved us a TON of money.
But, like I said. For both of us, it isn't like a little bit conference and then lots of free family time each day. It's like solo parent all day and most every evening. But you get to explore a new place, subsidized somewhat.
persimmon / 1101 posts
It seems that I am in the minority but I would definitely not bring my family. When I go to conferences, I spend a lot of time networking and would not want to miss any available opportunities to connect with new people. I usually present and wouldn't want to lose focus on that aspect either.
But honestly, I mostly wouldn't bring my family because yay for quiet hotel rooms, my choice of tv, and eating whatever I want without having to share.
cantaloupe / 6171 posts
I’ve done it before but honestly, it’s really hard. I feel extremely torn between going to sessions, networking, etc and getting away for family time. For my next conferen, I’m going alone so I can stay in work mode and not feel guilty about it
blogger / pomegranate / 3044 posts
@babypugs: lol I am 100% with you. Conferences are for networking and some peaceful sleep!
I've never tagged along with DH and haven't brought anyone along with me. I often go with coworkers so it'd be hard to juggle meeting up, etc. But, if you want to make it work, go for it!
honeydew / 7463 posts
I would never. Ever. Unless the conference was at, like, Disney. The closest thing I would do is bring DH with me and make it a little get away for us.
But when I was working and I had business trips, I never even considered taking LO and I enjoyed every. Single. Second. No regrets.
wonderful cherry / 21504 posts
My DH travels to Southern California frequently and we live in Mew England, so we talk about this a fair amount. Ultimately it doesn’t feel worth it. It would be me solo parenting a lot while he worked, in a place that isn’t as comfortable as our home (as in we don’t have our stuff, maybe not baby proofed, sleep arrangements would be harder). Or I could come after he’s done with work and we rent a place but then I’m traveling cross country by myself with two kids under 5, all to save the cost of his flights. And both kids are over two so we’d be paying for 3 flights.
I think when the kids are a little older it might be more fun. But for now it’s just not worth it. I’m not that adventurous.
DH used to sometimes tag along on my work trips before we had kids, but that was very different!
pineapple / 12566 posts
My DH had a conference in Barcelona a few years ago when we were living in Europe and we all tagged along for about 10 days. He was at the conference all day during the week, so I was solo with the kids during the day (who were then 3.5 and 10 months), but it was actually a lot of fun. We would meet up in the city after he was done for the day and all have dinner together. I think there was only one night when he had a dinner planned. During the day we would go exploring and it was less stressful than I thought it would be. We rented a 2 bedroom Airbnb so that we had a little extra room to spread out. Now that we live in Asia, my DH travels a lot more for work, but with the kids in school, it's a bit harder to make the work dates/vacation time line up. We did go to Cambodia for a quick weekend trip at the tail end of a work trip in January, and I hope we can do a few more tag alongs this year.
wonderful pea / 17279 posts
I haven’t taken advantage of work in fun places yet, but people in my industry do this all the time. Sometimes the place is cool enough where spouse and children visit during the actual event and sometimes two or three days is tacked on at the beginning or end of an event.
honeydew / 7235 posts
Growing up both of my parents traveled for their jobs, especially my Dad. When there were really good destinations the whole family would tag along. The working parent would be gone all day, but we'd be with the other parent, then meet up for dinner.... Then we'd usually tack a day or two onto the end to all hang out!
I don't travel too much for my job, but if I did attend conferences in good locations I would def have the family tag along!
pomegranate / 3227 posts
I don't think I would ask my husband to spend precious PTO to tag along at a conf unless we extend it into a vacation. At that point we are only saving the cost of one airfare. I'd rather wait and spend PTO on our own terms.
coconut / 8472 posts
In the past we’ve always gone alone. I have conference in Miami in November and I’m sure I’ll do that one alone. I’ll have no free time and probably be expected to socialize with all the other people who work for my company. It would only be stressful to have my family there.
On the other hand, DH went to a conference in SF a few weeks ago and if he can go again we’re tossing around the idea of all of us going. He wouldn’t have any dinner obligations so we could all meet up in the evenings. But I’d be on the hook for soloing all day long with 2.5 year old and 5 year old. I wouldn’t expect him to leave early and he’s not the type to do it anyways, lol. I’m much more lax at conferences .
clementine / 935 posts
I'm an academic, and I've gone to lots of conferences with my family. I love it because it is a subsidized vacation. At the same time, I do feel torn between hanging out with them and actually taking advantage of the conference, and I feel like I miss out on some networking options.
I still think overall it's worth it to do it for at least some conferences.