Look around any big city airport these days and you'll see well-dressed men and women dragging a briefcase in one hand and their son or daughter in the other. Business trips where Mom or Dad takes the kids have jumped 200 percent in the last 10 years and the trend is expected to continue.
Sometimes the trips give families an excuse for a mini-vacation together. "We're seeing a big increase in the numbers of business travelers whose families join them for a weekend of fun," says Stephanie Platt, Public Relations Manager for the Ritz Carlton Hotels. But if both spouses work, or you're a single parent, you may need to bring the kids along because you have no other option.
Nursing mothers have it especially hard. When University of California professor Connie Kreemer attended a conference, she was forced to take her twin babies, her toddler and a babysitter. "I was nursing the twins, and bringing the babysitter was the only way I could make it all work," she explained. Other mothers tell of holding their babies in the back row of a conference so they could make a quick exit when the baby fussed. But if you're working in a conservative corporate situation and are faced with a full day of meetings, you simply can't bring a baby into the meeting room.
What's a mother to do? Follow these seven tips to make your next trip easier!
• Book a babysitter through your hotel: The concierge service of any large hotel will have a list of babysitters, often their own staff members who moonlight as babysitters, or tried-and-true sitters they've used before. Note that most hotels make it clear that the responsibility is yours, not theirs, should anything go wrong.