The Realities Of Working And Traveling With Your Partner
My partner and I not only work in the same industry, but we also sometimes travel together for work. In many ways, it’s a blessing. We know a lot of individuals who do what we do, and travel for work, and report feeling very lonely when they’re on the road. Hotel rooms and comp’d meals are only exciting for so long when you have nobody to share them with. Visiting new cities is only fun for so long when you have nobody to explore them with. So, when we travel for work, it’s a hybrid business/pleasure trip. I’m so thankful for that. But it also has a way of intensifying the issues that come about when you and your partner not only work in the same industry, but also work in the same office (aka your house or hotel room together). Then you add travel to that. Here are the realities of traveling and working with your partner.
Airport departures are more stressful
Leaving for the airport can cause fights between any couple. But when missing a flight could mean missing meetings that were important and possibly financially lucrative, the tension around prompt airport departures runs even higher. If we leave 10 minutes later than planned because I’m doing my hair, that fight can linger in the air for hours.
Disputes over professional etiquette
Out-of-town work comes with its own strange etiquette. It can feel a little more casual. It’s fun. The people we’re meeting are excited to meet us, since we are in from out of town. They want to show us their favorite restaurant or bar. Is this business or is it fun? So the lines can be blurred on appropriate etiquette. Can we swear? Can we drink a little more than we normally would during a business meeting? My partner and I have to see eye to eye on this, but often don’t.
Making time for sightseeing
We both badly want to take a little time to enjoy the city. But fights can arise around that. Maybe one person sleeps a little later than the other, and isn’t done with her work in time to catch that city tour we had planned.
A hotel room is no home office
A hotel room is not a great substitute for a home office. There’s just the one little desk. We have no kitchen, so we can’t freely make snacks and coffee as much as we normally would. We share walls with other hotel guests who may be loud. We can just be irritable.
Pitching both of you is twice the work
Depending on the line of work, you may be pitching both you and your partner. That’s the case for us. We are both performers, so when one of us lines up a gig, we naturally ask to bring the other. We’re both there, anyways. But that means getting each gig is twice the battle because we’re pitching twice the people.
A bad night’s sleep is even worse
A good night’s rest is essential to doing good work. But when we’re on the road, we just don’t sleep as well. We’re away from our bed and our usual comforts. So we can be tired, and irritable, and take it out on each other.
The “who foots the bill” talk
If we are meeting somebody with whom we hope to work for drinks or dinner, we have are little argument over who is paying. Are we paying for him? This is an expensive place. Should he be paying for us? Since he’d be the one hiring us and has more money?
Occasional misogynistic misunderstandings
Sometimes, when my boyfriend arranges a meeting and we both show up, the person we’re meeting assumes I’m just along for companionship and that I don’t work. “It’s so nice your girlfriend came to keep you company” they’ll say. Um, no…I’m part of this business meeting, too.
No dilly-dallying on road trips
Arguing about dilly-dallying on road trips gets worse, too. If I want to pull over to go to a petting zoo or a cute outdoor market, I get a stern talking to about keeping it to 15 minutes or less.
Joint apparel decisions
We feel pressure to decide, together, what the appropriate way to dress for the meeting is. If one of us dresses up and the other doesn’t, the latter could look rude. But what if one person really doesn’t think this is a formal thing?
Cost versus profit discussions
There is a lot of talk around how much we spend on the trip versus how much it will make us. Sometimes, I want to shell out a little more for the slightly nicer hotel, knowing that we need a good night’s rest to do well in our meetings and in performances. My boyfriend gets upset, saying we’re then spending too much money to make the money.
A bad meeting=a bad date night
A day can turn around quickly. We may have fun events planned for the night after meetings or performances. But if something goes wrong—if we perform poorly or don’t get hired for something—we aren’t really in the mood for our fun evening.
Disputes over who blew it
If a meeting or gig has any hiccups (which they often do), we can argue over who blew it. But, we are romantic partners, too, so we have to find delicate ways of doing it. Ultimately, this is one of my least favorite parts of traveling and working with a partner.
You need some time apart
Sometimes when we’re on a work trip, we just need to take a day apart. Between staying in a hotel room together, with no other rooms to escape to, and working together, that’s a lot of time together.
But a professional win, on a trip, is the best
There’s nothing better than having a business venture go great, while on a trip. We have the whole city to explore and celebrate in. It’s the best type of vacation.