July 29 2009 by Chris McGinnis
Part of the art of successful business travel is maintaining the delicate balance between a healthy family/social life and the demands of the road. It's been interesting to witness how that balancing act has evolved and expanded in the Internet age.
When my first book 202 Tips Even the Best Business Travelers May Not Know was published in 1994, my advice for maintaining communication with family and friends was rudimentary. It included suggestions such as regularly scheduled check-in calls, sharing a room service meal with family and/or friends via speakerphone or faxing handwritten notes home.
Back then, being away on business really meant being out of touch. But now, thanks to the Internet, we live in a virtual world. Being physically away does not necessarily mean you are out of sight and out of mind. As a matter of fact, it's now much easier than ever for frequent travelers to stay active and involved in their lives back home.
How to do so? Embrace popular new social media tools.
- Set up Facebook and/or Twitter accounts and ask your friends and family to "friend" or "follow" you. This way you can post news, thoughts, musings and photos from your day for them to view online. And you can check out what they are doing and thinking back home, too.
- Set up a photo sharing account at Flickr.com and/or create your own "channel" on Youtube.com. Bring along your camera and take photos or videos of things like the view from your airplane seat or hotel room and/or the office, work site or city where you're working. Then post these on the sites you've made to be viewed by folks back home. By doing so, you can engage them in your life on the road.
- Invest in a new smart phone and use it to send photos and short videos back home (or to post on your Facebook page.) The newest generation iPhone as well as the brand new T-Mobile myTouch 3G both sport built-in video cameras as well as the ability to upload videos automatically from the phone to your YouTube channel.
- If you'd like to stay in touch with the Best Western family, check out its social networking pages: facebook.com/BestWestern, twitter.com/TheBestWestern, youtube.com/bestwesternTV