Unearthed
The intersection of travel and wellness

How To

How to Make Your Spouse Feel Loved When You're Away on Business Travel

As much as I love to jet off to the next destination, the hardest part is knowing I’m leaving my husband behind, and about to have all sorts of new adventures without him. While we get to vacation together sometimes, more often than not, when I’m traveling to a conference or on another work trip, I’m flying solo.

I’m thankful he’s super supportive of my work, yet I always feel guilty getting ready to leave, essentially saddling him with all the household duties as well as caring for our cat. To make us both feel a little better about it, I’ve developed a routine that helps us stay connected even when I’m away, and hopefully makes his life at home a little easier.

Whether you’re the primary person responsible for household duties or not, here are my tips for helping your spouse feel loved even when you’re away.

1. Keep them abreast of your calendar.

The No. 1 thing to do, if you travel often for work, is to communicate your schedule with your spouse or significant other. Whenever I’m about to book a trip, I always call him or talk through it with him when he gets home from work before purchasing my flight. It’s not like I need to ask his permission, but it helps him feel involved with what I’m doing, and also ensures we can plan ahead if we are both needing to be gone at the same time.

2. Pack early.

By planning ahead and getting your packing done prior to the night before you leave (say, two days before you go), you can enjoy downtime together on your last evening home instead. Getting in a few hours of quality time together and avoiding last-minute stressing over what to bring will likely help you sleep easier, too.

3. Cook a nice dinner.

If I’ve followed No. 2, then I love to prepare a nice dinner for us the night before I leave. I usually get all the ingredients chopped and ready, then we finish making it together when he gets home from work. One of our favorites is a healthier version of lasagna, which I make with no-sugar tomato sauce, ground turkey or lean ground beef and whole-wheat noodles. It’s nice to sit down to enjoy a warm meal at the table (rather than our counter), and he also has leftovers for the next few nights.

4. Share your itinerary.

Remember when people used to leave the name and phone number of the hotel they were staying at, in case anyone needed to reach them while they were away? No one does that anymore, but in that same vein, I share my trip itinerary with both my parents and husband via email before I go. They like following along with what I’m doing, and it’s a small way to help them feel like they’re involved, enabling them to ask questions about an event I went to or a new restaurant I tried. I also like to print out a copy for my husband and leave it on the counter at home so he can easily check in and see where I am.

5. Write notes.

I’m the queen of neon pink Post-It notes, and I love spending a few minutes before I go writing down sweet notes to my husband before I leave on a trip. They can be inside jokes, a funny poem or even just a line of encouragement. I place them in spots he might not notice right away, but is bound to find when he’s getting ready the next day—such as in his sock drawer, next to his razor or tucked in with our silverware.

6. Schedule FaceTime dates.

Even though my schedule on trips can be unpredictable, whether its an event that runs long or an extra meeting I have to take, my husband and I always plan a time to FaceTime at the end of the day. It’s important to reconnect face-to-face, even for just five minutes, to keep that strong bond when we’re apart. I put it in my calendar and stick to it as if it was any other appointment.

7. Make plans for when you’re back.

Many articles out there talk about the importance of unpacking as soon as you arrive home. That can feel satisfying, for sure, but it’s more important to me to spend quality time with my husband and cat right away—the dirty laundry can wait. I love to make a specific plan to catch up so we both have something to look forward to, whether it’s having a drink somewhere in our neighborhood, sharing ice cream together or even just taking a walk. To me, there’s nothing more relaxing after a busy trip than slipping back into your typical evening routine.

What are your best tips for helping your spouse or SO feel loved while you’re away? I’d love to know!

Photo credit: John and Colette Photography