Many readers were surprised when President Obama took his wife, kids and mother-in-law along on his recent trip to Russia, Italy and Ghana, based on the e-mail I'm still receiving. Some thought it was too expensive, others too dangerous.
It seems strange these days for anyone to take their kids along on business trips. A hot trend in the revved-up economy of the past, combining business travel with family or leisure pursuits has fallen sharply. 'The mood now is all business,' says Peter Yesawich, chairman of Ypartnership, Orlando, Fla., a travel-industry marketing services firm.
Some 70% of business travelers in 2000 combined leisure pursuits with business travel, says the Ypartnership/Yankelovich National Business Travel Monitor, a biannual poll. Many took along their spouses, their children or both, sparking a boom in child-care services at hotel chains. But only 49% of those polled this year say they combine business trips with leisure, and fewer are taking spouses or kids, Mr. Yesawich says. ''Road warrior' is a very appropriate expression' for the folks populating airline travel lounges these days, he says.
Seeing exotic locales with Mom or Dad can be an adventure, as we discussed last week. One Chicago executive wrote here that whenever she is overseas for more than a week, she takes her three-year-old daughter. This preschooler is 'an absolute trooper' already comfortable with foreign languages and foods, the executive writes.
But others say the stress of making sure children get the proper care outweighs the benefits. One author says she regretted bringing her one-year-old son on a speaking tour. Although a publicist offered to care for the child, the woman turned out to be a '20-something vision in head-to-toe Prada' ill-suited to tend 'my infant with mashed apricot splattered all down his front, giving off a whiff of laden diaper,' the author said. Her speeches were punctuated by her son's high-pitched crying as the publicist tried to calm him.
International travel poses other hurdles for kids. Jet lag can be brutal to a child who feels the effects but doesn't understand why. As much as I hated to split with my kids, I always left them home when traveling on business either in the U.S. or overseas. I couldn't imagine managing their care or asking them to adapt to my long hours and intense work schedules.
The Obamas, of course, had plenty of help along, including Malia and Sasha's grandmother Marian Robinson. And it isn't particularly unusual for presidents to take their children overseas, says Doug Wead, a presidential historian and author of two books on presidential families, who commented on the topic in my recent 'Work & Family Mailbox' column. He cites other examples, including Franklin Roosevelt and his daughter Anna, who accompanied him to Yalta in 1945 to meet with Churchill and Stalin.
Readers, do you ever take your children on business trips? How about overseas business travel? If you do, how has it worked out for you? Were your kids wowed by new wonders or cranky with jet lag?
当然了，奥巴马夫妇在旅途中会得到诸多帮助，包括玛丽亚(Malia)和萨莎(Sasha)的外祖母玛丽安•罗宾逊(Marian Robinson)。研究总统家庭的历史学家、就此着有两本书的道格•韦德(Doug Wead)最近对我“工作•家信箱”( Work & Family Mailbox)这个主题发表评论时说，总统带着孩子出访也并不是十分鲜见。他援引了其他一些例子，包括罗斯福总统(Franklin Roosevelt)和他女儿安娜(Anna)，1945年，安娜曾陪同罗斯福赴雅尔塔，会晤丘吉尔(Churchill)和斯大林(Stalin)。