Acing the Family Vacation

Lessons from three hard-charging CEOs on how to make time for—and make the most of—travel time as a family.

May 15 2013 by Michael Gelfand


“My goal is to get work done during the first three hours of the day so that I can spend the afternoons with my family,” he says. “Dropped calls and intermittent connections make me crazy. We even put in high-speed, satellite Internet at our vacation home, which is in a remote area of Ontario.”

Connectivity can be more challenging for CEOs who enjoy remote venues. Steve Cody’s travels with his son Chris are typically spent 15,000 feet in the air clinging to the face of a rock—not exactly an ideal position from which to field a call from the office. However, that’s more or less the point, says the CEO of Peppercomm, who goes rock climbing with his son several times a year. “It’s the single best way to relax I’ve ever found. Sitting on a beach, I end up thinking about work, whereas being in a position where every step is critically important tends to force you to cleanse your mind of everything else.”

SteveCodyFam

Like many CEOs, Cody plans ahead for stretches of inaccessibility by prepping his team and creating a contact plan in the event of a crisis. “When Chris and I were climbing the Andes in Ecuador, I was off the grid for three to four days at a stretch, so I alerted my business partners and my clients. We also put in place a way for them to reach our climbing guides who, in turn, can always reach me in a crisis.”

For time-pressed CEOs, sometimes the complexities of planning to be away seem trickier than travel planning itself. Yet, navigating vacation venues can be a significant source of pressure. After all, you’ve got to pick the perfect place, where you can realize an ambitious goal: to relax, recharge and reconnect as a family in one week flat—or maybe less.