Frugal Vacation Idea – Tag Along to Your Spouse’s Business Conference

Many people have to attend business conferences, often at faraway locations.  While it is true some people like to spend this time away from their family to focus on work and make business connections, others would prefer not to be away from their family for a long period of time.  If you are of the latter group and your spouse has a flexible schedule, why not create a family vacation around a conference instead?  Tag along to your spouse’s business conference and you have the makings of a frugal vacation.  There are several advantages to doing so:

Great destinations

Large conferences are often held at tourist-friendly destinations, which can often make for a nice family vacation locale.  I attended a conference in Colorado this past summer, and my family went with me and enjoyed seeing the sites while I was at the conference during the day.  We arrived at the conference two days before it actually started, so we visited the sites I wanted to see on those days and the family saved the rest for the days I was busy with the conference.

Frugal vacation

If you are already committed to the conference, chances are your place of employment will reimburse you for the gas and mileage if you are driving or airfare if you are flying, hotel, food and conference fees.  If your spouse comes along, you will only have to pay for their expenses.  In my previous place of employment, one of my coworkers attended a conference every January held in the Florida Keys.  Of course, she took her whole family (what a yearly treat for Northerners), and she only had to pay out of pocket for her family’s airfare and food.  There was no other way she could take a family vacation to the Florida Keys for so little money.

Family time

spouse business conference

Here's a frugal idea - tag along to your spouse's business conference.

Some people truly dislike being away from their famiy for long periods of time.  Taking them with you to a conference eliminates the disruption of being away from your family for 4 to 7 days.  It may also make some employees who are reticent to travel to conferences more likely to go, and, subsequently, learn new skills and fresh ideas at the conference.

History lessons for kids

Many conference locales are steeped in rich history and would be great for children to visit in person.  My husband is going to attend a conference in Washington D.C. in a few weeks, and I and our three children will be going with him.  I don’t usually pull my son out of school for travel, but because of all the historic places we will have the opportunity to visit, I felt it was well worth it.  He will bring schoolwork with him, of course, but visiting places like the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the National Museum of American History will also be real-life learning experiences for him.  Since we are driving, we will only have to pay for food and admission for the four of us.

Whether you are someone who doesn’t like to be away from your family for a lengthy amount of time or you are looking for ways to afford a family vacation, taking your family with you to your next business conference might be the perfect solution.

In fact, you might actually start to look forward to attending business conferences on a regular basis.

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Published or updated September 14, 2011.


  1. We love to do this! After all, the hotel room isn’t any more expensive 🙂

    Nothing better than getting a supplemented vacation for the spouse and kids!

  2. I’ve been pegged for a conference next year and I’m already planning on the possibility of bringing at least my wife and maybe the kids but that depends on the locale and if there’d be enough for them to do to justify it (and if we could get a set of grandparents to agree to watch them for that long *lol*)

  3. We’ll be doing just this for the Chicago FINBLOGCON in a couple of weeks. We’re going a day early and leaving a few days after to take some time off in Chicago. Should be fun, and more frugal since I would have been going to the the conference anyway! Combining conferences and vacations can be fun!

    • I’m jealous Pete! Originally we were all planning to go but it’s a bit too much flight-wise to bring the family.

  4. Well Heeled Blog says:

    I’m heading cross-country to visit a school and my fiance is tagging along. After all, the only increased cost is the airfare… everything else is as cheap with 2 people as it’d be with one.

  5. I once took my wife on a business trip to Acapulco. They even paid for the executives’s spouses to join us. I had to entertain the top 30 dealers with their spouses. We had a great time. Normally, she did not want to come along because it wouldn’t be much fun if I were busy.

  6. Great thought! I’d say this truly is frugal unless you are making an excuse to go on vacation and spend more money. If you REPLACE your planned vacation with a tag-a-long vacation, it’s truly frugal. Good work!

  7. I have been doing this for years. I tag my partner along. It has became a part of our bonding moment. And when school is out, we also bring the kids with us, family bonding this time. Work-and-pleasure-in-one, why not? Trying to hit two birds with one stone is not bad at all, depending on the situation.

What Do You Think?