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I have been working with my boss for a few years, and since COVID, I have been working remotely from my home country. So, I met regularly with my boss pre-COVID; now is just zoom meetings.

I am planning to travel to his/her country for personal reason and I am unsure if there is any etiquette whether I should or should not meet my boss during my travel (maybe quick one-on-one catch up over coffee)?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  • If you regularly met in person before covid, this means you are not far from your boss? So how distant are you from your boss? This could make the decision, you wouldn't want to travel for hours just for a coffee?
    – puck
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:10
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    @puck during pre-COVID I worked at the office, so we met regularly. If you are referring to my boss' place to where I will stay, it might take 1-2 hour drive depending on traffic. True, if I were to catch up I would probably just say something like 'let me know if you are around this area — would be lovely to catch up over a coffee' Feb 3, 2023 at 8:11
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    It makes sense to have this question ONLY if you travel to his city, or very near. Otherwise, it makes no sense. The discussion could be different if you would travel for business reasons.
    – virolino
    Feb 3, 2023 at 8:44
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    Some countries are large. Unless the country is Luxembourg, you might be many hours away.
    – gnasher729
    Feb 3, 2023 at 11:21
  • @virolino: I wouldn't even dream of meeting my boss if I was in their street :/
    – red-shield
    Aug 29, 2023 at 6:52

6 Answers 6

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No, you don't have to

Assuming a personal trip, what you do in your free time is your own business. Travelling can be expensive and depending on the circumstances, having to break your tour, abandon family/friends, go to the other side of the city, and effectively work during your holidays is not something that anyone should expect (in fact, they don't even need to know).

But if you want to, it can be great

Depending on your relationship with your boss and what your career plan looks like, it can be a great opportunity to connect. In fact, this applies to other coworkers too. It could be a visit to the office, lunch, or whatever form of social event is the norm.

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Yes.

Or at the very least - extend the offer 'Hey, I'm going to be in country on dates - would be lovely to meet in person'

Now, you can consider there to be a sort of law that says the greater the distance/hassle of visiting said country, then the greater effort one should make.

So meeting a manager who lives in Wales when you reside in England - make the offer, if they take it up, cool, if not - who cares.

Whereas flying from New Zealand to the UK - yeah, stop whatever it is you are doing and make time for at least a coffee and a chat.

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    Wales is, of course, in the UK
    – Ant
    Feb 3, 2023 at 14:21
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    ( they are separate countries . . . someone from there is about to tell you loudly )
    – Mike M
    Feb 3, 2023 at 18:34
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    To be fair to both - and to the edit - I said UK, should have said England - my point was to pick two countries that are right next to each other and very easy to get to and then contrast that with two countries that are really difficult. Feb 3, 2023 at 19:37
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    This answer implies that one should make time to meet up with their boss while on a personal trip, which I generally disagree with. One of course can if they want to, but shouldn't feel any obligation to while on a personal trip at personal expense. It would be different if this were a business trip.
    – josh3736
    Feb 3, 2023 at 21:33
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    Etiquette stops at reaching out and letting them know you're going to be in the area. "Stop whatever you're doing" is a little unbalanced - many personal events should take priority over connecting with a colleague, e.g. weddings or funerals.
    – CodeMoose
    Feb 4, 2023 at 19:05
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The answer really depends on multiple factors, like

  • Availability
  • Existing relationship
  • Individual personality
  • Culture etc.

What I'd advise, you can let your boss know that you'll be travelling, and inform the possible timeslots when you're available for a face to face meeting.

If they can manage the date and time, they'll let you know. Otherwise, there's always a next time. Don't sweat over it.

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    The first part of the answer is good. But the second part somewhat contradicts it. Why give such advice if you don't know the listed information? If they are "travelling for personal reasons" that might mean they are on vacation and nobody should expect you to meet your boss during vacation.
    – user29390
    Feb 3, 2023 at 7:48
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Should I meet my boss when I travel to his/her country?

Etiquette says nothing about that (only when on business trip), but there are rules based on basic politness. You should not "invite" yourself, you should not bother, you should/could just inform.

It happened to me, with colleagues (N-1 or N+1), but never with my boss. Anyway, I was always informing them in a informal way: "oh, by the way, I'll be in [country] from [date to date]. What can/should I do/visit/not miss? (or is there something I can do while visiting?" Why wouldn't you just do that during a meeting/zoom? With your own words or variation.

I'd recommend just givin informal information about the travel and disponibility, and let them decide. If they invite you, set up the meeting together, if they just wish you a good trip, thanks and move on... They may not invite you, because they want to give you a real break, that's also respect.

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It depends on the conditions of your visa. Talk to HR.

Simply put, if you're meeting up with your boss for a business meeting, that's work. Many tourist visas prohibit you from working while in the country. As such, you may be forbidden by the terms of your visa from meeting up with your boss while visiting the country.

To determine whether or not this is the case, I would recommend talking to your company's HR team (or your company's Travel team, if your company has one). They should be able to provide you with guidance on the local government's rules and regulations that might affect you in this trip.

It's possible you might be allowed to do, in which case, sure, go ahead and meet up with your boss. You might be allowed to do so, but forbidden from discussing work. You might be entirely forbidden from doing so. Heck, it may even be possible that you'll need documentation from your employer to prove to the immigration agents that you aren't going to work while in the country.

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    "I am planning to travel to his/her country for personal reason": OP is not going for business purposes, it's about a possible casual meeting with someone you know.
    – OldPadawan
    Feb 4, 2023 at 11:54
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    @OldPadawan If you engage in business activities, it is now a business trip, and possibly a violation of your visa. A meeting with your boss is different than a meeting with a friend or family member.
    – nick012000
    Feb 4, 2023 at 12:18
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    @OldPadawan I wouldn't recommend visiting your boss or coworkers without clearing it with HR (or whoever is responsible for business travel at your organisation) first, no. Visiting them has the potential to turn it from a personal trip to a business trip.
    – nick012000
    Feb 4, 2023 at 13:54
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    @OldPadawan Of course you can visit the country, they're saying you can't meet with the colleagues and discuss business while you're there. Although in practice I doubt any immigration office would consider a casual meal or drinks with colleagues to be conducting business.
    – Barmar
    Feb 4, 2023 at 15:33
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    This should be way higher up. Risking legal consequences for a 30 min coffee is not worth it most of the time. Feb 5, 2023 at 14:18
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I am planning to travel to his/her country for personal reason and I am unsure if there is any etiquette whether I should or should not meet my boss during my travel (maybe quick one-on-one catch up over coffee)?

Obviously you should let your boss know you will be there and offer to meet.

Think of it from the point of view of your boss. How would you feel if one of your workers was in the area for the first time in several years and never bothered to mention it?

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