This question is a difficult one in some ways. The principle of intentionality comes to mind. This means being intentional about the opportunities you have, or could create, that would create connection. For example, you might not be there, but you could send a text to a neighbor friend asking them to give your wife a hug and a message from you. Hiding secret notes for your kids, and or spouse is another great idea. The list goes on and on and is only limited by your imagination and effort. Practicing intentionality for sure when you’re with them, but also when you aren’t, will not lead you astray.
A few months ago I had someone ask me this exact question. He traveled a lot for business and usually went to a few different cities. We talked about taking some time before he left to sit his kids down and show them the city he would be traveling to on his laptop. Show them pictures, historical things, food he was going to eat, hotel where he was staying (even the hot tub and pool in the hotel), and so on. The principle I find in what we talked about was something like “give them the journey,” or “make their imagination real.”
Instead of allowing them to wonder all the time what their dad was doing, or when he was coming home, or what airplane he’d be on, their imaginations could already know. He went and tried it and said his kids, especially the younger ones, really liked it. He said it helped them to feel less angst about where their dad was, because they knew.
Again, the list goes on and on with things you could do to stay connected, but the reality of the situation is be intentional above all else, and in my opinion, make their imagination real.
Safe travels my friend. And good for you for being a dad who cares enough to ask. That’s awesome!