It’s one thing to periodically check your email, or log in to social media, or check out the news of the day from your preferred news outlet online. It is quite another to be a working professional on the road. Given that I bring my laptop on every trip and I work while traveling, I have quite a bit of experience with this. Trying to run a business while traveling can be tricky business if you don’t plan right. It can mean the difference between working for a few hours a day then enjoying your destination or major headaches. Here are ways to be efficient in your work and tips for traveling and working, whether traveling domestically or abroad.
Tip #1: WiFi is King
WiFi is king. Scratch that, super reliable WiFi is king. If you are a traveling professional, you must have access to reliable WiFi at all times. When I travel I make not only that my hotel has WiFi but that it is pretty good but also free. That is one of the main perks that I look for when booking a room. It is so imperative for my businesses that it is high on the list (like with air conditioning).
So what do you do when you are staying somewhere that doesn’t have great WiFi or you are in a country with little connectivity. There is always the local coffee shop or WiFi cafe. But those areas are security risks so you will want to be mindful of what types of transactions you do on your computer on public WiFi (same goes for airports). Another option is to have your own WiFi hot spot. I have a hot spot that I keep with me just in case I need better, faster WiFi or I want to do a sensitive transaction like banking. Some of these hot spots also have international capabilities, which is an even better option. And, in some instances, though you would have to check with your cell phone provider when overseas, your phone may be able to function as a hot spot as well.
Tip #2: Skype is Your Friend
And so is FaceTime if you have an iPhone. But mostly Mac. Many businesses are comfortable with holding Skype calls, so if you really need to have a face-to-face meeting with a prospective partner or client, Skype is the way to go. It keeps costs low (free), as well.
These are also great options to check in with your family and friends while you are traveling to let them know you are all good. They will appreciate seeing your face and having that extra reassurance, especially if you are traveling solo.
Tip #3: Use an Email System That Allows for Scheduling
This has been a lifesaver not just when I am traveling but also when I am working late at night and don’t want the other party to know that. But in the traveling context, no one has to know what time zone you are in if you have the right email system in place. My email allows me to draft my emails and then send them at a set time during business hours the next day. It’s perfect for those late nights…or when you are in Europe and your clients aren’t aware of that fact.
Tip #4: Use Jetlag to Your Advantage
Awake at 3 a.m.? Just lying in bed miserable trying to fall back asleep. Perhaps the better idea… I mean, since you aren’t sleeping anyway… would be to get some work done. Then, when you finally do crash, you will wake up able to enjoy your destination a bit rather than worrying about work. And, if you have an email that allows you to schedule, you can appear as though you are working during “normal” business hours when you are really catching that much needed nap.
So those are my tips for traveling and working. But I would love to hear from other professionals how they manage their travel and work logistics for some new ideas. Sound off in the comments.