20 Tips to Make Working on the Road a Breeze
Whether you are traveling for business or leisure, working while on the road can be hectic. However, more and more people are beginning to combine travel and work, thanks to advances in mobile technology and Internet. According to a recent report, over 3.3 million people from the United States have worked remotely, and the number is growing. In fact, the segment of digital nomads - people that are eager to escape the traditional office environment and travel the world, even if it means they need to put in a few hours of work in between sightseeing and exploring is on the rise.
Technology has made it easier than ever to work from anywhere in the world, from beach resorts to scenic European cities. Here are a few tips and cardinal rules to help you maintain a healthy balance between the responsibilities and demands of work with the hectic and busy nature of traveling.
1. Bring your own WiFi hotspot
When working remotely, a reliable internet connection is often a necessity. No one wants to spend their traveling time worrying about whether or not they will be able to find a reliable WiFi hotspot. Bringing along your own mobile WiFi hotspot can free you from that stress. With Keepgo’s international mobile SIM cards and mobile WiFi hotspots, if you want to picnic under a tree or in a city park to complete your work, you can. Plus, since it is your own personal connection, it provides a higher level of security than open networks and eliminates expensive data charges.
2. Create a packing list
Do you know that panicky feeling you get when you realize you forgot to put your laptop charger, iPad or some other essential in your luggage? Avoid it by preparing a list. You can create one with the app TripList, which also has a to-do list feature and can be synced to the travel itinerary app TripIt. One TripList feature that is particularly handy is the ability to set packing reminders for certain items, so if you want to pack an item the morning of your trip instead of the night before, you can set an alarm for it.
3. Charge the night before, and pack a wireless charger
Losing your battery power is a major issue when working on the road. Oftentimes, you may not have access to outlets, so a powerful wireless charger is a packing must. Limefuel Rugged is one of the most durable, high-capacity wireless chargers with multiple charging ports, so you can charge more than one device at a time.
4. Protect your devices with covers and waterproof cases
Since electronics can get jostled around or exposed to the elements while traveling, it is vital that you protect them. Some extra-durable cases that are ideal for protecting your valuable tech devices during travel can be found from brands like BrentHaven and The North Face, which both offer lifetime guarantees in case your gear breaks or needs replaced.
If you plan on backpacking or going on any outdoor adventures where you and your belongings are exposed to the elements, invest in waterproof cases. There are dozens of waterproof cases on the market. Overboard, a brand of waterproof cases for smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices claims it can withstand water 7 meters deep for over an hour. Although, it isn’t recommended that you try that.
5. Minimize baggage
If you can avoid packing a folder full of papers, notes and other physical materials, do it. Going through security, checking into hotels and unpacking is difficult enough without carrying around more weight than necessary. Lighten the load by storing as much essential work information electronically as possible. A secure, cloud-based software is generally the best option, so you can access it at any time, even if you lose a device.
6. Stay organized - make a to-do list
Organization is your best defense against missing a deadline or getting bogged down by work, causing you to sacrifice touring a new city or relaxing by the beach. The age-old way to stay organized is to create a to-do list. But, today even to-do lists have transformed from pen and paper to tech apps like Evernote, which allows you to create lists and share them with all of your devices. You can also use the app as a travel journal, online notebook or simply as a place to jot down notes from business projects and calls.
7. Track tasks
Think of work as part of your travel itinerary, and schedule out time for it as if it was another spot on your travel list. But, first you need to know what is an appropriate amount. Often, we underestimate how long it will take to complete tasks. With the help of apps like Toggl, you can track exactly how much time is required to fill tasks, and analyze reports to improve your productivity. Toggl and other task-tracking apps can give you a clearer idea of how much time you will need to complete a project. But, overestimating and scheduling a little more time than you think you’ll need is always a smart idea.
8. Keep a calendar
Trying to remember flight times, hotel check-in dates and other travel details only from memory is exhausting. You’ll inevitably forget or confuse important details, causing you to miss a job deadline or even a flight or other booking. Google Calendar is a great way to remind you of deadlines, client calls and important milestones. You can also color code tasks to keep them organized and set alarms to remind you of events.
9. Find your stress relief
Travel on its own can be stressful. When you are juggling trip plans with business deadlines, the stress level can go through the roof. Planning, organization and time-management are crucial to preventing high-anxiety situations from happening. But, life is unpredictable, and we all experience stress occasionally. While traveling, it is important to put aside at least 15 to 30 minutes in the day to relax and relieve tension. Running is a great way to explore the area that you are visiting while releasing stress at the same time. Going to a spa, doing yoga or participating in a local dance class are all healthy options that can both relieve stress and be a cultural travel experience.
10. Work while en route
Whether you are on a plane, bus or train to your next destination, take advantage of the free time. Since you are probably not doing anything but waiting to arrive anyway, it is an opportune time to get some work done. Put your laptop and other supplies in your carry-on bag for easy-access, and pack some headphones in case you want to listen to music during the ride.
11. Search nearby for work spaces
Finding a quiet space where you can focus on your work can seem impossible, especially if you are traveling with a group or staying at a noisy or crowded hostel. When researching hotel and lodging accommodations, search nearby the area for potential work spaces. Libraries, coffee shops and parks may provide a conducive working environment. However, keep in mind seating and amenities when researching. For instance, outdoor cafes are often more scenic, but can be a bit louder and distracting, particularly if they are close to busy streets. WiFi connections at shops can be spotty or slow as well, so having a personal WiFi hotspot is recommended.
12. Consider co-working spaces
If it is hard to self-motivate yourself into working while traveling, think about joining a co-working space. Being surrounded by others that are being productive is strong motivation to pound out some projects of your own. With over 1,000 co-working spaces in over 93 countries, Global Coworking Map can help you search for one at your next destination. You can also get a membership from Copass to work in one of their 600+ co-working spaces that are located in close to 70 countries across the globe. Whether it is a cafe or a co-working space, the important part is that you find a work environment that works for you.
13. Create a motivating music playlist
Many people create a music playlist to help give them an extra push when they go to the gym. A playlist can help motivate you for work too. Some studies even suggest that listening to music while completing tasks can improve productivity. Remember to give your ears a break though, and pack a pair of earplugs for when you need to block out surrounding sounds to stay focused.
14. Research, prepare and use common sense
The best way to make working on the road possible is to research and prepare thoroughly before your trip. Research the conditions that you will be in and make smart decisions. For example, traveling to a remote location in the jungle with limited to no power may simply not be wise when you have several deadlines coinciding with your travel plans. Use review sites like TripAdvisor and VirtualTourist to learn more about locations that you aren’t familiar with before you go.
15. Research, prepare and use common sense
The Cloud is ideal for working on the road (provided that you have an uninterrupted Internet connection). This gives you the freedom to store, access, and share files from anywhere. There are lots of cloud-based solutions available on the modern-day web. Some of the most popular are Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, JustCloud, etc.
16. Make Backup Plans
You cannot predict in advance every travel glitch that can happen to you during your trip. Before your trip, think about scenarios of what you’ll do if your luggage is lost, your phone is stolen or the battery life of your laptop goes low.
17. Identify What Tasks You Can Do without the Internet Connection
When you are on the road, it’s not always possible to find a reliable WiFi immediately. Even when you access the web using a SIM card, sometimes you can experience interruptions. This shouldn’t keep you from working. Create a list of the must-do tasks that you can complete without the Internet. This can include some brainstorming ideas, creative writing, reading a new book or other educational materials, etc.
18. Track Your Time
Don’t lose track of time when you are on the road. Get the right combination of work and relaxation. Free time-tracking apps like Toggle can help you take better control of your time.
19. Keep Your Ideas in One Place
You can achieve massive results in your business or personal project based on the ideas that you generate and develop. It’s easy to lose track of thoughts that come to your mind when you are on the road.
Luckily, there is a wide choice of software for making notes. Apps like Evernote let you store all pictures, notes, and sound-bites in a single place. You can also use Notes on your iPhone to keep your creative ideas always in your pocket.
20. Be More Productive On the Road Using Keyboard Shortcuts
When you are on the road, you do not have a lot of time to write long emails or text messages. To give an answer to every email and message that you get without spending plenty of time on writing, use keyboard shortcuts, two or three letter macros that can expand into words/phrases/sentences. Here are some of the most popular shortcuts that are widely used today:
- em: email address
- mo: my mobile phone #
- tu: thank you
- sig: your complete signature to add to the end of emails.
In the modern-day world, we have an amazing opportunity to explore the world and work while you are on the road. It takes time to adjust to such a schedule, but as soon as you learn this skill your life will be all the better for it. It’s possible to work productively when you are on the road. Follow the tips from this article to balance your work. Travel more often without falling behind in your career.