If you're a bona fide road warrior, you already know to wear slip-on shoes and consolidate your clothes into a carry-on bag to minimize time spent in lines.
But there are more ways to streamline your business travel packing. Here's how to lighten your gadget load without sacrificing your ability to get work done.
1. Use a super-thin notebook
One of the best tips for modern business travel is to skip the heavy, thick notebook you might normally use in the office. New models like the MacBook Air are even thinner and lighter than before, yet they use the latest Intel Core processor to run apps fast. Light-as-air notebooks are also bigger than a netbook, which means they have a larger (and longer lasting) internal battery.
2. Get a back-up battery charger
Back-up chargers like the Kensington PowerLift make perfect sense for the frequent traveller. The device itself charges in a few hours. Then, when you run out of juice on your phone, tablet, or notebook, you can connect up to the back-up battery for extended use. Not all back-up batteries are created equal, though. Newer models by Dexim, for example, stay cool to the touch as you charge up a devi9ce, and yet they are small enough to fit into a side pocket in your laptop bag.
3. Bring an extra smartphone
It might seem superfluous, but if you can bring along a second smartphone, it can be a life saver on a business trip. One “gotcha” when you bring just one phone is that you never know whether this might be the trip when your iPhone finally dies or you drop it off a railing. Or, you might think your device is fully charged when you left for the day, only to realize it won’t power up. You can usually add a second smartphone to your wireless carrier plan for as little as $10 per month.
4. Use a phone hotspot
New phones like the Motorola Atrix 2 provide a hotspot for up to eight connections. To use the network, you just enable the hotspot feature in settings. Then, you can connect with any other gadget over Wi-Fi—like a tablet, a notebook, or even another smartphone. The hotspot feature usually adds an extra fee to your wireless carrier bill—including extra data usage and for the hotspot feature itself.
5. Live in the cloud
One of the best business travel tips is not even directly related to your gadgets. If your business still relies on desktop apps, consider moving to the cloud: you can store documents on DropBox.com and access files from any device—even mid-flight. Google Docs has improved recently with a sleek interface and features like spell-check and a quick paragraph formatting tool, and when you work on documents on that service, you can access them from any device without having to copy anything over.
6. Pack extra cables
One last tip that might seem a bit too granular: remember to pack extra cables. You might think you can get by with just one microUSB cable (the kind you use to charge a smartphone), but go ahead and pack a standard USB cable, all of your chargers, your laptop charger, and even an HDMI cable that connects your laptop (or your smartphone) to an HDTV. The reason: you never know if your trip might be extended and you’ll want the power cables, or if you’ll need to connect your phone to a PC.