Like every entrepreneur, you probably struggle to hit that off button on all the activity in your life. I've found traveling to be an effective way of putting a pause on the workday. Flying 500 miles per hour 30,000 feet above the world has a way of isolating you, especially if you're on one of those airlines that doesn't have affordable Wifi.
On my most recent trip to New York City I woke up at 4am, made sure I was packed properly, took a Lyft to SFO, and piled into my 7am Virgin America flight. It was exhausting. Although I'm a fan of that company, getting work done, although totally possible, is generally not a very positive experience on any flight and isn't something people usually want to do in a cramped seat. No matter how good Virgin's actual service is, there's really nothing you can do about the sky-high pricing of their inflight Wifi and the lack of space you have in front of you for your laptop.
Regardless, at some point you will most likely have to hunker down and get work done, not only while flying, but once you land too. Here are some travel tips to help you stay on track no matter where you are in the world.
1. Float on a Cloud
Even the best organizers are sure to forget a file or document. Make the best of today’s cloud-based technology to keep your documents, presentations, photographs and videos within reach. DropBox, Google Drive, and iDrive are just three of the many cloud storage service providers you can use to travel light but still keep all of your information available.
2. Stay in Touch
Although there may be time differences, flights without Wi-Fi, or other periods of time where you cannot be in contact, you can use online applications to stay in touch. This goes beyond email and instant messaging. Use Skype, Google Hangout, Viber or any other voice/video communication service to reach your team as well as provide access for them to check-in, ask questions, or conduct quick meetings.
3. Plan in Advance
Plan out aspects of your trip as well as the work you'll need to do in advance as much as you can. This will make for a smoother travel experience. For the flight, use a product like Seat Guru to help you get a better seat with more legroom, if those are available. You might also want to choose business class on really long trips to help you take advantage of the extra room. Do advance check-in to save the hassle later. You can also schedule a car service or an Uber driver in advance for when you arrive. You can get repetitive work tasks handled in advance while traveling by using a variety of services. PandaDoc helps you keep track of documents as well as sign clients, Hootsuite can help you take care of social media posts, and WordPress lets you schedule blogs.
4. Keep Fit
You don’t want to be lax on your fitness just because you are traveling. Instead, bring your FitBit with you and continue to track steps and stairs. Even if your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center or swimming pool (although you are booking all wrong if you haven’t selected one that has these features) you can quickly locate online resources that provide guides for exercises that can be done from a hotel room.
Don’t be afraid to delegate more of your basic responsibilities to others while you are away. Traveling is not the time to micro-manage or morph into a control freak. You can set these tasks up online through a work management platform like Wrike that provides a list and timeline for each member of the team, including the additional work you are entrusting to them while you are on the road. Famous Silicon Valley unicorn Slack is all the rage right now for keeping everyone on the same page work-wise. It will most assuredly enable you to delegate more easily and often in real time.
6. Block Time
Determine when you can block out work time while traveling, especially if it is a trip for pleasure and involves others that want your attention. This is up to your personal preference, but you may prefer to work early in the morning while others are sleeping. This way you can wrap up conference calls or projects that keep your staff on target, so you can then migrate to the fun, diversion part of the trip. Of course, you might be a night owl and want to work then. Being flexible and staying organized around how you use time is highly important when traveling.
7. Put Technology to Work
There are so many tech gadgets and apps now available to make traveling anywhere in the world easier and more convenient. Consider a satellite phone if you are going to one of the farthest corners of the globe, such as Roadpost’s Iridium. If you are afraid of losing power, use a MOTA charge card, which fits in your wallet and provides three hours of talk time or 150 hours of standby time.
No one wants to lose luggage and now you can keep an eye on it with the Trakdot Luggage Tracker. If you are traveling somewhere that does not have English as a common language and you haven’t caught up on your language studies, you can download Google Translate to your smartphone so that you know what someone else is saying or what the sign reads. If you are driving on your trip, it helps to have navigation assistance that keeps your eyes on the road, so you can use a product like Navion from WayRay, which offers the first holographic car navigation that puts it right up on your windshield. These are only a few of the countless tech gadgets that can help you get around and enjoy the trip to the fullest.
While it may seem obvious, many travelers don’t realize how much this helps them overcome jet lag, regain mental alertness, and raise productivity on the go. Drink plenty of water and avoid coffee and alcohol as these both dry you out. You can use an online water consumption calculator to determine how much water you need to stay hydrated while traveling to ensure you keep healthy.
9. Create Task Lists
While time changes and various modes of transport may take you away from the usual routine you have at home, make daily lists to complete during each day you are traveling. These can be built in advance and accessed through your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Some task apps to consider include Todoist, Any.do, and Wunderlist.
10. Employ Travel Tricks
Using some of the tricks that seasoned travelers employ can save you both time and money. For example, many travelers do reverse booking by getting a one-way ticket and then booking a round-trip ticket for the return. This provides that extra portion to use for another trip to the same location. You can also buy a connection ticket that includes your destination and you simply get off there rather than connecting. Don’t waste time checking bags because that takes more time on both ends of the trip that you can use for something more productive. If you are traveling out of the country and want to skip the long security and customs lines, sign up for Nexus, Global Entry, and/or TSA Precheck to slash this time.