Getting your ducks in a row when travelling can be the difference between a trip to remember, and a travel nightmare I think it was my high school teacher that told me: if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. That’s stuck with me ever since, so now when I’m travelling I look for as many productivity hacks as possible.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re travelling for business, leisure, or both: productivity is key to the success of the trip.
Staying productive while you’re on the go is all about staying one step ahead. So, as a bit of a nomad, what do I do to maximise my travelling?
To enable your trip to run like clockwork, make sure you have itineraries for each of your scheduled meetings or activities. This is boring and obvious, but essential.
Use services that allow you (or whoever’s scheduling your trip) to book everything in one place. The one-stop shop approach is a godsend for people like me who just want to get to my next destination and start exploring!
We’re never far from our smartphones these days, so make sure any important documents or itineraries are saved onto your phone or tablet. It’s far more convenient when it’s all available at the touch of a button: it’s also far easier to lose a piece of paper than it is to lose your phone (hopefully)…
Travel time gives you a good chunk of time to get some important work done when you’re starved of internet connection. Make use of your travel time by working offline.
Before you leave the sacred WiFi zone, make sure any of the documents or programs you need to work from are available when offline.
I work collaboratively on documents using Google Docs. Enabling offline has helped me to get heaps of work done on my flights to and from business excursions in other Australasian cities.
An added bonus: The more work you can get done on the plane, the more time you have for fun when you land!
Of course, sometimes email is King. If you need WiFi to be productive… almost every major airline will offer in-flight WiFi, it just might cost a bit extra.
Tech saves the day
I’m a tech nut. Whatever technology I can use to make me more productive, I use it. This can be anything from apps, to gadgets.
For me, my Apple Watch has become a major part of my everyday life. It’s great for business travel and makes life much easier while on the go.
When travelling, it alerts me on any gate changes, delays and boarding times on the go, instead of having to look for the departures screens at the airport or on my phone.
Another great advantage is that I can use my watch as the boarding pass for some flights, without the need to look on my phone or try finding a paper ticket. For people in the trade when we are all so connected our mobiles, having a smart-watch preserves your valuable battery charge when you’re on the go.
I also want to stay connected with my teams when I’m travelling. Constant communication helps my productivity a great deal. I can’t remember life without Slack, and I don’t want to. With my team spread across six countries, Slack ensures that I can keep in touch with them easily, from wherever I am in the world.
While communication helps me stay across the work that my team is doing on the ground, using task management tools like Todoist also helps me get stuff done. I can see at a glance where projects are at, status updates on partnerships, and implementation stages of various pieces of work. It’s critical to my success on a day-to-day basis, and extra important when I’m travelling.
Have some you time
If you’re travelling for business, I’d always recommend locking in some you time. Business travel can often be exhausting: you’re in a new place, and will often have lots of back-to-back meetings with customers, prospective clients, colleagues and whoever else. It takes a lot out of you.
To ensure you stay on peak form, make sure you slot in some time for yourself. Bleisure travel is one of the biggest trends in travel right now — that is, when travellers mix their business trips with leisure time, allowing them to save money and time, and relax.
That mix of business and leisure on a trip not only saves money and time, but also gives you something more fun to look forward to when on your business trip.
For my business trips, knowing that I have a few days of relaxation after a manic day of meetings helps keep me motivated and productive. It’s almost like a goal to strive for, or a reward for a hard day’s work.
Pack an external phone charger!
As you may have gathered, I use my smartphone a lot!I couldn’t live without the email apps on my phone. I still find email the best way to communicate… so when I’m travelling and I’m out and about, I need to stay juiced up so I stay connected.
When travelling, we put a lot of strain on our smartphones. Be it emailing ahead of meetings, using Citymapper or Google Maps to get us to where we need to be, or soundtracking our aimless city-walks with podcasts. And being stranded in a city I’m not familiar with, with a dead smartphone is no good.
When my smartphone dies, so does my productivity. This is a really simple, but really effective productivity hack. Pick up a portable phone charger!
I don’t have to ration my phone usage quite so much, and can relax, save in the knowledge that my power pack is going to keep me going for the day.
About the author
David Fastuca is the CMO and co-founder of Travelport Locomote, a corporate travel management platform.