In a perfect world, I wouldn’t have to work at all while I’m traveling. And while that’s possible some of the time, on trips for work or for longer periods of time, I do have to keep up with work, because freelancing means no paid vacation time. My clients are depending on me to get things done, and no matter where I am in the world, I want to live up to that.
On my other site, The Hustle Life, I’ve talked about how working on a plane is one the most focused places to get things done, mostly because you can’t really do anything else, and you can’t get comfortable enough to enjoy watching any sort of TV. I’ve also talked about working ahead of schedule before you do travel. But today, I wanted to talk about how I work when I have to work while I’m traveling, and strategies that work for me.
Block Out Your Free Time
Those times where most people are wasting time waiting to board planes, nap on the plane, or waiting for their taxi to come or their conference session to start. In those times, I work. If I’m doing conference recaps for Search Engine Journal or MoxieDot, I will often take notes during the sessions and then use the in between times to use the notes to draft up my post.
If I have to work during vacation (like I did when I was in the Florida Keys this past August), I work in the AM. Oftentimes, the time difference messes up my internal clock anyway, so I usually wake up super early. Instead of laying around in bed, I get up, put some clothes on, and either work in the room, a McDonald’s, or a lobby for 1-2 hours. Because most of my traveling companions aren’t up yet, I don’t interfere with our plans for that day and get everything out of the way early.
In addition, I use downtime to work. If that sounds exhausting, sometimes it is. I’m not going to lie. But you have to decide whether or not working while traveling is worth it. For some clients, you have to. It’s just something you do. I can’t really make it sound like it sucks any less. 🙂
Be Ultra Mobile
In order to get as much work done as possible, no matter where I am, I have bought a few pieces of technology that have helped me be more productive. These include (Amazon referral links):
- Acer C720 Chromebook (11.6-Inch, 2GB): This little $200 netbook does almost everything a regular computer does (besides downloading programs like Skype) and it is super lightweight. Perfect for conferences or trips where you are working somewhat, but won’t need your full computer.
- Anker® 2nd Gen Astro E3 Ultra Compact 10000mAh Portable Charger: This external battery weighs a lot, but it’s worth it. It’s perfect for charging your iPad, Kindle, or phone while you’re at conferences, the airport, and even on the plane. I use it a ton while traveling
- Freedom Spot Photon 4G Mobile Hotspot (Platinum): FreedomPop is a fairly sweet setup, if you are savvy and read all the reviews and the fine print. It is basically a free 4g hot spot if you use it at least once a month (otherwise, it will charge you a fee). This is a lifesaver when I’m somewhere that I swear had WiFi, but for some reason, it isn’t working. I’ve used it at the Kansas City airport, in hotels, and even have the opportunity to use it on road trips, if I need to. Just be sure to watch your usage, because if you do go over your monthly 2gb, it does automatically charge your credit card on file. Note: The price on this changes a lot on Amazon, so check out other sites before buying. I think I bought it when it was about $45.
- Belkin 3-Outlet Mini Travel Swivel Charger Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports: I got this as a Christmas gift from my dad after it was on my wish list. In hotel rooms and airports, it never seems like you have enough outlets, so this helps alleviate that. I also like the fact it’s a surge protector (that is insured) so I don’t have to worry about my electronics getting fried.
When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter exactly what equipment you use or when you work. Working while traveling is all about: being mobile, organized, focused, and doing the best you can while you’re away. So experiment and figure out what works best for you!
What has helped you work on the road?
Images via Pixabay