Six practical tips to help you stay productive when you travel

Planning a trip but don’t want to fall behind on your work? Read six practical tips to help you stay productive when you travel.

When you’re on a work trip, your actual travel time can feel frustratingly redundant. You may spend hours hanging around airports and train stations, or trapped on planes and trains.

Away from your desk and your usual resources, you’re unable to work effectively, or react to any new queries or tasks that come in while you’re on the road. All of which means you’re falling behind with every mile you travel.

Six practical tips to help you stay productive when you travel

It doesn’t have to be this way. With the right preparation, you can stay productive while you travel, keeping on top of your workload wherever you find yourself.

Whether you’re on a long train journey, in the airport waiting for your connection or spending a longer period of time away from home, you can maximise your time and your productivity. Here’s how.

1) Stick to a schedule

Set yourself realistic work targets for the time you spend travelling. With a clear goal (and carefully chunked steps towards it), there’s less room for procrastination.

So rather than spend lengthy sessions browsing the sunglass selection in duty free or daydreaming out of the window, you can spend any down time at the airport on tasks that will give you a head start when you land.

But be realistic. The targets you set yourself for your trip must take into account the resources you have available to you throughout it, and the times when working just won’t be an option.

2) Prepare your tech

In order to work while you’re on the move, you’ll need to be organised and prepare all of the necessary equipment in advance.

Do you need a laptop or can you manage with your smartphone? Will you have access to a power source or do you need to pack a backup charger? What documents and diaries will you need to have to hand?

If your internet connection is likely to be interrupted during your journey, make sure you download all essential documents and emails so you can work offline when necessary.

3) Research working facilities at your destination

If you’re spending an extended time away from home, you need to get a clear idea of where and how you can work.

In a foreign country, you may need a local SIM to use your smartphone without racking up huge bills. And consider your workspace too. You could work in a local internet café, but you should shop around upon arrival to find a work conducive space with good internet speeds.

Many big cities also offer temporary co-working spaces where you’ll be able to access a desk, internet connection and office facilities.

4) Get connected

Finding a Wi-Fi connection on the go is increasingly easy. Most major transport hubs have a Wi-Fi option both on board and in stations/airports. Public parks, libraries and even shopping centres sometimes offer a Wi-Fi connection too.

However, bear in mind that public networks can be slow and insecure. You should consider setting up a VPN on both your laptop and smartphone before travelling.

5) Beat jetlag

If you’re travelling long distances, jetlag can be a huge problem for your productivity – you’re awake in the middle of the night and falling asleep at your computer during the day.

Exercising, eating right, avoiding alcohol, avoiding caffeine and getting a good dose of daylight upon your arrival can all help to reduce the effects of jetlag.

6) Take breaks

Working yourself to the bone is not a sustainable model for success. Indeed, taking breaks has actually been shown to boost productivity.

So be kind to yourself and treat yourself to some down time while you travel too – read a good book, have a snooze or spend a morning exploring a new city. This will give you renewed energy and make your work much more effective when you return to the task at hand.

Plan for a smooth and productive trip

With technology and connectivity at our fingertips, working while we travel has never been easier. A little forethought and planning will help you to be productive on your journey, meaning no minute needs to be wasted.