We have an upcoming 3-day work trip to Louisana at Dogwood which got me to thinking about what are some tips I would give to people traveling for work purposes for the first time. Traveling and working can be a tricky combination, but with a plan, it doesn’t have to be!
Do you remember your first work trip? My first one was with a co-worker to Miami. I was not prepared at all to balance work obligations with the desire to see the city and take in a Marlins baseball game. We came back with too many stories that didn’t involve the conference we were supposed to be attending.
Since then I’ve done a better job and can now provide 5 tips I’ve found that can help in getting the most out of your work-travel combo:
1. Make sure you’re prepared – Prioritize items that will make your trip more comfortable such as noise-canceling headphones, a good mobile hotspot or an adaptor so you can keep all of your devices charged.
One time while traveling I realized that I didn’t bring a charger for my computer. Instead of turning around or stressing about it, I looked ahead to find the closest Apple store, ordered a cord, and had it waiting for me as we went through town. I say this because even when you think you are the most prepared, all good plans aren’t foolproof. At that point it becomes about shifting to plan B, paying the penalty, and then moving forward.
2. Plan ahead – Map out areas where you’ll be able to access reliable Wi-Fi so you don’t have any gaps in connection when you’re trying to get work done on the go. Even better if you can sign up for day passes at local coffee shops or coworking spaces in advance.
I’ve always found paying for internet at a hotel versus using their free tier tends to be the better option. I don’t always do this, but if I plan on moving large files or uploading videos for example, the amount of time the faster speeds provides is well worth it.
3. Set boundaries – If you’re traveling with friends or family on your work trip, make sure to set clear expectations on when you’ll be available for work and leisure activities before the trip begins. This way, everyone can get what they need out of the experience without any surprises.
It’s great when you are able to combine the two, but you can’t forget why you are there in the first place.
4. Keep your routine – Try to stick to a regular schedule as much as possible by setting aside specific times for work, meals, and rest just like you would if you were home. It will help keep your focus sharp during work hours and allow you to truly enjoy your travels when it’s time to relax.
Especially since this is a work trip, treat the day as you would any other work day, but don’t forget to take advantage of learning all about the place you have traveled to at night or even during breaks from your work. It’s one of the best advantages of a work trip – letting someone else pay for the travel expenses and then getting to see a new place!
5. Pack light – The last thing anyone wants while traveling is to be bogged down by heavy luggage. Pack only what you need and consider investing in multi-functional items that can serve multiple purposes, such as a laptop bag with built-in chargers or a travel pillow that doubles as a laptop stand.
With these tips for working while traveling, you are sure to make the most of your trip! Keep in mind that no matter how well-prepared you are, it is important to remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. If something goes wrong or if you don’t get all of your work done, just take a deep breath and enjoy the time out of the office, even if it is still work!