Traveling for business can be a big opportunity to get a lot done on the go. With proper planning, you can master your time and take charge of your trip -- from take off to touch down. The key to being productive is advanced preparation.
As a frequent traveler, I have spent countless hours in airports and hotels, living out of suitcases or trading one packed bag for another. In my experience, traveling becomes effortless when you're ready in advance.
Here are my top six tips to staying productive while traveling.
1. Pack on purpose. Create a detailed checklist of everything you need for your trip. From toiletries to technology, add it all so that nothing is left behind. Include things like, computer, headphones, toothbrush, hair products and proper attire.
Also, before packing, always try your clothes on to make sure the outfit works. This is when you can make sure your clothing fits properly, the color looks well on you, etc. As a motivational speaker, my presentation attire is a very important part of my platform. So I plan my attire with great detail, try on every outfit and always pack backup pieces so there are no surprises. Just recently I planned an outfit a week in advance for a speaking engagement. When the day of the event arrived, I had lost some weight and the outfit had become too big. (Yikes!) Although I really wanted to make that dress work, I had to go with my backup outfit, which fit perfectly. While it may seem tedious, the more you prepare at home, the more successful you'll be on the road.
2. Create your own mobile office. My team uses Box.com to store a backup of our work files. Just in case something happens we can always get to what we need. I also travel with a portable printer. Sometimes printing in hotel or convention centers can be a pain and very expensive. It saves you time and money to use your own printer in your room. I also pack an extra-long extension cord and a power strip because I always have more things to plug in than there are outlets in the hotel room. My favorite tech accessory is the ten-foot iPhone USB charging cable. You can charge your phone without having it tethered to the wall space.
3. Get a good night's rest and be hydrated the night before you travel. That way, you can work while you wait in the airport or on the plane. Resting before traveling will help you be more alert and calm so you have a more enjoyable trip.
4. Trips can get unpredictable, so use every moment to your advantage. I always pack a book or my workshop notes in my carryon so that I can access them easily and read or review my notes on the go.
5. Eat for energy. Eat a good breakfast that fuels you for energy. I travel with the Magic Bullet mini blender to make protein shakes in the morning. When I know it's going to be a long day, I usually order fresh fruit with my breakfast and add it to my protein shakes to get energy on the go. I also pack 100-calorie protein bars to snack on between meals.
6. Stay alert of trip details with smart phone apps. I use Tripit to keep my travel itinerary organized and my team informed of the details. I love this app because it's so easy to setup and use. It keeps me alert of gate changes and flight delays. You can add in other contacts so that they are up to date on your arrival and departure as well.
Expensify is another great app to use to keep track of your travel expenses, which you may be able to write off. It's a web-based expense management tool that makes it easy to capture receipts, track time or mileage and create expense reports.
7. Fill up on inspiration. Sometimes the hustle and bustle of travel and meetings can bog you down. Stay upbeat and focused with affirmations and inspirational quotes. I always keep my mind filled with positive thoughts and inspiration by looking at my 30 Ways in 30 Days to Transform Your Life iPhone app. It's 30 inspirational images with quotes that remind me to stay focused on my goals. This app will allow you to discreetly and quickly get a jolt of motivation to achieve your daily goals.