A Publication of WTVP

For many businesspeople, traveling is a black hole of frustration, stress, and work that piles up while you’re stuck on a plane. Thankfully, there is a wealth of strategies that can help you make the most of your time on the move so that you can accomplish great things once you reach your destination.

Your plane hasn’t even left its gate, and you already feel defeated by another harried day of travel. You hit every traffic light in the city on the way to the airport, waited in a slow, frustrating line to check yourself in for your flight, and went through the usual hassle (and occasional humiliation) required to get through security. To make matters worse, you’ve just found out that your flight has been delayed for at least another hour—time you’ll spend worrying that you won’t make your meeting and feeling totally useless because you know you have a mountain of work on your plate that isn’t getting done.

If you’re one of the many Americans who travel regularly for business, this scenario is probably all too familiar. Airports, delays, and forced downtime are the bane of the road warrior’s existence, because they usually mean you’re getting even farther behind on your constantly expanding to-do list. However, when you travel smart, you can continue to make huge strides with whatever you want to accomplish (even when you’re stuck at an airport gate)—you just have to implement the right tactics.

When you spend the whole day just traveling, you have to catch up on emails, reports, phone calls, and other tasks when you reach your destination. Plus, the knowledge of what you have to do later stresses you out all day long. But when you work and travel smart, you’ll have time to explore the city you’re in after checking into the hotel… or to enjoy a hot bath and a glass of wine once you finally make it home.

I want to stress that I’m not advocating becoming a productivity nut who’s constantly trying to do more, more, more. You make these changes to the way you travel so that you can do what you have to do while you’re waiting on that plane to take off or while you’re in your cab on your way to the hotel, so that you can do what you want to do later. If you’d like to increase your productivity the next time you don the armor of a road warrior, then read on for 27 tips to help you save time, cut stress, and accomplish great things while you’re on the road.

Tips for the Anti-Packrat

Luggage is a necessary evil for most road warriors. After all, nobody really likes packing, lugging around a suitcase, and living out of one. Luckily, there are simple tactics to prevent needless luggage-related stress.

Tips for Smooth Traveling

A successful trip is not defined only by being as productive as possible; it’s also about staying healthy mentally so that you can actually enjoy what you’re doing. That’s I recommend reducing anxiety in whatever ways you can.

Use it to take notes. Instead of digging around looking for a pen and paper, simply snap a shot of books and items you want to buy or price-check online, restaurants you want to visit, billboards of shows you want to see, etc.
Use it to remember your parking spot. Take a picture of your parking lot space number and parking structure floor. Travel days are stressed and rushed. For most people remembering where you left your car a week later can be a challenge!
Use it to remember your rental car. Take a picture of your rental car and license plate. (It seems like they’re all silver or beige!) Save time you’d otherwise spend wandering around a parking lot looking for a car you can’t remember.
Use it to remember your room number. Take a picture of your hotel room number, especially if you’re traveling to several cities or traveling very frequently. After awhile, especially if you’re in a different hotel every night, they all start to look the same!

Tips for Productivity

Your travels will be sprinkled with 15-plus-minute periods of “bonus time” via flight delays, late clients, or other unexpected agenda disruptions that will be wasted if you aren’t prepared to make the most of them.

As you incorporate these strategies into your travel routine and they become second nature, you’ll find a work flow that allows you to feel accomplished even when you’ve spent most of your day on an airplane. More importantly, you’ll find that you have more time and energy (and mental peace!) to devote to your meetings, tasks, and exploring the places you’re visiting. iBi

Jason W. Womack, MEd, MA, provides practical methods to maximize tools, systems, and processes to achieve quality work/life balance. He is the author of Your Best Just Got Better: Work Smarter, Think Bigger, Make More.