How to Stay Productive at Work While Traveling

For many of us, the ability to completely unplug while we’re away from work has begun to slip away. Such is the modern workforce – with email, Skype, text messages, and Google Hangout, among other channels (not to mention smartphones and laptops), being available at all times has become the norm. This can be challenging enough when you’re trying to maintain a healthy work-life balance and stay engaged with your spouse or children. But what can you do about it when you want to get away for a week or two?
 
Below are some recommendations that can help you stay productive with work while traveling. If you’re like many working women in today’s workforce, this is the new normal. It may be far from an ideal situation, but these tips can help you make the most of it!
 
 
 

Stick to a Routine and Plan Ahead

If you know that you’re going to have to work on and off while on vacation, make a routine and stick to it. This way, you’ll not only be more productive – having a routine is tremendously efficient and effective – but you’ll enjoy your trip more, too. When you’re spending time with your family, your mind should be in the right place: the “here and now.” Don’t dwell on work when you don’t have to. Set aside an hour (or two) in the morning and an hour in the evening for work, and spend the rest of your vacation with your loved ones.
 
 
 

Bring the Right Tools

You can’t work properly without the proper tools. Of course, laptops and a smartphones are a given (if you travel often for work, you may want to consider a carrier that offers free data when out of the country , such as T-Mobile); without these, you’ll be all but dead in the water. The carrier offers their users unlimited data and texting in over 140 countries. But you may also want to consider bringing spare batteries and chargers, a portable Mi-Fi wireless router, a portable keyboard (if you’ll be using a tablet), and extra storage, such as a thumb drive or SSD external drive. Think about everything that you might need, prioritize them in order of importance, and pack what you can.
 
 
 

Use Free Wi-Fi Whenever Possible

If your carrier offers free data while abroad, great! If not, you should look into purchasing a data package for the duration of your trip. Not only will you be assured of service when away on vacation, but you can avoid overages, too. Of course, the best way to limit your data use when overseas or abroad is through public or otherwise free Wi-Fi networks. Consider renting an apartment from sites like AirBnB instead of staying in a hotel; usually, the apartment will have free Wi-Fi, whereas many hotels only offer it as an upsell.
 
 
 

Complete Work Ahead of Time

One way to lighten your load when you’re away is to do a bit of heavy lifting in the days and weeks leading up to your trip. It may be a burden to put in some extra hours here and there, but the rewards will be more than worth the effort. Do everything that you can to clear your plate ahead of time, so that when the time comes to walk through those gates at Disneyland (or take that elevator ride to the top of the Eiffel Tower), you’ll be able to enjoy yourself, free of worry.
 
 
 

Solicit Some Help from Co-workers

Believe it or not, if you ask your co-workers for help, you’ll probably get some. It’s common to try and shoulder all of the work yourself – particularly when you’re trying to maintain a leadership role within an organization – but being part of a team means delegating tasks and seeking assistance from others. Let your co-workers, peers, and employees know of your absence in advance, and seek assistance wherever possible. You may be surprised at the reception you receive. And all that’s required of you is to return the favor in the future when one of your co-workers takes a vacation!
 
 

What tips do you have for working while traveling? Let us know in the comments.
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Samantha Rivers

Freelance Writer at Upward Onward
Samantha Rivers is a freelance writer who lives in Chicago (Go Cubs!) and loves writing anything in the lifestyle, career, travel, and career realm both online and print. When she's not running the UpwardOnward blog, she enjoys reading, finding new restaurants, being active outside, and indulging in a glass of wine or two.
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