Business travel can be stressful, but with the right tech tools, you can turn your downtime into your most productive work.
Traveling can be pretty hectic to begin with. Add on the fact that you’re traveling for a work function, and the whole ordeal becomes much more stressful and complex.
Love it or hate it, traveling for work is definitely on the rise. In 2013, U.S travelers took 444.6 million domestic business trips. This number is expected to rise to 488.8 million by 2020—and that’s only accounting for domestic business travel.
If you’ve just joined the frequent business flyers club and have yet to learn the ropes, there will be much to learn. One of the most important things will be learning to effectively use technology to simplify each trip. So without further ado, check out my top 5 tech tips for business travel!
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1. Invest in the Right Tools
You may be partial to PCs, but that preference might be worth revisiting now that you’re a frequent business traveler. One thing you’ll find is that the right tools matter when you’re constantly on the go.
Each necessity for your work will need to be easy to pack and carry. On top of this, additional tech items like charger packs and good headphones will help you travel more comfortably. If you need a guide, Travel and Leisure offers up a pretty solid list of the best tech gadgets for business travelers.
2. Pick a Hotel with Solid WiFi
Hotel WiFi can make or break the productivity level of your trip. Sure, you can pay the $30 a day to purchase WiFi, but that hardly sounds appealing for a work venture. Rather than pray to the booking gods that your hotel will have WiFi, do your research to find hotel chains that are a sure bet.
Some of these include the Hyatt, Hyatt Place and Extended Stay. If these options aren’t too appealing, 98 percent of Courtyard Hotels offer free WiFi, and 97.1 percent of Hilton Garden Inns offer it as well. However, if WiFi is a must, you might want to avoid Marriot Hotels & Resorts as only 16.7 percent offer free access.
3. Choose an Airline with a Decent App
Never underestimate the power of a good app. According to the Wall Street Journal, airlines have dumped some serious cash into building awesome apps to streamline booking, ticketing, and boarding processes for flyers.
The article even outlines which airlines have the best apps for tech-savvy travelers. On top of this, there are lots of third party apps to help you organize other important trip details like lodging and rental cars.
4. Know Your In-Flight WiFi Options
If you plan to work on the plane, it might be worthwhile to figure out if the flight you intend to take actually offers inflight WiFi. Yes, it might seem simply inhumane for any airline to deprive you of your right to inflight WiFi, but it definitely happens! Be sure to see whether or not your flight offers what you need to get work done in advance.
You might also want to check costs to plan for reimbursement or additional charges in your personal travel budget.
5. Have an Offline Backup Plan
Should you find yourself in an airport or hotel with spotty service, an offline backup plan will be seriously beneficial. In an article on CNN Money, Andrew Thomas, business development specialist at Skybell, recommends taking screenshots of all travel docs beforehand. This way you won’t need to rely on cell coverage as you travel outside of the country or to domestic cities that simply have bad service.
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6. Keep your Data Safe
A WiFi attack on an open network can take less than 2 seconds. Although this might make you a bit wary of your free WiFi usage in your personal life, business travel will require that you connect to a public network at least once or twice per trip. Fortunately, there are several ways you can keep yourself safe from WiFi attacks. Tech Republic offers up a fantastic resource for minimizing the threats of public WiFi.
7. Harness the Power of Airport Tech to Bypass Customs
Global Entry is a program offered by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. It qualifies frequent travelers for expedited customs, saving international business travelers a lot of time each year.
According the SmarterTravel executive editor, Anne Banas, in an article on Business Insider, "I just went through the [application process] a couple weeks ago on a trip to France. I was the only person in line for Global Entry and I went right though. And if you get a combination of flying business class plus Global Entry status, you can just whiz out of there with your luggage right away."