Business Travel Tips for Productivity

The best business travel tips for productivity are to pack gadgets that reduce transit between destinations and all of the office electronics necessary to conduct business from the road. Frequent business travelers know how difficult it can be to maintain productivity on the road. If you travel a lot, you need mobile capabilities that give you office functionality even from the road.

Get a Phone with Web and E-mail Capabilities

Probably the number one way to improve your productivity when traveling for business is to have a good phone with Web and email services. For added productivity and a mobile office all-in-one, consider a PDA phone.

PDA phones are the best choice if you do a lot of business traveling, as a PDA phone can send and receive emails, store contact phone numbers and information and even serve as an organizer for all your events and appointments. Popular PDA phones include the Apple iPhone, which also serves as an MP3 and multimedia player, the Moto Q by Motorola, and the traditional BlackBerry, one of the oldest names in PDA phones.

Bring Your Laptop

Opinion is mixed among business travelers whether or not to bring laptops. Some business travelers only bring laptops on long trips but not short ones, while others always bring them and a few business travelers never bring a laptop.

As great as PDA phones are, it can be annoying to try to type lengthy emails on them, and you may find yourself missing your laptop when replying to emails. Beyond that, though, your laptop contains important files that you might need to access at a moment's notice while traveling. Now that some airlines are beginning to offer Wi-Fi access on flights, bringing the laptop along can increase productivity exponentially as you make use of the formerly -lost' hours of the airline flight.

If you bring your laptop on business trips frequently, you should consider the size of your laptop. Many standard business laptops are -desktop replacement' models, more focused on performance than size. Frequent business travelers benefit from smaller, more mobile laptops, which often come with a higher price tag due to the size.

If you're shopping for a new laptop, look for something under six pounds and in the 11-inch screen-size range. These smaller laptops may require some adjustment for regular use, but you'll be happy you got one when you're juggling your laptop, a briefcase full of documents, your carry on bag and your luggage through endless airport corridors.

Consider WiFi vs. Mobile Broadband

One of the biggest difficulties of bringing a laptop along for a business trip can be finding WiFi connectivity. Many hotels now offer WiFi or wired Internet access, but it's always possible that you'll find yourself in one that doesn't. If that's the case, you could spend hours hunting for a spot with WiFi. If you find yourself frequently traveling to destinations where it's difficult to find WiFi access, consider getting mobile broadband.

All of the major cell phone providers offer wireless broadband devices in the form of USB modems, PCMICA modems or Bluetooth devices that enable your laptop to connect to the Internet through your cell phone provider. If you choose to get a mobile broadband device, be sure to get an unlimited data plan from the cell phone provider as it's all too easy to go over the low monthly limits, and overage charges for Internet service are astronomical.

Don't Forget the Chargers

This one seems obvious, but any frequent business traveler has a story about arriving at a destination without a cell phone or laptop cord, and then running around an unfamiliar city trying to find a replacement. Don't put yourself in this position. The easiest way to ensure that you always have your chargers and cords is to buy a duplicate of every single cord you need, and leave it packed with your business travel gear. That way you're not always scrambling to find cords at the last minute while packing, and if you leave those duplicate cords packed, you'll never have to worry about forgetting one.

Keep in mind that if you're traveling internationally, you may need a conversion kit for your electronics. Some international destinations use different voltages, so you'll need a voltage transformer to keep the voltage difference from frying your delicate electronics. Other international destinations simply use different plug types, so you'll just need an adaptor to convert your plug to the country standard. Know whether your international conversion kit is just an adaptor, or whether it converts voltage to safe levels for your electronics.

Travel with GPS

If you're trying to navigate an unfamiliar city, a GPS unit will ensure that you'll get to your meeting, even if you miss a turn. The GPS unit will recalculate your route and give you revised directions based on your current location, no matter where you are. A GPS unit is absolutely invaluable if you're trying to navigate Boston, for example-a city notorious for twisted roads and poor street signage.

GPS units pack easily into your luggage and you can set them up in your rental car when you arrive at your destination and be ready to go. Some GPS units only offer mapping services, while more advanced GPS units include the option to download waypoints for local attractions and restaurants. To maximize GPS productivity, look for a GPS unit with a traffic receiver accessory to give you the most recent updates on your route.

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