How To Stay Productive When Traveling For Work

Don't make these foolish mistakes

By Journy Admin

3 August 2018

"This will be a working vacation." You say confidently (maybe even smugly?) as you pack up your desk before your mini-break. But suddenly you're sipping espresso at an open air cafe and the idea of working sounds about as palatable as walking across hot coals. Staying productive when traveling doesn't have to be a challenge. We asked our global network of freelancers, digital nomads and remote entrepreneurs for their top tips on getting shit done, no matter where your travels take you.

Val di Funes in Italy. | kyrenian.

Match Your Destination To Your Work Goals

"As a photographer, I choose my destinations according to the best photo spots. In Autumn, Croatia, Slovenia and Italy can be very productive for seasonal colors. Also in winter time Norway can be more productive for taking photos of Auroras, frozen craters etc." - Altug Galip, photographer

African Renaissance Monument in Dakar, Senegal. | chartastical.

Research Holidays That Might Derail Your Trip In Advance

"Be aware of holidays that might affect your travels and limit what you can do and see. I found myself in Senegal during Ramadan and everything was closed—I couldn't do much besides sit in my hotel room. If I'd been paying more attention and realized that the dates I'd chosen were Ramadan, I wouldn't have booked that flight." - Charlise Ferguson, The Daily Beast

Havana, Cuba. | ericgreene.

Prepare For Every Mishap (Because They Will Happen)

"Never assume you'll get work done on the plane; always figure out your wifi situation abroad beforehand and noise cancelling headphones are everything." - Cara Parks, Roads & Kingdoms

Stretching in the Tokyo subway. | loongstoryshort.

Keep Your Eyes Open For Inspiration To Take Back Home

"I love being able to step into shoes of someone's life when that’s drastically different to your understanding. When you come home, you're inspired to create change, or at least do something differently. That to me is being productive when traveling." - Jen Loong, founder and CEO of Wandersnap

Exploring Glen Coe in Scotland. | kirstenalana.

Schedule Work Sessions Into Your Trip Itinerary

"When traveling the best way to stay productive is to schedule work opportunities during transit times. If you can use a wifi hotspot (like Skyroam) I've been able to stay on top of emails and various projects while in UBERs, on trains, and otherwise "down time" between places." -  Kirsten Alana, photographer

Iceland. | francis_lam.

Don't Delay Doing The Work That Needs To Be Done

"If you're writing a piece based on your travels, write immediately. Write in your hotel room. Write after you do the reporting; write that night. That way you don't go back and wonder: 'what was I thinking?' I take out my notepad and make notes on pen and paper. I like a small notepad, the kind you can carry around with you." - Francis Lam, host of The Splendid Table

Window working at Cafe Zi in Hong Kong. | samishome.

Organize Your Tools So That Jumping Into Work Is As Painless As Possible

"Having everything organized before going on a trip helps to get your mind immediately focused on work at your destination so you can get things done and enjoy your holiday! As a photographer that means having my hard drives and memory cards organized and sorted. Also I make sure every one of my work apps is synced and functioning: Google Drive, Google Sheets, Dropbox and Pinterest. Once I had a work trip in China and realized I couldn't access any of these on wifi so now I purchase an international SIM card ahead of time so I can have these apps on hand." - Sam Wong, blogger at Sam Is Home

Gokayama is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan famed for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. | cityfoodsters.

Embrace The Fact That It's So Easy To Stay Connected

"When I first started traveling, I felt disconnected from the entire world when going abroad. Now you can stay connected with smartphone, family, laptop do work. Working on multiple startups, I find this connection helps me when traveling for extended periods of time." - Jason Wang, Caviar co-founder

Palermo. | manuelavitulli.

Invest In travel Aids That Reduce Waiting Time

"My guiding principle is the common saying, 'time is money.'  Evaluate each choice on a trip as to whether spending more money will save you time (of course while still complying with your company's policies). You can take a taxi instead of public transport; reduce your wait times at airport security with Global Entry; purchase a personal wifi hotspot; and never check a bar onto the plane to avoid waits at bag drop and pick up." - Derek Schatz on Quora