During last week I spent the last two days travelling by train between conferences in Spain and the UK while trying to work, write and blog. The lesson is you need to leave the tech at home if you want an enjoyable holiday.
Some of us however are travelling for business so the option of leaving the technology at home isn’t an option. Here are some tips on how to work effectively while on the road.
Charge, charge, charge
If you want to be connected you have to charge your devices at every opportunity, you never know when the next opportunity will arise.
One trap for players is the earthed adaptor plug as the third pin basically renders your equipment useless on most trains and bathrooms. So beg borrow or steal one that lacks the pin which will almost certainly leave you with dead batteries on a night train.
Don’t rely on WiFi, in many places it’s patchy and in France requires convoluted sign up plans. When you can get it, consider it a bonus.
If staying more than three days in a city buying a local pre-paid SIM saves money, but when travelling a lot in Europe it’s best to buy a European wide SIM which will cost more but won’t die at the border.
The dying on the border shouldn’t be understated. On the night train from Barcelona to Paris the service – which the salesman assured would work in France – stopped working the moment the train exited the tunnel from Spain at Cerbere.
Avoid night travel
Should you be intending to work while on the road, avoid night travel. You’ll get more work done in a hotel room or hostel than on a stuffy night train and be more productive than after an overnight flight.
Keep things to a minimum, if you’re working that might mean laptops and big cameras but for leisure keep it simple. The less tech you carry, the fewer the power, security and other hassles you’ll encounter.
Forget a schedule
Work where you can and when you can. If you’re diligent then flight and train delays can be your friend in getting stuff done.
Get a room
Working in hostels is almost impossible and you risk having things stolen, staying with friends and relatives is great but their hospitality makes it hard get things done. Get a cheap room so you can work in peace.
An important thing about travel is that you are away from home to learn about and experience other places, spending your time stressing about finding a power socket or Wi-Fi access point is not why you’re on the road.
Overall, tech is a hassle when you’re travelling. If you’re on the road for pleasure keep most of it at home, if you’re working then keep it all to a minimum.