Taking a business trip can be stressful at the best of times. Whether you’re off for an overnight conference, a week’s partnership or a longer project, you essentially pick up your entire business and take it on the road. Besides showing up in the appropriate clothing (which you absolutely packed, right?), keeping your tech up and running becomes your number 1 priority. Take a look at our tech tips for business travelers:
Be careful with free WiFi
Most hotels have free WiFi, as do libraries, cafes, and bookstores. It’s now easy for any business to open their WiFi to the public, with or without a catchy password. Unfortunately, that convenience can come at a huge cost. The wireless network you use to check your email while relaxing with a latte could be operated by a hacker. Most of the time, even the wait staff at the café wouldn’t be able to tell the difference either.
Even if you connect to the proper free network, someone could easily capture your information as it travels through the air. Using a VPN can help, as will making sure you connect only to wireless networks that require a password. Once connected, make sure the sites you visit have the little HTTPS lock.
Connect via your cell phone
Hotel WiFi is notorious for being slow or insanely expensive. You may find that your mobile phone allows you to tether or hotspot a connection. That means you connect your laptop to your phone via WiFi or cable and piggy back on its mobile internet connection. Many carriers and phones allow this, but not all. Importantly, if you’re in a foreign country it can also be worthwhile getting a local sim card rather than pay expensive roaming charges.
Don’t forget power adapters
You’ve seen it before…people scrounging around for a charger or cable, huddling around in groups until their device has enough juice to get them through a few more hours. Of course, it’s only funny when it happens to other people. Be sure to pack your correct power adapters and cables, along with any plug/voltage converters required to match your destination. It’s worth carrying your USB charging cables on your person, as many planes and airport shops now offer a place for you to plug in for a quick boost.
Take power with you
Taking your power adapters is important, but they aren't always convenient. Trying to find an available outlet to plug into isn't always possible. When this is the case, having an alternative power source can be a lifesaver. Fortunately, power packs and extended batteries are easy to come by and fairly inexpensive. Portable chargers can fully recharge a smart phone a few times over and many newer laptops now use USB-C for charging meaning a single power pack can change multiple devices without even needing an outlet.
Have plans for being offline
Sometimes you simply can’t get online, which will do you no good when you’re checking into a hotel and your booking details are tucked safely away in your cloud email. You can print out essential travel and business details on paper, but if you have a lot or don’t want to carry them, you can also save them to a document. Emails can be copied and pasted into a Word document, or you can print to PDF by pressing Print > Save to PDF (or similar). Many apps also have an offline mode that allows you to store the information on your computer, including Evernote and Netflix.
Need a VPN or tech checkup before you go?