Remote office – out of a suitcase?
This may seem like a really odd question. To those of us who have careers that require travel weekly, it is a part of life. Many of us who fall into this category don’t just travel to one city in a week it may be multiple. In fact I am writing this while on a plane from Dallas to Omaha. Started this week in Omaha, was needed in Dallas, flew out on Tuesday. Now it’s Thursday I am flying back to Omaha to finish the work week, only to fly home to Minneapolis to enjoy my weekend and Easter with my Father and Daughter. Fact is, this is quite normal. So what have I learned from all of this travel? Here are some pointers from a professional who works on the road. I will help you survive having your suitcase double as your remote office.
First some basic travel tips.
Be loyal. What I mean is find one airline, one hotel chain, one rental car company. The advantages of this are many. Status is one of the greatest things on the planet. There is nothing better than free food and drinks in first class, chilling in the concierge lounge of a hotel, getting free car rentals, or better yet enjoying a comped vacation. All because you were loyal to a chain. While status affords you all of the above, it is said getting your status is a painful journey. When first traveling it may not make sense on why be loyal, as you have no status, no free days, no real benefits. Trust me, they all add up much faster than one would ever know, if you are loyal. Most business traveler friends I have take at least one free vacation a year. 2 out of 5 times I get a free room upgrade. My room in Omaha is the size of most apartments. When your home is your hotel, size does matter.
Next this I would highly recommend, get TSA pre-check approved. If flying is part of your life, this will make you smile. For $85 you go to your local airport, fill out some forms, have a background check performed, and voila… No more removing shoes when going through security. No more removing suit coat. No more removing laptop from bag. You go through the short line set up for TSA pre-check folks. Now add the fact that that will allow you to show up 1 hour prior to flight as you are running the fast track, versus 2 hours prior and being part of the mob. I highly recommend you dropping the $85. Time and stress relief alone are worth it. This $85 buys you a year of fast track!
Now some packing basics.
I travel every week. I have my system down. It’s not the only system out there, it’s mine. You need to create your own. Hopefully this helps.
Briefcase or backpack. Pick the one you like, like the one you pick – it’s going everywhere with you! I have a shoulder bag style briefcase. It’s large enough to hold iPad, laptop, charging devices, any work I bring with ( folders, papers, binders, etc). I also put my 1 quart bag of liquids and or gels in that bag. There are still airports and security Check points that don’t have TSA pre-check. For this reason I keep my laptop and quart bag in the same part of my briefcase. It saves me time. I only have to unzip 1 compartment. I also usually carry a Kind bar in my bag. You never know what delays may happen. Being stuck on a runway for 75 minutes can be frustrating at times. Weather delays can get to you. Kind Bars make me happy. What ever is your snack of choice I suggest to keep that in your briefcase or backpack. I store this under the seat ahead of me. I want easy access as I will usually be trying to get some work done. This has the added benefit of buying back free time in my home life. Either way it must get done, why not get it done on a plane.
Roller Bag. You need one. One that fits in the overhead bin. It’s called a carry on. The nice thing is, most airlines allow 1 carry on and 1 personal item per passenger at no charge. Even if the carry on won’t fit because of a small regional plane, they will tag it for free. You will tire of paying $25 and up and waiting by baggage claim for your personals. Trust me on this.
What to pack. This is pretty basic, and will depend on your career. That being said here is what I make sure to include: Dress pants 2 pair – Change them each day and no one knows better. Dress shirts – I bring enough for all days minus one. When I travel back home typically on a Friday I wear jeans and a button down shirt that may be a little less formal. I prefer something that shows my personality. So clearly I pack jeans as well as a button down shirt of my choice. Also pack one suit coat. If the coat is a less expensive one and wrinkles easy, I would suggest wearing it both on the way out, as well as on the way back on the plane. It saves on creases and wrinkles. I also pack 1 tie, just in case. Pack my undergarments, toiletries,etc… Very important – if you work out remember those clothes and shoes. Also what ever you are most comfy in, your favorite outfit, I’d bring it. Sometimes that is the closest to home you get in 5 or more days. It’s good to have it with, good for your psyche.
Hopefully this helps. It’s sort of my basic guideline to successful stress free travels. If you have any things that work well for you that I have not included, I would love to hear about them.
Travel safe my friend.
Jason has been a great friend of mine for many years and has a keen focus when it comes to maximizing life. His job has sent him bouncing around the country and he understands that work and pleasure often blend. When he is not watching his kids play sports he is sending me tips on whiskey and tequila. I promise there will be plenty of cool stuff from this ninja.
Thanks Jason – great post!