The Productive Business Traveler

By following this advice, you'll create a mobile office that maximizes your productivity.

Staying productive on the road is a matter of making the most ofyour downtime - in transit, waiting in the airport lounge, sittingin your hotel room, or driving to a meeting. By using the toolsthat are available today you can get as much as possible done onthe road and minimize catch up when you get back to your smallbusiness office.

Use the tips below to help you create an efficient mobile officethat maximizes your productivity:

Get a wiredroom
Many hotel chains offer rooms with special features that cater tobusiness traveler needs. These can include in-room data ports andInternet access; personalized voice mail; free phone access forlocal or credit card calls; and same-floor office equipment (suchas copiers, fax machines, and laser printers). You may have to paya $10 or $20 per night premium for these features, but you can morethan make up for the extra charges in additional productivity.

Locate a plug
Smart business travelers know that they only have a set number ofhours available on their laptop computers before the battery runsdown. To make the most out of your laptop, be sure you have a fullycharged battery pack with you. Plug in your computer when a socketis available. In airport waiting areas, check for an electricaloutlet in the wall space under the windows overlooking the tarmacor near support beams. For short trips, consider going by railinstead of air. In the Northeast, the Amtrak's Acela Expresstrain features Business Class seating that gives you an electricaloutlet at your seat, adjustable lighting, and a tray table largeenough for a laptop.

Don't lose your phonepower
Taking a cell phone with you on your business trip can make it easyfor you to call back to the office, reach a need client, orotherwise stay productive. But your phone can't do you any goodif it runs out of juice. Be sure to pack your phone's powercord so you can recharge it in your hotel room or from the airportlounge. In addition, pack a vehicle power charger that lets youpower your phone from your rental car's lighter socket.

Take advantage of airlineclubs
Airline clubs can provide you with a comfortable place to work andeasy access to data ports, fax machines, copiers, and otherequipment. Plug in your laptop and set up an "office" tocheck your email, get voicemail, or return important calls.Consider scheduling phone meetings during the hour or two beforeyour flight so you can manage them from the lounge and maximizeyour productivity.

Be prepared
Create a technology survival kit that can help ensure that yourcomputer, phone, and other mobile equipment remains vital whileyou're traveling. Be sure to include: power cords; adapters tolet you connect your computer to the Internet and/or to printersand other peripherals; extra batteries for your PDA; a spare diskcontaining key files you'll need on your trip; and anotherextra disk to back up files created on the road.

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