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 a password secured network, someone could easily capture your information as it travels through the air. In short, If you don’t own the network, you can’t trust it! Using a VPN (like ProXPN or TunnelBear) can help tremendously, and once connected make sure the sites you visit have the little HTTPS lock icon in the browser window.
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 piggyback on its mobile internet connection. Many carriers and phones allow this, but not all. Just be aware of how much data your plan allows as a computer can use a lot of data in one night of surfing! Also, if you’re in a foreign country it can also be worthwhile getting a local SIM card rather than pay expensive data roaming charges. It’s a good idea to check with your mobile provider before leaving to find out what charges and limits you will have when traveling.
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. Personally, I would not plug directly into an unknown USB port, you never know what kind of data may be traveling through that cable!
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.