Productivity Travel Tips

When traveling for pleasure or work, many of us have to stay productive while on the move. Unfortunately just because you are enjoying time away doesn’t mean all the other responsibilities go away, too. Whether it be applying for grad school or meeting a deadline on a freelance gig — here are some pointers on how to stay productive while traveling.



In order to be productive, quiet-time is crucial. It has been suggested that workplaces should have “quiet-time” measures. There’s even an entire TED talk by Jason Fried about the connection between silence and productivity and why our offices typically stifle efficiency. Hint: it’s because of the countless interruptions throughout the day. Sure, there are times that talking and communicating are necessary. But when it comes to pumping out ideas and finishing projects– silence is key.

This same concept should be applied to your mobile office. If you’re traveling in a group, take a few hours in the day to get away. Skip the walking tour. Don’t visit that one history museum.

Heck, even go the extra mile and splurge on a nice, business-friendly hotel for a night alone. Make sure the hotel has free Wi-Fi, a desk in the room, complimentary print services and whatever else necessary. Now there is no reason to find a coffee shop: simply shack up in the hotel room and cross items off the to-do list.


Bring a laptop

Do not rely on Internet cafes or free computers at a hotel/hostel. I repeat: do not rely on any computer availability other than your own.

It is a blunder I have made. When trying to pack light I went for the extra pair of shoes rather than my netbook. Big mistake. At hostels it can be a fight to get on the complimentary lobby computers. Other people may stay on for hours. Keyboards stick. There could be a sudden crash.

Sure, there are computer cafes; but not everywhere.

If under any sort of work constraints, not bringing your own laptop is not worth it. Rely on yourself only.


Use down time wisely

At the airport. On the airplane. Waiting for the late tour bus to arrive at the hotel. Even at breakfast.

It’s obvious, I know. But this means always having work-ready materials on hand. Such as a notebook kept in your handbag or back pocket to jot down ideas. Or a paper copy of a press release scheduled to send out in a few days.

Remember, every little bit counts.


Sleep. Sleep. Sleep.

I don’t need to cite all the studies that discuss concentration levels declining with a lack of sleep, do I? Time and time again research points to the tremendous value of sleep. According to HBR, sleep is actually more important than food.

And yes another TED talk by Arianna Huffington who tells why sleep is the key to more productivity. As she suggested to all the women in the audience: “Literally, sleep your way to the top.” That is– get enough sleep to move up the career ladder.

Cartoon showing the correlation between napping and productivity.

Again, same rule should be applied when you travel. Take catnaps like the cartoon demonstrates.

If happening to travel to a location where there will be jet lag, Fodor’s offers helpful tips on how to cope.



Yes, I see that this completely contradicts my last point. But let’s face it, especially if jet lag is part of the equation, you will get exhausted. There will be times of complete wear down. Caffeine is necessary to get the gears greased.

Regardless of en route or not, some stimulation is always helpful.


Happy travels. And stay productive!