When it comes to travelling abroad for work, most of us find that the sheen associated with the ‘glitz and glamour’ of world travel, quickly rubs off. Rather than your business meetings seeming like a except from a George Clooney movie where you saunter between plush business class lounges, they tend to materialize into something more reminiscent of a Steve Martin film in which you are hurtling through the airport, throwing your baggage onto a moving conveyor belt, and running towards your departure gate while knocking your fellow travellers over like skittles.
Avoiding stress while travelling for business isn’t an impossibility though. A little planning can make your trip a much more serene experience, leaving you free to concentrate on the more important aspects of your trip, such as the business meeting itself. So what should be on your checklist, before you set off across the globe? Well, everybody's needs are different, but a few things can be sorted out in advance that will give you a little peace of mind for the journey ahead.
It is an unfortunate reality these days, that the need for battery power is fast becoming a hugely important one. From our laptop to our phones, tablets to smart watches, it seems that we can’t leave the house these days without checking to see whether we have enough juice to power our devices for the rest of the day. For those of us who are regularly running out of power on our travels, we have two options. Either find a power outlet wherever we happen to be, or secondly and more conveniently, use a portable power pack.
Portable battery packs come in all shapes and sizes, with small ‘lipstick chargers’ that will double the battery life of your phone, to ‘power banks’ that will charge your ipad four times over, there are portable chargers out there that can placate your need for ‘juice’. Travelling by air can cause some issues with the larger batteries (as many airlines now how limits on how powerful these batteries can be), so it is always worth checking the limits with your airline. It is also worth checking whether your devices and batteries are allowed in ‘checked baggage’ at all (as many only allow them in the ‘carry-on’ hand luggage’ now), but in general, most sensibly sized power banks are fine (anything under 100 watt hours per battery).
Breaking down the barriers
So, you have plenty of power, but something that you weren’t banking on were firewalls preventing you from accessing sites that you can at home. If you find yourself in this position, a VPN can help. VPNs, (or Virtual Private Networks) route your data through servers that reside outside of your current local restrictions, and as such, allow you access to services and sites that you otherwise wouldn’t be privy to. If you are travelling abroad for business, and would find that having your internet access restricted would be more than a little inconvenient, it may be worth visiting a VPN guide by the likes of Xfinity, before you leave. With so many different VPN options out there, you are sure to find one that suits your needs once you start comparing a few.
When touching down at our destination, most business travellers will be looking to get internet access as quickly as possible. While this is now a much simpler experience than it used to be (with, for example, many EU mobile networks allowing for basic ‘roaming’ within Europe at no extra cost), those of us without tethering capabilities may have trouble working efficiently away from an internet connection. If you fall into that category, and you travel regularly for business, it may be worth looking into one of the many new mobile hotspots that have appeared on the market.
These ‘MiFi’s’ come in two main flavours. One that simply requires you to buy a SIM card in the country of your destination, and the other is a device that can ‘piggyback’ on the best local network depending on which country you happen to be in. While the second option is obviously the most hassle-free, you may find this option a little more expensive than the first. So before deciding on which option to go for, weigh-up whether the inconvenience of doing a little research before you trip is enough to make you want to pay a little extra, and not have to worry about it. Whichever option you go for, as long as you can get a mobile signal, you will be able to work away till your heart's content (at at least, until your data allowance runs out).
So before your next business trip, take a little time to prepare for every eventuality. Once the basics are covered, you leave yourself in a much stronger position, and with much less to worry about. If you arrive at your destination with data, secure access to your work files, and plenty of battery power, then the only thing left to worry about is the meeting itself. Which is, to be perfectly honest, the way it should be.