I've been a remote worker for over 5 years. I've traveled back to the mother ship that entire time but in my recent job I travel about twice a month. In that time I think I have picked up a few good practices worth noting. Here we go.

Packing

You should balance out the weight and space something takes against the likely utility it will provide. There's the obvious things like a charger for your computer, tooth brush and so on but here are some things you might not think of.

What to have on your body at all times.

  • Band-aids
  • Tooth picks
  • Gum
  • Handful of cough drops
  • Handkerchief for runny nose, cough or Ebola outbreak

What to pack in your suit case besides the basics.

  • Plastic wear and chop sticks. The hotel can hook you up in a pinch but it's nice to have spare utensils just in case you need it.
  • Slippers, they take up little room and it's nice to not have to put on shoes to get morning coffee

Technology

I load up the iPhone with lots of podcasts. Traveling is a to catch up. I also recently got into Audible, great way to consume books while traveling.

Streaming services also let you load up your phone or tablet with content while you're on the go.

  • YouTube (Red)
  • Netflix
  • Amazon Prime

You have to get a spare battery, they're so cheap and sensible. I can only speak for the Mac Book Pro but if you forgot a phone charger you can turn on your Mac, get your phone charging, then close your laptop without unplugging the cable. Your phone should keep charging. Now you can stow the laptop in your bag and have your phone charged up for when you land.

On the road isn't the place to update the OS of your phone. I had an iOS upgrade go wonky that left me phoneless until I could figure it out. Luckily my iPad has a data plan and Uber works on an iPad.

I got an Apple Watch and it's most useful when traveling. It updates the time zone for you. I install the United on the watch and phone so I can just look at my wrist to remind me of gate information. It's also nice to just glance at the watch when you want to see who's calling or texting you.

AirPods are also nice to have. As you're flipping your tray table up and down, futzing with devices it's nice to not be tethered. The volume doesn't go very high and the batteries only last so long, for that reason I haven't completely ditched wired headphones.

Apps

Get the apps for your airline. They can be used as boarding passes, keep you updated on the status of your plane, let you adjust seats, notify you of upgrades. The app works on the wifi in the air too.

The app for your hotel will notify you when your room is ready and let you check out.

Get rideshare apps before you need them. Makes sense to setup both Lyft and Uber. The prices are close but sometimes in a surge event it's good to have options. Also the regional availability of Lyft and Uber is different. Some drivers seem to prefer Lyft so I default to that.

I also use a white noise app on my phone to help me sleep.

Flying

TSA Pre-Check is worth it. I resisted initially because of my Libertarian ways but there've been more than a handful of times where it straight up saved my bacon.

Figure out based on your travel what airline is going to suit your needs most of the time, sign up for their loyalty program and then exclusively fly with that airline. The perks and status are worth it.

In the question of wether to carry on or check baggage I'm in a weird situation in that all of my flights have a layover. I prefer to check my luggage.

Why carry on?

  • Flexibility in travel, you can actually change flights.
  • You don't have to wait for baggage claim at your destination.

Why check luggage?

  • You don't have to worry about having too many liquids.
  • You're not bothered with your luggage while at a layover.
  • If you have to gate check your luggage, you have to wait until that's ready during your layover. In a tight connection this can be a killer.

Turbulence bothers me. I used to listen to music, look at pictures of my family. Sometimes swaying back and forth would make the turbulence harder to notice. But what eventually solved it for me was playing Tetris on my iPhone. The plane can be very bumpy, people are gasping and I'm able to just focus on the game.

Considerations on where to sit

  • The closer you are to the front the quicker you'll get off the plane at your destination.
  • Exit rows are usually in upgraded roomier seating but if you have a window seat sometimes the doors are so bulky you don't have much room. I have broad shoulders so this is a factor for me.
  • In the front of first class or the main cabin you're against a wall and have to put your carry on in the overhead container and there's no pouch to put your things.

Hotel

Get 2 room keys. Sometimes they lose their mojo, nice to have a spare.

For me I never turn on the television, it just increases the odds that I'll watch stupid television and waste time. Also, use your imagination and think of what some idiot does with the remote.

I also pack some melatonin if I'm too amped to fall asleep and I really need some quality rest.

Eating

I eat kind of paleo, low-carb, intermittent fasting for the most part. I think that makes it easy to get through travel days. Sometimes you're in a tight spot, flights delayed, short change over, late arrival and you don't get time for a good meal. It's nice to roll thru without getting hangry.

If I'm really in a pinch I usually have a small bag of nuts or some beef jerkey.

Points

Alright, we're signed up for the frequent flyer program on the airline do the same thing for the hotel. A lot of times if you use their credit cards you can accrue more points. I do this for both the air and hotel.

Step back and think about it. Once you get over the novelty of traveling for business it kind of sucks. Why not take advantage of some perks for you and your family? We've used points and have enjoyed status perks while on family vacations quite a bit.