Savvy travelers scour the web for tips and coupons and free access points no matter the location. While working on the run can seem romantic, it can also be difficult, as spotty wifi, overage charges on your mobile plan, and the inability to pop onto a conference meeting for three hours in an urban city makes the reality a bit less polished.
The basic tips are the good ones:
1) When flying, if you can purchase wifi, do so before leaving the airport. It's generally half the cost of buying while on the flight.
2) If you have your email pre-loaded, consider not connecting to WiFi. Download your presentations onto the laptop and open your browser tabs before you board. When working on email, try to clear you inbox. Working through your backlog let's you focus on the email without being in a reactive mode.
3) If you're using your phone or tablet on the plane, don't forget that you can charge mobile devices from your laptop, which usually has a much longer battery (this also saves you time and let's you pick a better seat at the cafe rather than the one against the wall with the small table.
4) If you need to work, do it early. Jim was in New York yesterday, with a 2 hour break between meetings. With a laptop in his bag, he started walking to his next meeting and ducked into a hotel bar with free wifi and half-priced drinks. Granted the margaritas were a little pricey, but two hours of work later meant he wasn't working at 10:00 p.m. when he got back to the hotel.
5) Turn your phone off during international trips. Turn off the cellular plan, put it in airplane mode, and set your email to fetch instead of push. When convenient, connect to Wifi and fetch your email.
6) If you need to make a call, use Skype or Google Voice to make the call from wifi. The cost is much lower, and it beats purchasing an international plan.
One last thing to remember is that pre-planning your work is a great way to remain productive. If you know what you need to do, you can schedule actual work time that doesn't start with checking your email and end with 10 minutes of real work over two hours.
(written and published over the friendly skies)