11 “Do’s” for Productive Business Airtravel

11 “Do’s” for Productive Business Airtravel

There are only 24 hours in a day, although you may often wish for more. For business executives 8-10 (or 12-15) hours are spent of each weekday working in or on your business. Even though you have probably learned how to effectively manage your day (if you haven’t check out our post on the Top Productivity Extensions for Busy Executives), do you have a game plan to maintain productivity during your business travel? Some perks of travel are that you get out of the office, meet clients face-to-face or get better acquainted with industry peers.

However, for some busy executives, one of the biggest deterrents to business travel is the productivity that is lost in transit. Does a “travel day” for work automatically equate to the dreaded “lost workday”? Luckily it doesn’t have to.

Implement our 11 “Do’s” for Productive Airtravel strategies to help you to stay on top of work, stay sane and maybe even close more deals.

You just might look forward to business trips by the end of this article.

1. Make a (Realistic) To-Do List

Make a list of the things that you would like to get done during your travel day (make it realistic — so probably not your year-end performance evaluations for your entire team). Put these tasks in one of two columns: pre-flight and in-flight. Your pre-flight tasks should be less focus-driven and instead be tasks that could be completed even with constant interruption (as you are listening for any changes to your flight). The tasks for in-flight should be work that requires full attention and that you can manage to spend a couple of uninterrupted hours completing.

2. Bring Your Gear

Make sure you have your laptop, tablet, work computer and any other device needed to work with you in your carry-on luggage. Also, be sure to download all necessary documents, files, or apps. Did you know, you can work in your Google suite apps in offline mode with a few clicks of the mouse? Download the documents and apps at home or at work where you have a reliable internet connection. Then pull them up and begin working.

Hot tip: Don’t wait until you arrive at the airport. You might find it difficult to download or gain access to your files due to airport wireless service speed and strength which vary widely from airport to airport.

3. Prepare for No Wifi

As previously mentioned, depending on the airport, wireless service (paid or free) is usually unreliable, not to mention there are security risks. You may be exposing your computer and company’s information to a possible security breach. Prepare to be disconnected while you travel.
If you know you will need to be able to check emails or other connected activities make sure to have hotspot capable devices ready for a fast and secure internet connection.

Hot tip: With today’s smartphones, many allow you the ability to become a wireless hotspot using your cellular plan.

4. Prepare for No Available Electrical Outlets

Another issue that varies greatly across airports is the availability of electrical outlets. Some airports have convenient charging stations and outlets at the departure gate seats. Other airports will have you huddled around a single outlet (in an obscure location, far away from your gate) waiting to take turns with other passengers. Come to the airport prepared with extra battery packs and rechargeable cases for your devices.

5. Utilize Airport Lounge Access

Many credit cards provide airport lounge access free of charge or at a vastly reduced fee. Airport lounges give you space and the necessary amenities to get work done: electrical outlets, comfy chairs, snacks, and may even provide some networking with other business travelers.

6. Beware of Noise
Some people can naturally tune out what goes on around them, but many will get distracted by speaker announcements, neighbors talking loudly or other environmental noises. Regardless of whether you are working at the gate or in a lounge, investing in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones will help you focus on work and may help you to take a nap on the plane.Hot tip: Check out some of these ambient noise apps that help to create just the right mood music for you to get work done: Noisli, A Soft Murmur, and Rainy Mood.

7. Set Alarms (Pace yourself)

Waiting for your flight is an excellent time to practice the Pomodoro method of productivity. Having an alarm set to alert you every 25 minutes is an excellent way to complete tasks without missing any flight changes or missing your flight completely. Also, we recommend setting an alarm for 30 minutes before boarding, especially if you are not sitting at the gate. This gives you time to pack up your mini office, get back to your gate, and inquire about any changes.

8. Get to Inbox 0

Pre-flight is a great time to start or maintain your Inbox zero strategy. While you should have set up your inbox to provide an automatic ‘I’m out of the office’ message, waiting for your plane provides the perfect opportunity to read through, unsubscribe or remove older marketing emails to get to Inbox 0. Check out our tips and tricks to obtaining Inbox 0 here.

9. Catch up on Podcasts & TED talks

Use your time at the airport to catch up on all of the long articles that you have bookmarked, the podcasts or audiobooks you’ve been meaning to get to and the TED talks that have gone viral. This is a great time to spend a couple of hours informing yourself while you wait. You’ll rarely get the opportunity to justify using work hours to listen to podcasts. Take it and enjoy it!

10. Make Phone Calls

Using your pre-flight time to make the calls you won’t be able to make in-flight is a good use of your time as well. You can schedule phone conference meetings, using great apps like UberConference before your flight. Obviously, the airport is not the quietest place, so limit yourself to making quick-check in calls if the noise of the airport is an issue.

11. De-Stress

Perhaps the best thing for you do is to use your pre-flight time to de-stress! Reducing your stress before or during a business trip can help you possibly become more effective.
You can download the headspace app and start your meditation journey. Or if you’re feeling playful, maybe bring an adult coloring book and some crayons or colored pencils. Spend your wait time getting in touch with things unrelated to work. You can also use the time for self-care and a little pampering by visiting the airport spa (probably not a business expense, but totally worth it).


Productivity does not have to be lost while in transit to a business meeting, or event. Try these 11 tips during your next business trip and amaze yourself (and your team) at how productive and sane you remain!

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Christine J.

Christine Job is an American business development consultant specializing in solopreneurs and micro businesses. She predominantly works with Creatives and wellness professionals. Christine currently resides in Barcelona, Spain.

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Kristy Bauman

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