At one point not long ago travel time was considered dead time to the businessperson. Dead time while waiting on flights, on the plane and, worse, dead time in the hotel was, in general, considered to be wasted time. That’s not so today.
With the advent of WIFI in airports and hotels, travel time does not need to be a waste. We no longer even consider packing the laptop into the luggage. Rather, we carry it on the plane with us and use it during travel.
Most airports have now added the ability to hook into their broadband networks with an Ethernet cord. Better still, you can just boot up with a wireless card and you’re good to go. For a list of airports in the United States and Europe that offer free Internet hotspots.
This also goes for hotels and motels. Just boot up your computer and you’re back in the office. Some hotels offer high-speed Internet at an additional cost. But it’s usually packaged with long distance service or unlimited calling. Others offer the Internet connection free. Usually, all you need to do is supply your name and, in some cases, a room number, to connect. Other hotels may offer wireless service only in rooms within range of its network.
Even laptops not equipped with wireless cards can access the wireless Internet service at some hotels because guests can check out equipment at the desk. For wired connections, a cable may be supplied in the room. If you feel limited, as a lot of us do when tied to the wall with the Ethernet cable, consider adding a compact router to your briefcase. Several are now available for under $100 and their range is actually comparable to the full size router.
OK, so now you know how easy it is to connect. But what about the equipment? For seamless travel, most of us know that a laptop and a cell phone are essential lifelines for the business traveler, but what other technology and new equipment is available to the travelling businessperson?
Packing all of the pieces and toting them can be a hassle, to be sure. The luggage industry has finally realized this and has risen to the occasion. Today, more than ever, we are seeing compact bags that will pack the multitude of cords, wires and chargers needed for business travel.
It seems that the old heavy bags are a thing of the past and travelers now rely more on the backpack style to travel. They pack equipment that weighs several times more than their body size. The only real care to take is to make sure that the wireless card is safely stored in a pocket of the backpack - not in the computer, And for sanity’s sake, a lesson learned the hard way, pack an extra.
Whether you opt for the briefcase version or the easier-to-tote backpack, style and room is not going to be sacrificed. Both the traditional briefcase and the backpack are now roomier and well padded for the office essentials. Both styles come with and without wheels. The choice is the travelers, and there is a multitude of ways to go.
When it comes to business travel, pack the right tools and you won’t even know that you are out of the office. Advances in technology have made business travel easier than ever.