If you are like us and travel often for business, you know that even short flights take up a lot of travel time. The time it takes to get to the airport, check your bag, get through security, and board your flight, really add up before you even account for the duration of time in the air. So when you have to take a long flight, from coast to coast or overseas, it can feel like an eternity of unproductive time. To help you make the most out of those long flights, here is how we manage to stay productive at 30,000 ft.
While most airlines do have plug-ins at your seat, do not rely on this convenience. Charge your laptop, tablet and cellphone the night before a long flight to make sure you don’t run out of battery mid-air. If you know that the battery life on any of your devices can drain quickly bring a back up energy source that you can plug into.
No Wifi? No Problem
Planes don’t always have wifi and if it does, it can be super spotty. Instead of allowing the lack of wifi to hinder your productivity, anticipate this occurrence and set yourself up to still be able to work. Gmail and Outlook are among numerous email providers that offer offline email tools that allow you to read, compose, star, label, and archive emails while you are not connected to the internet. Before boarding your next long flight, familiarize yourself with your emails offline capabilities to make the best of any situation.
Your carry-on bag shouldn’t be all the random stuff that didn’t fit in your checked luggage. Instead, it should be all the items you need for your flight, organized in such a way that you know where everything is. Organization of these items is key! Unless you’re living the life of luxury in first-class, you aren’t going to have tons of room to squirm around in your bag to find something once it’s under your seat. A great way to organize successfully is to separate items into smaller cosmetic bags.
Pack all of your professional items into one pouch: charger, battery pack, small notebook, pen, etc. Then all of your personal items into another pouch: chapstick, hand lotion/sanitizer, eye mask, comfy socks, toothbrush, and noise cancelling headphones. If you don’t already own noise cancelling headphones, go out and get yourself some before your next long flight–you can thank us later!
Airplane food is not famous for being delicious or particularly nutritious. Luckily you’re a big girl and know exactly what your body (and sweet tooth) is going to need to remain fueled and productive. When figuring out what foods to toss into your carry-on, remember the three S’s: sustenance, snacks, and sweets. You are going to need to bring a true source of sustenance with you such as a sandwich, wrap, or cold noodle salad. You’ll also need some snacks to munch on here and there, when you aren’t actually hungry but want something to eat, like trail mix or dried fruit. Satisfy that sweet tooth towards the end of the flight with a double chocolate chunk cookie or gummy bears.
While food is clearly a big priority, don’t forget about water! Flying dehydrates your body and you don’t want to have to count on flagging down the flight attendant every five minutes for a thimble of water at a time. Either pack a large empty reusable bottle to fill up at the airport before your flight or splurge on that $10 big bottle of Fiji at the airport. You’ll agree that it was worth every penny once you’re in the air.
Taking a 17-hour flight does not mean you are going to crush 17 hours of work. Plan out exactly what work you would like to accomplish and schedule that work along with eating, sleeping, and relaxing. Once you have completed your work lay back, enjoy a glass of vino and binge watch movies until you fall asleep–you deserve it!