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Top Tech Tips for the Small-Business Road Warrior

The small-business road warrior stays productive in and out of the office. Learn the tricks veteran business travelers use to travel light without sacrificing work cycles. Follow these tips and you’ll be a road warrior in no time.

Many small-business owners find themselves working from airport departure lobbies as often as they work at the home office. If this describes you, or if you’re gearing up for a one-time business trip, our experts can help you travel like a true small-business road warrior.

Laptop, Notebook, or Tablet?

Gone are the days when road warriors lugged 17-inch laptops through airport security checkpoints. Replace that 6-lb. monster with a smaller notebook that only weighs 4 lbs. and fits easily on an airplane food tray (ultrabooks are a good start).

You can lighten the load even further by switching to a 1.5-lb. tablet that also doubles as an ereader, removing the need to travel with both a laptop and Kindle. A tablet’s recharging cord has the extra benefit of being lighter and easier to pack than a notebook power cord.

Doodads and Gadgets

Any road warrior worth the name has a list of gadgets to increase business productivity. Multipurpose gadgets such as pocket projectors that double as camcorders and digital cameras are special favorites, as such devices cut down on packing. Other popular choices include:

  • Business-card readers
  • Combination wall socket/car charger to keep devices powered
  • Mini power strips to maximize hotel wall sockets
  • Portable wireless speakers for presentations
  • Retractable USB cables, for easy packing

Bagging it All Up

A skilled road warrior doesn’t skimp on a travel bag. The right bag is made of durable, lightweight material and contains plenty of pockets and dividers for easy organization.

Shop for a travel bag with Transport Security Administration guidelines in mind. You’ll want a bag that is “checkpoint permissible,” or your entire road warrior kit could wind up travelling in the cargo hold.

If a bag’s shoulder strap makes carrying it uncomfortable, you can buy ergonomic replacement shoulder straps online. Travel produces enough stress without adding a sore shoulder to the equation.

Power cords and device chargers can get overlooked in the flurry of packing that precedes a business trip. To prevent this, buy a second set of chargers that lives in your travel bag. That way, they’re all packed and ready for you.

Road Trip Survival Tips

Before you depart, make sure you charge every device you take with you so you can get the maximum use out of your electronics. Some road warriors keep packing and pre-travel checklists on their smartphones for easy access.

Prepacking duplicate chargers has already been mentioned. If you travel regularly, consider prepacking other essentials; toiletries, underwear, socks, and stationery can all be packed in advance.

Business travel often means transporting sensitive corporate information. Instead of transporting such information on easily stolen notebooks, phones, or USB flash drives, you can store files in the cloud through services such as Dropbox—thus keeping transported data to a minimum.

Finally, consider purchasing a prepaid phone card for landline use. Hotels charge exorbitant rates for phone use; you can’t always rely on cell phone service and cellphones are a popular target for thieves. A prepaid card saves you money if you ever have to contact the home office in an emergency.

Follow these tips before you head out to the open road, and you’ll be able to conduct business from anywhere.

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