Productivity lessons I learned while on vacation: lesson #2

laptop on a beachLesson #2: You still need an Internet connection while on vacation

As a service-based independent professional, it’s important that I stay connected to my clients and my work, even while I’m on vacation. While this sounds like a sad state of affairs, it really isn’t. It just means checking and responding to email on a regular basis.

Typically, I travel with my laptop and my smartphone. This is really all I need to accomplish my work. My clients need never know I’m actually lounging on a beach looking out at the water rather than sitting in my office working.

But on the road to that beach there’s inevitably a bump. How do I connect my laptop to the Internet while I’m away from the office?

On my current vacation, each of us at the cottage used 3 different ways:

Me. I use my smartphone as a modem. This means I connect my phone to my laptop through Bluetooth or by USB and my laptop runs off my smarphone’s cellular signal. This is sometimes referred to as “tethering” your laptop to your phone. It works like a dream and has never failed me, which is why this is my preferred method of connection. An added benefit I can also tether my devices while I’m the passenger in our car as we make the 3 hour drive between the cottage and home. (Caution: Make sure the data package on your smartphone can handle the added usage. You don’t want to incur additional charges.)

Kathryn. This is my sister who lives in the United States. She likes things for free. If she were to use her smartphone for her Internet connection as I do, she’d rack up substantial data roaming charges. Not ideal. So she takes advantage of free WiFi hotspots. These gems are everywhere … in libraries, coffee shops, restaurants and hotels. Most airports also provide free WiFi access at the gate. While this means she has to make the occasional trip into town to find a hotspot, it’s worth it.

Chris. He’s my brother-in-law and a busy lawyer who travels on a regular basis. He uses a WiFi USB stick. These are typically devices that plug in to your laptop through a USB port connecting your laptop to the Internet. There is a cost associated with using these devices, but if you’re like Chris and you travel on a regular basis, it may be worth considering.

So before you head out on your next vacation or business trip, make sure you have a method that enables you to stay connected.

How do you connect to the Internet while you’re on vacation? Post your comments below and join the conversation or share this post with a friend (especially if they’re on vacation).

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