Readers’ Travel Tips

I was thrilled when I got approval to extend my vacation overseas. I diligently checked with my AirBnB that I would have a stable Internet connection that could handle downloading images and Skype calls. I brought my laptop and confirmed the night before that everything would connect properly. But I didn’t take into account how much faster I worked at my regular desk – with its second monitor and wireless keyboard and mouse. Now I give myself extra time and always bring at least a spare mouse!

—Ellen Keeble, Editors Toronto


Plan ahead: know your deadlines. Pick travel dates that don’t impact your weekly duties, if you have them. Find out when you will be unable to access the internet so you don’t get caught unprepared. Be aware of your time zone so you maintain your professionalism. Don’t work on heavy travel days – you won’t focus well. And, finally, choose mobile resources such as thumb drives, notebooks and online subscriptions that you can access from anywhere. I travel a lot, but have found those tactics keep me sane and productive.

—Maylon Gardner, Editors British Columbia


Bring two USB chargers and two long (at least 2m) USB cords for your phone/tablet. Great to have backup if a cord fails, or you need to charge several gizmos at once. It’s also good to bring one of those multi-adapter cords that can connect to various tablet and phone connectors. I keep a three-prong to two-prong adapter in my laptop bag, just in case. And I carry a small LED flashlight when travelling. I keep it next to my pillow or on the bedside table. I hate waking up in the middle of the night and trying to remember where I am, where the nearest lamp or switch is, or where the bathroom is.

—Paul Cipywnyk, Editors British Columbia


Search the airport for power plugs so you can start your flight with a full battery. (Every airport must have some plugs somewhere!) But also carry a printout of a file that you can mark up manually when your battery gives out. Long flights when you cannot sleep are wonderful opportunities for doing basic mechanical cleanup of manuscripts and sorting out of computer files. A touch-sensitive screen is really helpful when working in cramped quarters on a plane. I have often had to work for long hours in colleges and hotels where the tables or chairs were the wrong height for me, so I carry a small foldable stand that I can prop the laptop up on so it is almost at eye height, and then I plug in the portable keyboard and rest that on a cushion on my lap.

—Isobel Stevenson, Editors Toronto


Travelling presents two risks related to a stolen computer: loss of data and unauthorized access to client info. I counter this with a travelling laptop: cheaper than my main computer but with same software and encrypted hard drive. I transfer my data to the travelling laptop before I leave and back to my main computer when I get home. Encryption comes free on Windows 10 Pro: Bitlocker requires a password to start the computer and protects USB memories. Even if I lose my computer on the road, I have a recent copy of my data and a computer to run it on, and sleep well knowing my client’s documents are safe.

—Tim Green, Editors British Columbia


I use a travel laptop that is not used as my home office computer. On it I have only the files in current use. If I were to lose it or if it were stolen, it would be an inconvenience but not a catastrophe. A remote desktop software (I have used GoToMyPC) allowed me to access my home computer when I’m on the road. I used it many times to grab a file I’d forgotten to put on my laptop for a current job or to look up some work when an old client contacted me about something when I was away. My laptop case is a beautiful, roomy, dark red leather bag, not the ubiquitous black case. My bag is not going to be accidentally switched with someone else’s, and it looks handsomely professional when I attend client meetings.

—Heather Ebbs, Editors Ottawa


What are your best travel tips? Share them in the comments!


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