You’re a busy person. You have places to go and people to see. This means you’ll spend a lot of time getting to those places. That sounds great on the surface. Most people enjoy travel – and getting paid to travel is amazing. But a challenge to overcome is that travel days can be extremely unproductive.

The act of traveling is one of those things that can be frustrating. It’s frustrating because, sure, you’re technically doing something but it’s not advancing your life. Kind of like doing laundry or eating. Those are just things you must to do in order to keep moving forward. The objective of this article though is to show you how you can actually do something concrete while traveling. Let’s get going.

Get into a Lounge

When traveling by air, airport terminals can be a thorn in your side. Productivity slides when you’re surrounded by an excess of screaming babies and a shortfall of plugins. This mini-crisis can be averted by finding a way to get into the first-class lounge. There are several ways of doing this. Some for free.

Your first option works well if you’re young. Simply meet someone who’s going into the lounge. Most airlines allow each member to bring in two guests. Pretty sweet.

Another option is to get a credit card that allows for lounge access of certain airlines. Many credit cards offer this a perk. Though you need to travel quite a lot to ‘pay for’ this perk. That’s because these credit cards all have hefty annual fees – usually in the neighborhood of $400-$500. Though when you consider you get a quiet place to work, free food, fast and free Wi-Fi, showers, etc. it may be worth it if you travel even just a few times per year.

The final option of course is to buy the proper ticket. This option is definitely the easiest but also the costliest. Also consider that flying anything but economy class means you’ll probably (definitely?) be able to get more work done. So this all is really a question of how much you value your time. You can afford anything if you offer enough to the world so that your time becomes immensely valuable.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Airplanes are loud. Riding in some cars is even a fairly noisy experience. Also, sometimes people like to bother you when you’re working. As you’ve probably noticed – there are plenty of people in this world who don’t realize someone is working and they go on to waste your time. That can be frustrating. Noise-cancelling headphones buy time and they also buy energy. Try this. Get on a plane and don’t wear headphones. See how you feel when you land. On the return flight, wear your headphones. See how you feel when you land. There will be a huge difference! You’ll feel far less tired when you wear the headphones. The difference is astonishing.

Plan Offline Tasks

Sometimes you won’t get good internet while traveling. Sometimes you may not be able to get any internet. Sometimes you can have internet but you really don’t feel like spending $20. The trick to still getting work done in a no internet situation is planning. Plan enough work for your travel day that can be done online. These are things like writing (I’m traveling in a car right now), working with any software that doesn’t require connectivity looking through records before you invoice and more.

Travel Days Don’t Have to Be Unproductive

Without effort, travel days are near throwaway days. And even if you plan very, very well, they are unlikely to be as productive as days in the office/studio. But you can still get ample work done. I do. What will you get done next time you travel?

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William Lipovsky owns the personal finance website First Quarter Finance. His most embarrassing moment was telling a Microsoft executive, "I'll just Google it."

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