Last Monday morning, my nineteen year old son Adam and I departed home for an epic summer road trip. To date, we've put 3,500+ miles on our Mini Cooper. And we're only one week into a planned five week excursion. Much of the trip will be extended stays in a few places, but last week was almost completely spent on the road.
Somewhere around the middle of Nebraska, I was pondering what a blessing it was to have this amazing time with my son. But I'll be fully honest: it's also wreaked a bit of havoc on my work life. After spending nine plus hours each day behind the wheel, I wasn't in great shape to spend my usual amount of time working each night. Today, now that we're settled for a week, I am playing catch up.
I've learned a few lessons that I thought I'd share to help you next time you embark on a road trip:
1. Set your expectations properly.
Anticipate that you will accomplish much less than you typically do in a normal working day. This is called vacation for a reason. Inform your co-workers and colleagues that your response time will be slower than usual. If you plan for a full time off, set your email autoresponder and enlist help to make sure you get the rest you need. If you plan to work en route, lessen your normal load.
2. Choose your accommodations wisely.
While they may be less fancy, moderately priced hotels are often a boost to your productivity level. Look for hotels that offer free wifi, printers, and conference rooms in case you need to take a call while on the road.
3. Pack your bags carefully.
Plan to carry a "work bag" that contains all of the items you need -- chargers, a power strip with long cord, books and other project materials. Keep this bag light and handy so that you can quickly access it at rest stops as needed.
Seriously - one of the best things about being on the open road is that your mind if free to dream, to imagine and to create. Have your road trip companions help you take notes of thoughts that come to mind along the way. You may be amazed at the new ideas that will pop into your head on long stretches of highway.
Your turn: How do you plan for a vacation?