Monday, March 21, 2011

Guest Post - 5 Strategies for Staying on Top of Schoolwork While Traveling by Ripley Daniels

Even students have to follow the basic rules of travel - travel light, and always be ready to leave in five minutes. How can you do that if you are working or studying? Here are five strategies that should help.

Scan chapters from heavy textbooks into electronic format to reduce your suitcase weight.
Likewise, scan papers that you will need. There is no faster way to end up with an overweight baggage fee than to fill up your bags with books and files. Even if you are not flying, it's still a nuisance to have to carry a lot of books around. If you know ahead of time which chapters you
will need to refer to , you can save them in pdf format on a laptop, iPad, or an ebook reader.
You may also want to save them in “cloud” format - using online storage that you can access
from any of the above devices, or from your phone. If you choose to save references that you
will need to the cloud, though, make sure that you also save them to a device that you will have
with you - just in case your Internet access becomes spotty while you are traveling.

Set up a travel email plan if you are planning to be gone for a long time or if you receive a
lot of junk email.

You won't want to waste Internet time (if you have to pay an hourly fee for access in a hotel, for example, or if you simply have limited time because you are waiting to get on a plane) on email that doesn't require your immediate attention. There are several ways to configure your email account for travel. First, don't rely on cloud computing for email access while you are traveling - even if you don't normally use an email program that resides on your computer. Use one that you can read and respond to email offline, downloading all your email and uploading all your replies at one time when you are able to connect to the Internet. Consider setting up a special email account that you will use for email while you are away. Then use email filters to forward the emails that you know you will want to receive. That way, when you configure your computer's resident email program to download email while you are traveling, you won't end up downloading the thousands of archived emails that you may have sitting in your Gmail account.

Add the "Read It Later" add-on to Mozilla Firefox (if you use Mozilla).
Read It Later is a bookmarking program specifically for storing the URLS of online articles that you know you want to read, but that you don't have time to read right now - a situation that you may run into frequently while traveling!

Use Adobe Acrobat Pro to download a website into pdf format and save it on your laptop or iPad, if needed.

Just go to the file menu, click "create pdf," and then choose "from website." In fact, if you have an ebook reader and are taking some time to load travel reference materials onto it, you may want to save several websites that you frequently refer to and then transfer them to your ebook

If you have an iPod or other MP3 player, consider using it as portable storage for your trip.
You can store computer files on your iPod, if you do not have enough space on your hard drive,
or if you will not be bringing a laptop or iPad along. In addition, if one of your courses is a
foreign language, you may want to make use of your iPod or MP3 player to help you practice
your language listening skills. It's hard to make up for time lost practicing your conversational
skills in a foreign language class, but listening to audio content (or even watching soap operas in
another language, if your MP3 player can play video) may help.

Evernote is a great resource to store your scanned book pages, clip web pages to read later, and to take notes and other resources with you electronically. And, it works on all platforms and can be a one stop repository for all of your materials. 

Ripley Daniels is an editor at Without The Stress

advisory firm located in Los Angeles


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