Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to Efficiently Combine Coursework and Travel

by Julie Allen
Not enough time to get all your assignments done before a trip?  How do you decide what to take?  Your assignments are due whether a trip is planned or unplanned.  Your goal is to complete your tasks on time.  Here are ten easy steps to help you efficiently combine coursework and travel.

Materials Needed
  • Planner, electronic or paper and pencil
  • Course Syllabi and Outlines
  • Course Materials and Books
  • Laptop Computer (optional, but recommended)
  • Flash Drive
  • Book and Travel Bags
Create a coursework calendar at the beginning of each semester.
Place all assignment and test deadlines on a calendar.  Assign due dates that are a day or two before the actual deadline.

2    Add travel dates to your coursework calendar.
Keep all information in one place to see possible conflicts and to stay organized.

Determine if your mode of transportation has any baggage restrictions.
Are you traveling by plane, train, bus or car? If traveling by car, are you driving alone or with others? Does your travel provider limit the quantity, weight or size of baggage?
Do not plan on putting your books or other course materials in checked bags. If they get lost, you will not be able to complete your work. Plus, they add weight and take up space in your bags that could be better used for clothes or souvenirs.

Research the availability of electronic services at your accommodations.
Are you staying at a hotel or a campground or with friends and family? Will you have Internet access? Is it free? Will you have computer access? Is there a business center? If you are traveling abroad, will you need a power adapter?
If you have a laptop, it is best to plan on taking it because you will have access to all your files and programs.

Consider your course materials needed to complete each assignment.
Do you need the course book(s), printed materials or electronic files?

Make your decision on what has to go with you.  
If you have a big, heavy course book or the assignment requires a lot of online work, plan to use the time before the trip to complete those tasks. Whenever possible, take tests before leaving on your trip.
The best travel assignments are completed with the self-contained use of your computer (Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, writing assignments) or by reading from light-weight books.

  Create a packing list.
Make sure to copy all electronic files that you may need onto your laptop for easy access. Don’t forget a flash drive for backing up your assignments in case of an emergency.

8   Pack the night before your trip.
Use your packing list so that nothing gets left behind. Check it twice!

Utilize travel time wisely.Work on tasks while traveling, if you are not the driver, and during layovers. Plug in your computer whenever power is available.

10 Enjoy your trip and finish your coursework.
Let other people know that you have assignments to complete and plan your study times around activities. Read chapters or complete Excel spreadsheets by the pool. Get a tan and an “A”.

It is possible to complete assignments while on a trip and still enjoy yourself. However, it requires planning. The decision for which assignments to take is based on deadlines, mode of transportation, available electronic services and required materials. By considering the decision in a systematic approach, you create a plan to accomplish your tasks which can reduce stress. Less stress leaves more time for enjoyment and relaxation.

Happy travels!


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