Planes, Trains and Automobiles, The Life of a Trainer on the Road

Julia Doherty of Green Umbrella talks planes, trains and automobiles

In the last few years, I have travelled all over the UK and seen the inside of many different hotels, airports and train stations. Most people who travel for business will tell you that it is not as glamorous as you may think. However, I still get a thrill when I drive down the M1 and watch the air planes fly over me thinking “that will be me soon!”

But what is it that makes any journey enjoyable for me? The answer is simple, technology and gadgets! Listed below are my essentials and secret tips that make my life so much easier and enjoyable when I am on the road.


Parking – When travelling by plane, I use a service called Airparks. Airparks is so easy to use, and it is also cheaper than staying at the airport car parks. On a recent trip to Munich, I upgraded the package. Airparks returned my car to me at the airport (so no looking for the bus to get to the car park) and it was also fully valeted!

Boarding passes – if you are still printing out your boarding passes, then I urge you to take a leap of faith and download your pass to your phone on the assigned app. I have used this service with most of the airline apps, and it saves so much time. For those of you with an iPhone, ALWAYS add your boarding passes to your “wallet” as this makes life so much easier. No longer do you need to put your passcode into your phone to access your boarding pass.

Airport lounges – I only discovered the benefits of airport lounges earlier in the year. I was amazed how much work I completed. I also had a sneaky nap in the snooze pods! (It just had to be done).

Electrical plug adapters – I have one universal plug that has four USB ports. I never leave home without it!

Pick the “right” security line – now this may sound a little strange, but the shortest line is not always the right line. There are always two things that I look out for before choosing which security line to hop into:
A) Who is in the line? If you have families, or people who look like they do not travel very often then avoid these like the plague.
B) Look at the person manning the line. If they look friendly and are waving people through or organizing the bins themselves to help the line go faster, then I always choose this line.

If you travel often, then you may find this video rather amusing.

Be organized for the flight – I have an “airport bag” in the top of my carry-on bag. In here I have my wallet, my Kindle, earphones, phone and my MacBook. Anything that I will need for the flight is in this bag, which means I do not need to keep getting up and annoying the person next to me.


Purchase tickets in advance using the app – I use the trainline app to purchase all tickets. I particularly like this app as they have mobile tickets, and they will also PDF your invoice to your accounts department (which is handy).

Upgrade if possible – whenever possible I will travel by first class. On more than one occasion it has been cheaper to travel by first class than it has on economy, so now I always check!

Tube – one of the best apps that I use when I travel to London is the TubeMap Pro. With this app, you can plug in your route, and it will supply you with the fastest route, which includes live information.


SatNav – I travel everywhere with my beloved Waze app. Even my husband who is a Tom Tom man has now swapped to using Waze for travelling. Waze is owned by Google and is a free application for your mobile. You will need to keep your mobile on charge whilst driving, but the accuracy and live information is simply the best on the market at the moment. The bonus is that it also works when you do not have access to 3G, 4G, or the internet.
Waze also syncronises with your calendar within your phone. So it will automatically plan your drive for you and let you know what is the best time to leave. No longer do I need to look for the postcode of the hotel that I am presenting at, it is already in Waze.

Audiobooks – I read constantly, and I find that the easiest way to digest books is by downloading audio books and listening to them in the car. After an experience with consuming “War Horse” in the car and then turning up to deliver a workshop with a tear stained face, I now only read business, productivity or self-development books!

Podcasts – I also listen to Podcasts whilst in the car. My favourite podcasts for social media can be found here.

“Out of office” with a difference

If you are going to be away from your office, then I would strongly suggest adding an “out of office” message to your emails, voice mail and your social media channels.

Emails – Never use the default “I’m out of the office… blah blah”. Put a bit of life and humour into your message. The system that I use is to gamify my out of office. For example, here is my out of office message for this Thursday:

Subject: I’m not here today, please enjoy the quiet!



Thanks for your email.

Today, SmithyB and I will be heading North up the M1 to deliver a LinkedIn workshop to a construction recruiter. But can you guess where I will be from these few clues?


• This town hosted the world’s biggest ever wedding!
• Hippos once roamed the city centre in 1851!
• This city is the home of Cluedo


As usual, the GUHQ team are available on live chat or call the office on 01604 726 758 where Christina or Mark will be happy to take your call.  


All the best

Voicemail – I change my voice mail message on my mobile every day explaining where I am and what I am doing today. If I am travelling to the town, I will often give the same clues as to where I am going. I am amazed how many people will call back a few times to get the clues so that they can Google it and leave me a voicemail claiming that they know where I am!

In summary

I love travelling, and technology nowadays makes life so much easier. If you see me on the motorway, please give me a wave! Or answer my out of office messages and win a free giraffe!

Happy travelling!

Julia Doherty is, in her own words, a social media evangelist. She is a recruiter at heart, having a background as a recruitment consultancy owner. Julia delivers training, coaching and webinars on social media. She is into giraffes and geocaching. Contact her at Green Umbrella if you want one of her friendly team to help you get the most from social media.

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