Whether traveling on a plane, waiting in line, or taking a siesta there are many opportunities to practice and study apart from the guitar. To do this we can employ visualization techniques. And not only with visual components, but with aural and kinesthetic experiences as well. This practice can strengthen playing ability and reveal weaknesses.
To begin with let’s think about a specific exercise we might try. With a tone generator, pitch pipe, tuning fork, or from memory play a note and hum that note internally. Let’s say we that we have chosen middle C. Now visually we will try to imagine where on the neck that note is. We have four to five places to play this note depending on the guitar so let’s choose one location for now. It is a good idea to try this with all the available notes.
Let’s go with fifth fret on the third string. Now let’s imagine the physical sensation of moving the first finger on the fretting hand to that location and plucking with the picking hand. Hear the note and visually see that location. We can adjust the mental focus we have on any three of these experiences and also try to experience them simultaneously. The next step is to visualize this experience with the other fingers on the fretting hand. So the fret/string location is the same, but we are changing the finger.
This can be challenging at first. Most of us will experience some drift in awareness, concentration, and effort. Try to make the mind as empty of thoughts as possible before starting this technique and moving from one visualization technique to the next. Have fun and good luck with practicing while away from your guitar.