Hot Tips, Travel

Stress-Free Travel: My Top 10 Tips!

One of my reasons for becoming a Virtual Assistant was to have the freedom to work from anywhere. My family is all over the world (literally!!) and I’m always looking for ways to make my trips more manageable and enjoyable whether I travel for a vacation or business. I don’t enjoy feeling rushed and crazy before a trip, and I’m sure you don’t either. Here are some of my favorite stress-free tips (in no particular order) that will keep you feeling as mellow as you can, while you travel to your next adventure.

happy travel girl

  1. Itinerary Folder: Grab a brightly colored folder (the kind with the little silver brads on the inner spine) and some page protectors. Your flight info, your hotel info, things to do, embassy phone numbers, photocopies of your credit cards (front and back) and passport – it all goes here. Keep this travel folder in your personal item. Include any important phone numbers back home, mobile provider, emergency contacts, etc. Stress-free advantage? Important information is all in one place.
  2. Groupon! Yes, Groupon. Going to Paris? Rome? Dubai? London? They all have Groupon. Try out some interesting restaurants or excursions and don’t pay full price for them! Google Groupon + the city you are traveling to, purchase some Groupons, and put those in your Itinerary folder. One thing about Groupon overseas, they may not accept the mobile app, so print out your coupons before you leave. Stress-free advantage? Save money while sampling the local cuisine.
  3. Global Entry: I cannot tell you how much I LOVE GLOBAL ENTRY. Caveat: You have to be an American to use Global Entry. Added benefit of Global Entry? You also get TSA Precheck. How many hours have I saved by not waiting in long lines? So many! I love, love, love it. Best $100.00 you’ll ever spend if you travel often. TSA Precheck is $85.00, so spring for the extra $15… it’s good for 5 years. Stress-free advantage? Zoom past all those poor souls who don’t have Global Entry when you’re tired and are almost home.
  4. Travel cubes. Travel cubes, where have you been all my life? These are great! Use them! They also keep things a little more compact in your suitcase – not as much as a space bag (the kind you suck all the air out of), but then they also don’t need excessive ironing when you get to your destination. Stress-free advantage? They keep things nice and organized inside your checked bag and the contents don’t end up looking like a mosh pit.
  5. Unpack your suitcase immediately. Hang it up, air it out, put it away. You will be so much happier if you can look for things in a closet or drawer rather than tearing through your suitcase. Stress-free advantage? You can find your stuff.
  6. Contact your mobile phone provider a few days in advance of traveling outside of the US. They will be able to tell you phone, text and data charges for your destination, and whether or not you need to alter any of your phone’s settings in order to use it overseas. It may be worth your while to purchase a global phone plan and then cancel it when you get home – $20 or so could save you a lot of $$$ in the long run. Stress-free advantage? A phone that works when you get where you’re going and no disturbing financial surprises when you get home.
  7. I use a big travel tote and let this be my “purse” or personal item. A typical personal item measures 7x15x16 inches. Large enough to fit my laptop, cords, and a smaller purse that I will use when not on the plane. It has a good strong strap on it, and is big enough to hold the things I will need during my flight. I don’t put my laptop in my roller board because there have been times where for one reason or another I needed to check that. If you’re one of the last groups to board, you always run the risk of them insisting on your roller board being checked. Stress-free advantage? No need to freak out if the flight attendant tells you your roller board must be checked.
  8. Leave your itinerary with a close friend or relative that has hotel phone numbers on it. Stress-free advantage? Knowing loved ones won’t worry about you so much.
  9. Get to the airport early! This is so basic but I’ve seen so many crazy people at the airport having unnecessary meltdowns. Why do that to yourself? If you have bags to check, arrive at the airport a minimum of 90 minutes before your flight is scheduled for domestic flights and 2 hours for international. Emphasis on the word MINIMUM. If you can, give yourself a little extra cushion. Rest comfortably at your gate, catch up with a friend, do a crossword puzzle, whatever. Stress-free advantage? You won’t be the sweaty, crazed last person on the plane, or worse yet, the person who is on the wrong side of the closed gate door.
  10. Keep a pre-printed packing list. Don’t reinvent the wheel every time you travel. And to make life easier, I have a comprehensive free checklist that I would be happy to send you. Complete the info below and it will be on its way to you. Stress-free advantage? You won’t forget anything important!

    Yes! I want a copy of your free Travel Checklist!

Please let me know if you plan on trying out any of these travel ideas and also if you have something that really makes your travel experience less stressful! Bon Voyage!

Comfort Zone, Hot Tips, Solopreneur, Travel

Traveling and Working Remotely as a Virtual Assistant

girl-with-travel-bag

Tomorrow I leave my bedroom office and take my work satchel with me for 5 weeks.

This is one of my “why’s” for leaving Corporate – because I need more than two weeks per year to get out of Las Vegas. I’ve left for a weekend here and there, but this will be awhile – so here are a few of the things that I’m making sure I have to get my work done over there!

A nice big personal carry-on item

The standard measure measurement for a personal item is 9 inches x 10 inches x 17 inches, or 22 cm x 25 cm x 43 cm.

This needs to be big enough to safely store and protect your laptop, your neatly wrapped cords (note: do NOT just throw cords in a bag. Use the little Velcro strap to safely wrap. I have had wires and connectors stop working from being squished and banged around in a personal bag), and your wireless mouse. Try and have a little pouch for your mouse to protect it and keep it free from dust and debris. Also your external hard drive and a Mophie. Don’t forget a power converter depending on where you’re traveling to.

Fossil Bag available on Amazon

I my go-to purse is a small to medium crossbody bag that will easily fit within my personal carry-on bag. That’s how I’ve always managed to get both a purse and a personal item onboard, not to mention my rollerboard.

Try not to have more than 3 files if possible in your computer bag if you can help it. The goal of being virtual is to have everything on your computer, so less paper = less weight and less bulk.

A good VPN

A VPN, or Virtual Private Network is good for a couple of reasons: One, it protects and encrypts your work. Especially if you are using internet cafes or public Wi-Fi. Second, some countries will not allow you to access certain sites. Some American sites will not allow users from certain countries to access their sites. The VPN allows you to look like you are logging in from wherever it is you want to look like you’re logging in from. No matter where I’m traveling, my VPN allows me to log in from San Francisco. This is something you need to have up and running before you travel, fo because you may be unable to access it once you are overseas depending on the laws of the country you are visiting. I use Strong VPN and have had no problems with it for over 3 years.

Lots of Skype Credit

Part of my job as a Virtual Assistant is making phone calls – I will still need to do this on the road. So far the least expensive and least hassle-free way to call Land Lines and Mobile Phones seems to be Skype. I can call North America for $6.99 per month or $0.03 per minute. There may be other avenues to try but this seems the easiest to me.

Miscellaneous

Lots of pens, your business cards, a mini-stapler, and any office supplies you use on a regular basis.

I always bring a face mask just in case I’m sitting next to Typhoid Mary. Seriously, I became very sick with the flu once. All because of a coughing, nose-blowing passenger I had to sit shoulder to shoulder with for 4 hours in coach. Now I travel with a face mask, just in case.

Moisturizer! For your face, lip balm or gloss to keep your lips silky, and hand cream or body lotion for everywhere else.  You can become a fossil on those long-haul flights without it!

Everybody is individual about their go-to items for working on the go but these are some off the top of my head. I would love to hear what you can’t live without as you roam around while working. Thanks for reading and see you on the other side of the Atlantic!

Comfort Zone, Solopreneur, Travel

A Solopreneur Needs a Travel-Savvy Virtual Assistant

Are you a solopreneur who is on the road a lot?

When you’re a solopreneur, who takes care of your customers and clients when you’re traveling?

woman-in-airport

Getting Help

Do you need someone to hold down the fort while you’re away? You would likely feel more comfortable with a seasoned admin professional who:

  • Has worked in the airline and travel industry
  • Has been heavily involved in travel arrangement, event prep and registration
  • Delivers highly rated Customer Service (see my LinkedIn profile!)
  • Is an experienced long-haul flight traveler, with lots of tips and tricks up her sleeve to make  your flight more pleasant!

I am that person. Allow me to help you affordably with:

  • Travel research. Finding you the most convenient flights and lodging with your budget in mind. Whether you’re looking for a high-end hotel, a comfortable AirBNB room or something in between, I can assist with that.
  • Make sure your shuttle arrangements to and from your destination are in order.
  • Reserve your rental car with or without GPS.
  • I help with little details like researching cellphone requirements, weather reports, and local attractions at your destination as well as local restaurants and internet cafes. Need reservations made? I can do that.

While you’re away, I can:

  • Take your calls and messages. Follow up with clients. Engage on your social media.
  • Take care of other important administrative tasks that need doing while you’re away from your desk.

man-and-taxi

Don’t go it alone!

A solopreneur does not have to do everything themselves. You’re not alone! Put your mind at ease by delegating travel arrangement and client care to a capable Virtual Assistant. That’s me!