Virtual Assistant

Travel tips for every trip

We all know travelling can be extremely stressful, especially if you’re trying to organise a trip for your whole family. Being in a new country where the language might be unfamiliar and you don’t know the roads can be a recipe for disaster. But we have some tips for you that will ensure that you finally have a relaxing, carefree holiday you deserve.

The sheer number of options that are available can be extremely daunting. It’s nearly impossible to know where you can trust. has compiled all the ways you could get to any given destination and the prices of all of those different modes of transport - so you can easily compare the cheapest prices without having to jump from one website to another.

Scan a copy of your passport and credit cards (front and back) and emergency details then store them in a cloud storage location such as Dropbox so if your cards or passport are stolen, you'll have a backup copy of what you need to report the loss and the telephone numbers of who to ring.  

Particularly if you are travelling to a high risk area for theft, avoid finding yourself in an unfamiliar country with no money or cards by spreading your cash about your person - maybe keep some in your pocket, some in your bag and some in the hotel safe.

For someone who has travelled lots, I should be good at packing light and well but the truth is I’m not!  I find it is really useful in the run up to your holiday, to keep a list on you at all times and as soon as you think of an item you should take - write it down! Plan packing well in advance so you don’t have that last minute panic day before you leave and forget something. You don’t want to end up taking your expensive camera without a camera charger… Better still have a saved travel luggage list on your computer that you just tweak each trip.  If you want to be very organized, note what stayed in your suitcase completely unworn so you know not to take it next time!

Mini bars are expensive. If you don’t want to buy anything from the minibar, ask the hotel to empty the refrigerator, it not only stops you spending well over the odds for a cold drink but also means you have an empty fridge you can stock with your own goodies.

Communication is key.  Always learn the words for “hello, please, thank you, delicious and goodbye” to bring smiles to the locals you meet.  A little effort in a local language, goes a long way.

Do make sure you have adequate travel insurance especially if you have any existing medical conditions.  There are many specialist insurance companies including International Travel and Healthcare, and Pearson Insurance.  Travelling in Europe?  Get an EHIC card it gives you discounted medical assistance across all 28 European countries.  Do note though that an EHIC card does not replace the need for standard insurance.

If you want a free room upgrade then book for a non-peak time.  It often helps to let the reception desk know that you’re celebrating a special occasion. If that fails, ask if they’re doing any incentives - you might find that a room upgrade is extremely reasonable. Tripadvisor is often a good indicator in finding out if your hotel is easily persuaded in giving upgrades.

If you’re travelling with your family then mix up each person’s luggage between all the suitcases so if someone’s luggage goes missing, they still have something to wear on holiday until it is found! 

Your hotel concierge is a great source of information but for the really local advice on bars and restaurants, approach the bartender whose friends may work in local restaurants and will know the hottest place for the best price. And when staying at hotels abroad, grab one of the hotel's business cards and keep it on you at all times to explain your address to a taxi driver. 

Top tip for glam girls  …  save yourself effort by getting semi-permanent eyelash dye before you go away. It won’t smudge like mascara, which is particularly useful for long flights, swimming and hotter climes!

But remember,when you’re out having fun though, don’t forget about home. Do not put a luggage tag with your name and address on it.  If you feel the urge to use one, put your name and phone number. At the end of the day, your luggage is not going to be posted to you, someone will want to call you if they have inadvertently picked up your case. The insurance industry say proof is hard but they are certain this information is sold as it passes through baggage handling.  And keep your social media sites private – and make sure your children’s sites are private too. Instagram, Facebook, and many more social media sites are open to a wealth of people and vast networks who can see you are on holiday – which means your house is empty.  Without being too boring about it, manage your risk.

Finally though, remember you’re on holiday. Don’t sweat the small stuff.  Be patient, enjoy and absorb the different cultures that you come across and observe the life around you.  If the cash machine is out of cash – fantastic – make an unplanned journey across town to find another. Relax.  Enjoy.  Experience

I had 99 problems ...

.... but now I have none!

Whether you are a fan of Ice-T or Jay-Z (or have no idea who they are!) there are times in your life when you really feel you have 99 problems.  You are drowning in your own to-do list.  Productivity is low.  Stress and guilt are high. You are struggling to meet business and personal obligations and feel like you are on a swift journey to chaos.  AHHHHHHH!

Bringing life back to a calm balance is easier than you feel.  Stop. I know you don’t feel you have time to but – STOP!  Sit, breathe, get a long piece of paper and write a list.  Prioritising is an art and a key to making your life more manageable.  There are two main approaches to prioritising and both start with a list!  So WRITE THAT LIST!

The list is long and you are anxious just looking at it.  Divide the list in two, the quick easy jobs and the ones that need total concentration, time, thought and energy.  You’re half way there.  When considering the importance of tasks, ask yourself the following 5 questions:

1.       How will this task benefit you?

2.       Will it enable you to get closer to your goals or objectives?

3.       Will completing this task help you build relationships?

4.       Who will you let down if don’t get the task done?

5.       How much money or free time will outsourcing this task give you?

Now delegate!  Often people don’t delegate because they consider it takes too long to explain to someone what needs to be done and by which time they could have done the job themselves.  No, no, no!  Whether it be your child, your partner, an outsourced individual, once they have learnt that task, they can do it again and again which removes the job from your list, your time and ultimately, your anxiety. 

Imagine having your own PA or concierge on tap to help you at the times when you require it.  Ensuring that you do not become overwhelmed by your workload, be more productive and stay relaxed and at ease with your life.  The great thing about outsourcing is that you get to do the things that you enjoy and want to be doing and give somebody else the ones you don’t want to do, that you don’t have the time to do and those you don’t have the inclination or want to do.

We are living in a different age, in an economy that is digital, global and intangible, we are all expected to do more, be more, create more in our lives.  More and more busy families are using the services of a PA / concierge to make their lives more manageable.  Adaptable, services tailored to your individual needs allows you to create value in your life becoming an irreplaceable life force which allows you to produce more, share more and feel calm and accomplished in your busy life. 

Give yourself more margin in your life without the need for a costly and timely recruitment process. Have your own concierge / PA without the overheads of salary and benefits and who you can adjust the contracted hours of according to your needs.

 Have you got 99 problems? … I haven’t got one!