Remote Work Tools – How Companies are responding to the CoronaVirus

Company responses to remote work COVID-19 Coronavirus

With the spread of COVID-19, many companies are being forced to adopt remote work options and policies. Even industries with poor remote infrastructures have found themselves scrambling to give employees a way to work from home. 

Even when the dust settles and we are no longer in the midst of a pandemic, I believe a lot of this remote work will stick. When people realize the benefits of working from home, there will be an increased demand for remote work from here on out.

How companies are responding to COVID-19

Many companies are sending employees home with laptops and forcing them to adjust to remote working at an extremely fast pace.

To help this massive transition go smoothly and quickly, several companies are offering their remote office tools for free.

Here’s a list of what some companies are offering to help you work from home

Adobe

Adobe’s Creative Suite (including Photoshop, Lightroom and more) is available for free to students. Adobe’s web conferencing service, Adobe Connect, is now free for all until July 1.

Airtable

For the next three months their online databases and spreadsheets are free for any non-political, humanitarian efforts combating COVID-19.

Atlassian
Team collaboration and project tracking softwares are free for teams of ten people or fewer. There is no “trial” limit to this offer.

BlueJeans
For 90 days, BlueJeans’ video conferencing service is free for all first responders and NGO’s.

Box
The business edition of Box, which allows for unlimited cloud data storage and protection, is also free for 90 days.

Calendly
This scheduling software is no longer charging for integration with remote meeting tools like Zoom and GoToMeeting. Its premium services are now also available for free to all teams working against COVID-19.

Carto
Carto makes spatial-analysis software and these visualization tools are on offer for free to all public and private organizations combating COVID-19.

Cisco
Cisco’s video conferencing software Webex no longer has time limits and can now support up to 100 people on a single call. All this is offered on the free version of the product.

Comcast

Comcast has a few services they are offering to provide people with access to Internet. Xfinity is offering free WiFi for everyone at Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country.  They are pausing data plans for 60 days giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge. There are no disconnects or late fees during this period. Internet Essentials new customers receive 60 days of complimentary service.  

Dialpad
Dialpad Talk Pro is a cloud-based phone system and video conferencing tool now free for two months to any business in North America or Japan.

Dropbox
The uber popular cloud content collaboration tool is now offering HelloSign Enterprise, which handles electronic agreements, free for 6 months for qualifying nonprofits and NGO’s.

Enview by Civic Eagle
Enview is legislative policy management software.  Now more than ever with a global pandemic policy is being written daily and Enview is offering its policy software for free through the end of April.

Facebook
Facebook’s Workplace Advanced, which offers video calls and file sharing is free for emergency services and government agencies for the next month.

Google
Educational services can now use the advanced version of Hangouts Meet (which allows for conference calls of up to 250 people) for free. Meetings can be recorded and saved on Google Drive.

Headspace
Headspace isn’t strictly for “work” purposes, but it’s pretty handy for helping you weather the storm of uncertainty and stress as you shake up your life and work routines. Headspace offers guided meditations for those who may never have tried mindfulness before. Here’s a Business Insider article that explains it pretty well. Right now they’ve increased their number of free meditations.

Hubspot
Hubspot helps businesses manage communications and customer support. They’re offering three months of their video software free and decreasing their starter package price from $112.50/month to $50/month for the next year.

Jamm
All of Jamm’s voice and video collaboration tools are free for the next three months.

Krisp.ai
Krisp.ai lets you easily mute background noise so you can get your calls done with minimal “I’m sorry, what did you say?” interruptions. They’re offering 120 minutes per week to hospital staff, students, teachers and government workers.

LinkedIn
LinkedIn hosts professional development videos on working remotely and is offering many of them free of charge.

LogMeIn
LogMeIn offers software for managing the many devices and apps remote workers have to juggle. They are offering a three-month license for free to healthcare, educational and some government programs. Some of these extra tools are available for free to regular site users, as well.

Loom
Through July 1, Loom will no longer limit its free users on how many videos they can make. The free trial period has also been extended to 30 days.

Mailchimp
Governments, schools, healthcare providers and nonprofits will have access to free mailchimp accounts to send newsletter communications out throughout the COVID-19 crisis.

Microsoft
There is no longer a user limit on Microsoft Team’s free version. Programs like Word and Excel are free for six months to organizations.

Panopto
Panopto allows users to record and send video content and is free for three months with no limits on content.

Salesforce
All existing customers and nonprofits get Salesforce collaboration software for free through the end of September, 2020. Salesforce is also allowing free access to its Health Cloud service for all response teams and health systems.

ServiceNow
This software helps teams digitize their tasks. ServiceNow has developed more apps alongside the Washington State Department of Health to help emergency agencies manage incident-response workflows.

Shopify
Shopify is an e-commerce platform that is now offering 90-day free trials instead of 14-days.

Slack
Slack’s premium online workplaces and communication tools are being offered as free upgrades to all organizations involved in COVID-19 research or response.

Stripe
Stripe is helping offline businesses transition to online payments.  They are fast-tracking supporting telemedicine platforms providing consultations for COVID-19.  Many businesses in the US can proactively add funds to their balance to cover refunds or chargebacks.

TechSmith
TechSmith Snagit is a screen recording software. The company also provides collaboration platforms for video review. These softwares are both free through June.

Threads
Similar to Slack, this online collaboration tool will be available for free through July 1.

T-Mobile
T-Mobile offers free international calling to help you stay connected to everyone in your personal and professional life.

Vidyard
Vidyard’s new services, a remote video communication tool meant for internal use is free through June 30.

Zoho
Zoho is offering to waive application fees for up to 20,000 small businesses and has created a new set of tools for online meetings, calls, file sharing and more, all of which are free through July 1.

Zencastr
This is a lot like Zoom except that there’s no need for a download. Create videos as well as podcasts with their simple, easy-to-understand interface. All recording limits have been waived.

Zoom
Zoom is a go-to for many companies when managing remote meetings, and now the 40-minute meeting limit has been removed for all students and teachers in U.S. K-12 schools.

 

Do you have a service to add that we missed?  Reach out

Virtual Mailbox: How to Get Your Postal Mail when Traveling Abroad

How to Get Your Postal Mail When Traveling: Virtual Mailbox - via LiveWorkAnywhere

No one has embraced the all-digital lifestyle more than our band of globe-trotting freelancers and entrepreneurs. We run our businesses on laptops and wi-fi from beaches, villas, cruise ships…and airport terminals, parked cars, and rural bus stations.

We do everything via email, Trello, Slack, and other messaging and organizational apps. We hold conferences using Skype, Zoom or GoToMeeting. We use everything we can to stay flexible, available, and above all, free.

But the rest of the world hasn’t entirely caught up to us.

Death to Snail Mail 

No matter how hard we try, there are still companies and government agencies who insist on sending us snail mail. Paper messages that have to travel to a fixed, physical location, and that often need a prompt response. It’s the one remaining thorn in our ever-roaming paws, and for a long time there wasn’t a good solution.

You can have the post office hold your mail, but when you’re gone for weeks or months at a time the odds are good you’ll miss something important.

You can have your mail forwarded anywhere in the world, but that option has a host of problems: expensive international forwarding fees, mail that doesn’t keep up with your frequent travels and multiple destinations, the need to plan ahead instead of enjoying spontaneous trips.

You can have a friend or family member pick up your mail and look for anything important, but the privacy and reliability concerns are real.

I’ve been doing this awhile, and I’ve tried it all. The best solution I’ve found, far and away, is a virtual mailbox.  Short of not having any snail mail to begin with—which is still a dream of mine, but one the world has yet to accommodate—it’s the best thing out there when it comes to staying up to date with all of your important correspondence.

There are a few virtual mailbox services out there.  I do have a favorite, and I’ll let you know who it is in a second. First, I want to explain the concept of a virtual mailbox just so we’re all on the same page.

(Page! Get it!?…OK, moving on…)

How Virtual Mailboxes Work 

It’s pretty simple, really, like most ingenious things are. You get a mailbox and a postal address provided by your virtual mailbox service. This is a real, honest-to-goodness physical address where the USPS is perfectly happy delivering all of your mail, just like a post office box or private mailbox you can rent from the USPS or any number of private providers—except the top virtual mailbox providers give you a completely unique street address, which looks more professional and inspires a great deal more trust than a PO Box.

The big difference with a virtual mailbox service is what happens after the mail is delivered, though. Instead of simply holding your mail until you either come pick it up or have it forwarded to a new location, a virtual mailbox service opens and digitally scans your mail (ensuring complete privacy, of course), then uploads the digital images to an email inbox so you can read your mail from anywhere in the world.

You can also have your mail forwarded, of course, and packages can be sent along wherever you happen to be, too.  I find that the more we become digital, the less I need to physically forward my mail.  But this is a handy option.

A quick bulleted recap for the article skimmers:

  1. A virtual mailbox company contracts with a physical location to aggregate postal mail in one location, in multiple cities.
  2. The mail is received and the front cover of the mail is scanned.
  3. You then receive an email letting you know that the mail has arrived.

Some Types of Postal Mail You Might Receive (and don’t want to miss): 

  • Client Checks
  • Bank Statements (go digital if you can)
  • Mortgage Statements
  • Student Loan Documents
  • Legal Documents

Virtual Mailbox Signup Process

When you sign up for a virtual mailbox service, here is the signup process in action step by step:

  1. Select an address in one of the designated pick up cities.  For example I have a mailbox in New York.  I live there part-time, but I don’t have to in order to have a local address.  It can also help make your business look more official by having a local mailbox (versus PO Box) especially in a world renowned city.
  2.  Select a plan that suits your needs and budget
  3. Give out your new address to clients and agencies
  4. Receive an email when new mail is received
  5. Decide if you want to open it (have it scanned), download, delete, recycle, or forward to a physical address.

Important:  Make sure to include your MAILBOX number or the mail will not be delivered.

Virtual Mailbox Services: EarthClassMail vs. Traveling Mailbox 

I have personally tried two of the leading virtual mailbox services:

  1. EarthClassMail
  2. TravelingMailbox

EarthClassMail  EarthClassMail Benefits via LiveWorkAnywhere

A catchy name and a service I used for years, EarthClassMail, offers

  • A physical address for your business
  • Mail scanning
  • Secure mail shredding and handling
  • Free physical mail storage for 30 days
  • Check deposits

Prices start at $49/month for residential and $99/month for business accounts.

See a list of virtual addresses for EarthClassMail.

TravelingMailbox 

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere TravelingMailbox offers three plans that you can pay for annually or monthly.  The lowest tier includes 40 envelope scans and 35 page scans per month, which I’ve found is usually plenty for me. The mail comes in, I get a PDF of each envelope emailed to me, and I decide what I want to happen with each envelope.

Nothing gets opened and scanned unless you select that option, so you don’t end up burning through your monthly scans on junk mail. There’s no additional cost for shredding the mail you don’t want, and forwarding mail and packages only costs $2 (plus postage fees—but by bundling your mail, Traveling Mailbox helps you save there, too).

TravelingMailbox vs. EarthClassMail via LiveWorkAnywhere If you end up receiving more envelopes and/or needing more pages scanned than your plan covers, overage charges are only $0.25 per envelope and $0.50 per scan, and if you’re paying monthly you can switch to a higher plan if you’re expecting a higher-than-usual volume of mail in a given month.

Tip: Save the PDFs of your important mail in Dropbox, Google Drive, and/or on your computer and delete them from your Traveling Mailbox account to avoid going over your storage limit and getting hit with additional charges.

Depositing Client Checks from your Virtual Mailbox – a Quick Hack

Remarkably, I still have clients who prefer paying by check. Traveling Mailbox offers a check depositing service, where they mail your checks straight to your bank to be deposited, but they do (understandably) charge a handling fee and postage.

To get around that, I have the back and front of my incoming checks scanned then use the PDFs to deposit checks through my bank’s mobile app.

The bank keeps a copy of the check handy in case there are any issues, and I get paid without any extra fuss.

  • Client sends me a check
  • I request a scan and open the mail
  • I use my mobile phone banking app to screen capture and deposit the check directly into my bank account
  • I save pdf of the check to my dropbox
  • Lastly, I delete the scan to save space and costs
  • Done!

Which Virtual Mail Service Should You Choose?  

I’ve used both and I prefer TravelingMailbox for three reasons: it’s cheaper for most freelancers and solo travelers, it got my scanned mail to me faster, and the customer service was fantastic (surprising given that they’re the budget option, but hey—some things that seem too good really can be true!).  It may not look as sexy as EarthClassMail but it does the job!

Want to Avoid Paper Altogether?  

Tip: Use programs like Photoshop and Automator on Mac to turn PDFs into editable images.  Use your smartphone camera to make signatures and documents digital, make edits in Photoshop, and combine docs in Automator or Photoshop.

Slowly you can make your life free from snail mail and completely digital, but it starts with postal mail being virtually managed.

Unfettered Travel with TravelingMailbox

Physical mail used to be a barrier to flitting about the world while running a freelance business or entrepreneurial venture, but not any more. Traveling Mailbox is one of my favorite services as a remote working entrepreneur, and saves me tons of time, money, and stress. With my virtual mailbox in place—and virtual phone and fax services set up—I stay accessible across all channels without sacrificing my love of travel.

It sure is a sweet time to be alive and virtual!

Speaking of virtual services, check out RingCentral vs. Grasshopper – virtual phone services and faxing for mobile entrepreneurs.

Is there another service you use or recommend?  Or another hack you have to share?  Let us know in the comments below!

SHH! Finding a QUIET Place to work with Wifi – Get Real Work Done When Traveling

Woman sitting in a quiet place to work on a laptop

When you can work anywhere, you can have almost anything at your fingertips. Sun and surf, inspirational views, a mid-afternoon glass of wine or beer (we’re not here to judge).  But when you don’t have a dedicated office—or when you’re traveling away from your home office—there’s one thing you can’t count on “anywhere” to provide: A quiet place to work with wifi to get some real work done.

The term “quiet” is relative.  You may need absolute silence, or you may need white noise.  Everyone is different, and you’ll determine what’s best for you based on your own work style.

You’re less productive when you’re stuck in a cubicle working for a boss and chatting with passerby co-workers. As a nomadic entrepreneur, you need to figure out how to be productive when you work for yourself.  You need to find a place to focus – no matter where you are in the world.  A daunting yet doable task.

How to Set Up a Quiet Workspace 

Before we get down to the good stuff, quiet places to work with reliable wi-fi, let’s talk first about getting set up.  Let’s face it – finding a quiet place to work (particularly with good wi-fi) is not an easy task in general (which is the reason you’re reading this article).

So, let’s get set up:

1. Use Noise Cancelling Headphones

Laptop and headphones representing a quiet place to work
Laptop and headphones representing a quiet place to work

Imagine sitting in an airport (I bet you can) and there are people constantly walking by you.  Or you’re in a co-working space and everyone wants to come up and chat with you.

The only time that noise cancelling headphones didn’t work for me was when I was working in Buenos Aires.  I was in my own apartment, on a conference call, when suddenly, the power company started to jackhammer into the side of the building, unannounced.  The call was dropped when the power cut out… but that’s another issue.

Noise cancelling headphones won’t block out a jackhammer below you, but they will allow you to block out most background noise and allow you to focus intently on your work.  Bonus: People will see you with those giant earmuffs hugging your ears and your laser-like focus and they will tend to leave you alone.

I’ve tested dozens of in-ear headphones and regular headsets and my favorite – based on feedback from people I talk to that can actually hear me and based on the amount of background noise that’s reduced, are the Logitech USB headset.  Tip: The $30 USB headphones are even better for noise reduction than the more expensive wireless version.

2. Set Up a Mobile Hotspot

Don’t you love sitting down to work in a coffee shop, ordering your coffee and biscotti and sitting down only to find out that you can’t get online?!  When you approach the barista it’s only then that they inform you that the wi-fi is down and the technician won’t be in until the following day.  Bad luck for you.

As a backup, for a nomadic entrepreneur or freelancer, a mobile wi-fi hotspot, also called mi-fi, needs to be top of your packing list.  When you don’t want to work in a coffee shop or place with wi-fi, as we’re about to get to below, you’ll need backup.

I use a Tmobile hotspot that’s pre-paid monthly and I also have a Tmobile iPhone in which I can very quickly upgrade my plan for extra gigabytes and downgrade when I no longer need the wi-fi boost.  Phones as hotspots are nearly catching up to the power of the non-phone hotspot.  However, I have both.  The phone as a hotspot is a great backup but also uses more battery power.  You never want to be without wi-fi, so I recommend both.

3. Get Comfortable, Get Power, Block Time

Quiet usually means you’ll be sitting for a little while.  So plan things like:

  • comfortable seating with back support
  • close to power outlets or power supply
  • check the hours for closing times

4. Consider Using White Noise

Get your playlist for your favorite time-to-focus music ready to go if background noise and headphones aren’t enough to keep your attention on work.

5. Plan for Interruptions 

Some people love to talk – no matter where you are or what you’re doing.  Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters.  But, it’s sometimes unavoidable.

One of the best lines I’ve found if someone interrupts you is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have a deadline due.  Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly.

Most importantly, get back to work immediately.  Don’t allow an interruption to turn into a break to check email.

Okay… Now that you’re comfy, have your wi-fi hotspot, noise-canceling headphones, are prepared for anti-breaking concentration, and you have a dedicated time where your power won’t go out or the shop won’t close – you’re ready to get into the zone.

Where Are the Best Quiet Places to Work with Wi-fi?

If you’re a working traveler (or a traveling worker), here are a few spots to consider when you really need to buckle down and work.

Airports 

I love airports.  Really.  They have everything you need: Wi-fi (if not free, then through partners like Boingo), Coffee, Food, Restrooms, Seating, Power Outlets.  I don’t mind getting stuck on a long layover or even spending the night (as long as I’m prepared) because airports are a great place to work.

With a little preparation, like the noise cancelling headphones and a wi-fi hotspot, you can set up shop.  There are all strangers around you so it’s easy to be ignored.  Find a corner near a plug and get to work!

Co-Working Spaces

There’s probably no better blend of traditional business and the new world of flexible entrepreneurship than the concept of co-working.  Virtually every major city—and many smaller ones—have co-working spaces available, and they can give you an ideal place to work when you’re out seeing the world.

Just in case you aren’t aware, co-working spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically rent a desk alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies. They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, and let solopreneurs as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies find affordable, dedicated space that workers on their budget.

Much of the co-working industry is geared towards companies who don’t need much dedicated space and want to split other office expenses. They also cater to local solopreneurs who don’t like working out of a home office. And most of them have the odd desk available for short-term rentals…like if you happen to be passing through or visiting for a few days and just need a quiet, professional place to set up shop.

There’s obviously a cost component to consider when it comes to co-working, but you’re virtually guaranteed a place where you can focus on work without being completely isolated. Plus you’ll have a solid WiFi connection (I can’t imagine a co-working space that doesn’t provide one), which you know is a must when you’re working on the go.

Many co-working spaces are divided into separate levels.  Traditional co-working space may also be called “hot desk” – an open floor plan surrounded by several other busy bees like yourself.

The only potential downside to this type of setup, of course, is distraction.  Community sharing is great, and valuable, but not conducive to getting real work done without interruption.

Co-Working spaces will often also have the option for a private office or the ability to rent a conference room.

If you need a quiet space to work, without distraction, then opt for the private space or the conference room.  Tip: If the conference room or office has windows, shut the door and face your back to the windows for least amount of visibility (disallowing interruptions).  If all sides are windows, make sure to wear those headphones and make little eye contact.

Coffee Shops

Wi-fi is all but ubiquitous in coffee shops these days, too. Most of them are fine with you camping out by a power outlet for hours at a time, but only if you order every couple of hours and leave a nice tip!

This might not be the best solution if you need absolute peace and quiet to get work done, but many people find the background buzz aka white noise and people-watching opportunities provide just enough distraction to keep their minds from totally wandering.

Some coffee shops have conference rooms or private rooms that you can rent or arrive early to get a good seat.

Switch it up and find a quiet coffee shop on the outskirts of town or in a new neighborhood – this is a great way to find a seat or a table, unfamiliar faces for less chitchat, and some on-hand caffeine to fool those productive hours.

Find some great crowdsourced coffee shops here.

Rent an AirBnB Studio

Renting a private room, or better yet, a studio, on AirBnb can really help you get some quiet time to yourself.  A studio allows for no roommates or distractions.

Tip: Before you book you’ll want to make sure they have good wi-fi.  To test wi-fi you can ask your potential host to go to speedtest.net.  The minimum connection I recommend is 8 gb down, but that depends on what you’re doing.  If you’re just checking emails or a simple Skype call, 4 mb is fine.  If you’re having video conferencing calls and sending files, then I recommend 20 mb.  Learn more about wi-fi speeds needed for remote work here.

The right accommodations can mean the difference between productivity and lack thereof.  The difference in cost for private versus shared will likely be the difference between less stress and business progression versus delays and less productivity.

Your Car / Boat / Van / RV 

Dead serious.  This one only works, obviously, if your travels include a personal vehicle, whether it’s your own car, a rental, or borrowed from a friend—it’s probably not worth the Uber rates 🙂

Some may object to the cramped quarters and lack of amenities provided by the typical automobile or boat, but there are actually a lot of advantages to using a four-wheeled or floating office.

First, you have total privacy. You don’t have to worry about anyone else setting up rules or causing a distraction. Your space is entirely your own, just like you had your own (small, bathroom-less) office.

Second, you can get a corner office view if you want one. A scenic overlook, the top of a midtown parking garage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean—whatever vista you want to visit, your car can get you there and give you a quiet workspace when you arrive.

Last but not least, your car (or boat, or van / RV) gives you an easy way to get connected almost anywhere. Plenty of businesses, including many big box stores, food chains, and of course coffee shops, now offer free wi-fi to anyone in range. Find a parking spot in close range and you’re good to go.

I’ve spent months working from my houseboat in Seattle, and this morning I was working from my Mitsubishi Delica overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. until the beautiful sunset.  A Tmobile hotspot and a 12-hour (okay…8-hour) battery on my Macbook Air, with a laptop table, a good 4G signal, and a latte and it’s the ultimate quiet spot – with the ultimate view.

Libraries

Once upon a time, libraries were the ultimate place to get work done. Quiet, technologically connected at a time when many businesses weren’t (albeit dialup!), and the best repositories of research material you were likely to find in any given locale. Things have changed a bit—OK, a lot—for libraries in the Internet Age, with virtually all the world’s information now at your fingertips and digital communication with all points on the globe available in your pocket.

But…

Libraries are still great places to get some work done when you need some peace and quiet in and don’t have an office to head to. Librarians are great at enforcing the “quiet” rule, and most offer free wi-fi.  Some even offer private or even soundproof study rooms to really shut out the distractions, and if you happen to want or need a book for some reason – in the age of Google, there are plenty on hand.

Public Parks and Campgrounds 

Though not always reliable wi-fi (hence the mobile hotspot backup), you can still find free networks in many city centers and even parks.  Several campgrounds have wi-fi and once again you can work from your moving vehicle or your picnic table!

If  you don’t have a hotspot or your phone doesn’t have hotspot capabilities….change that. For the traveling entrepreneur/freelancer it’ll pay for itself many times over!

Get Down to Business Without Being Tied Down to an Office

Freedom. It’s what our lifestyle is all about, and it’s what we build our working life around. It doesn’t mean we work less hard or are less productive, it just means we get more creative in the way we do things. Finding quiet places to work in every city on earth—and all the non-cities in between—is just one of the perks of the job.

These are a few solutions to the workplace solitude situation. Is your favorite on the list?  Have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments, and tell everyone in the world where you’re posting from!

Digital Nomad Quotes | Inspiring Words for the Modern Traveler [2022]

digital-nomad-quotes

There’s something about the digital nomad lifestyle that is inherently inspiring. The feeling of being free to explore unfamiliar places and cultures leaves one with an unquenchable sense of curiosity. Quotes by famous and not-so-famous people alike often capture this feeling perfectly.

Whether you’re an aspiring digital nomad, a seasoned backpacker, or just looking for some wise words to inspire and motivate yourself on your journey in life – these will be perfect!

Here are some digital nomad quotes that will make your toes tingle and make you want to be on the road now.  Know of any other quotes?  Please add some in the comments or send us some!

1.  I don’t know where I’m going, but I’m on my way – Carl Sandburg

I don't know where I am going but I am on my way

 

2. I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list – Susan Sontag

I haven't been everywhere, but it's on my list

 

3. I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me – Laura

I was never going to go if I waited for someone to come with me

 

4. To travel is to take a journey into oneself – Danny Kaye

To travel is to take a journey into yourself

 

5. I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it – Alexander Sattler

I would rather own little and see the world than own the world and see little of it

 

6. Chris Michel – Everyone Has a Story … It’s your story, you write it.

Chris-michel---everyone-has-a-store...-write-your-own-story

 

7. A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving – Lao Tzu

11

 

8. Once a year go somewhere you’ve never been before – Dalai Lama

Once a year go somewhere you've never been before

 

9. The road you travel has twists and turns. The life of an entrepreneur has ups and downs. Hang on and enjoy the ride – Libby Tucker

The road of an entrepreneur

 

10. Every few hundred feet the world changes – Roberto Bolano

Every few hundred feet the world changes

 

11. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step

12. “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

13. “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar

14. “We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

15. “To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen

16. “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine

17. “The more I travel, the more I realize that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

liveworkanywhere

18. “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky — all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

19. “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is lethal.” – Paulo Coelho

20. “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

21. “Risk more than others think is safe. Dream more than others think is practical.” – Howard Schultz

22. “To travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

23. “The man who goes alone can start today; but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

24. “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

25. “A person susceptible to “wanderlust” is not so much addicted to movement as committed to transformation.” – Pico Iyer

26. “No matter how much experience you have, how many degrees you have, or how well known you have become — there is always something new to learn. Don’t rest on your past experiences. If you do nothing to improve your skills, you won’t stay where you are.” – Laura Spencer

liveworkanywhere

27. “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” – Albert Einstein

28. “Jobs fill your pocket, but adventures fill your soul.” – Jamie Lyn Beatty

29. “Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” – Seneca

30. “Adventure is a path. Real adventure, self-determined, self-motivated, often risky, forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world.” – Mark Jenkins

31. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide

32. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

33. “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama

34. “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

35. “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” Lewis Carroll

36. “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

liveworkanywhere

37. “If you’ve got an idea, start today. There’s no better time than now to get going. That doesn’t mean quit your job and jump into your idea 100 percent from day one, but there’s always small progress that can be made to start the movement.” – Kevin Systrom

38. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” – Walt Disney

39. “For all of the most important things, the timing always sucks. Waiting for a good time to quit your job? The stars will never align and the traffic lights of life will never all be green at the same time. The universe doesn’t conspire against you, but it doesn’t go out of its way to line up the pins either. Conditions are never perfect. “Someday” is a disease that will take your dreams to the grave with you. Pro and con lists are just as bad. If it’s important to you and you want to do it “eventually,” just do it and correct course along the way.” – Timothy Ferriss

40. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

41. “If you are lonely when you are alone, you are in bad company.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

42. “If a man would move the world, he must first move himself.“ – Socrates

43. “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

44. “In 20 years, you will be more disappointed by what you didn’t do than by what you did.“ – Mark Twain

liveworkanywhere

45. “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain

46. “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

47. “I travel not to cross countries off a list, but to ignite passionate affairs with destinations.” – Nyssa P. Chopra

48. “Long-term travel is not an act of rebellion against society; it’s an act of common sense within society.” – Rolf Potts

49. “The most beautiful in the world is, of course, the world itself.” – Wallace Stevens

50. “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.” – Steve Case

liveworkanywhere

51. “A year from now you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb

52. “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher

53. “Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret.” – Oscar Wilde

54. “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

55. “Vocation is the place where your deep gladness meets the world’s deep need.” – Frederick Buechner

56. “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” – George Eliot

We hope you enjoyed these digital nomad quotes! These words have never failed to inspire us to go on a daring adventure, explore secret destinations and unknown lands, or just wander around this wonderful world, with no fixed plans reveling in the location independent lifestyle we chose to live.

If these quotes about digital nomads motivated you to make some changes in your own life, be sure to check out our blog guide on How to Become a Digital Nomad. It features tips and strategies on flourishing with a digital nomad lifestyle, including a guide on remote jobs, how to travel light, and ways to choose one’s destination for first timers.

What about you? What are your favorite nomadic life quotes, and why? Share them with us in the comments below.

A Pre-Travel Checklist – Some things to do before traveling

Pre travel list - Live work anywhere

There are a few things I do each time before I leave on a trip to make sure that I have no hiccups and can continue to keep my schedule, life, and work – in continuous flow.  Here is my travel checklist and some tips I’d like to share.

1. Check Schedule & Calendar 

Staying productive from anywhere is the true goal of a remote worker, freelancer, or digital nomad.  Your clients, schedule, and calendar matter.

Plan For Existing Meetings

First, take a look at your calendar to see what meetings you have coming up.  Make sure that you plan your flight and all your time in transit around that meeting or call.  Leave yourself enough of a buffer between flights, metro stations, taxis, ubers, etc so that you can get there in time to have your call and actually have the head space to make sure it’s effective.

Everyone is different but you never know if the taxi will be late or overcharge you and your head is in haggle mode when it should be in sales mode.  Be mentally prepared and give yourself the time to focus on the call in a quiet space with good wi-fi.

Set Your Upcoming Schedule

calendar liveworkanywhere pre travel planning Next, decide if you need to schedule any other meetings that week.

Make sure your flight and travel plans are scheduled around your meetings and that you will have strong wi-fi and quiet, low-noise for meetings.

Figure out how you will work around the upcoming meetings.  If you’ve committed to being there, it’s important to show up, and you need to plan accordingly – or rearrange early.

Confirmation Meetings

Even more importantly for travel, confirm your clients or business partners will be there (it’s a pain to reschedule, especially on the road, beside the obvious fact that people need to honor and respect each others’ schedules).

I don’t always tell my clients that I’m traveling.  Not because I’m hiding anything but to keep them from panicking.

This is a double edged sword.  If I say I’m leaving, they tend to panic.  It’s that knee-jerk reaction that we are still programmed to believe that traveling means shutting off.  This is changing.  Soon, clients will just say “okay, safe travels, talk to you at our next meeting.”  Some clients already just know and say something like “… wherever you are in the world.”

Set Expectations & Be Accountable

The truth is – just show up.  Be accountable to yourself and to others.  In general, meetings are canceled or rescheduled all the time.  If you’re not traveling, yet you are in the same city and had to reschedule, it’s viewed as normal.  But, if you tell people that you’re traveling then people tend to think your’e on vacation and you rescheduled for that reason, which portrays irresponsibility and can backfire on you.

Traveling while working personally makes me even more accountable.  I don’t like to waste my own time especially when on the road.

Practicing integrity and being a person of your word, and consistency, is what is important.  Not the place.  Meeting goals, deadlines, and being accountable are what matter most.

2. Bring Food & Water 

You never know when you’ll have an extended layover, the drinking fountain breaks down, or the stores close early.  Make sure you have enough supplies for a just-in-case situation.  Plus, it’s nice to have snacks and not be parched.

First thing I do (after security if in an airport) when traveling is to fill my water bot Brita-Water-Filter-Bottle-liveworkanywhere-pretravel-planning tle.  Even though you have to empty it before security if you’re getting on the plane, you never know when you’ll be stuck without something to drink.  So find a water station and fill up.

Ideally bring a water bottle that has a filter, like a Brita filter, so that you can safely drink most tap water, depending on where you go.

Buy snack food.  Packing nuts, dried fruits and granola bars ensures you’ll never be stuck starving.  They take a long time to go bad, plus you can avoid the $20 dollar sandwich at the airport.

3. Banking & Financial 

Set Travel Alert

Important – set your travel alert with your bank.  Have you ever tried using your card only to find out it’s not working?  It always happens at the worst time – when you’re about to pay for your next meal (that you’ve already eaten!), about to buy that sweater you’ve had your eye on, or need money to pay for a taxi.  Figuring out how to call or contact your bank when you’re out and about overseas can be an especially fun challenge.

Setting an alert ahead of time will avoid all of this!

Reciprocity

Additionally, look online at which bank(s) offers reciprocity so you can save on ATM fees.

bank-reciprocity-liveworkanywhere-pretravel-planning

For example, I bank (partly) with Bank of America.  You can google “set travel alert with <add your bank name here>” to find out if you are able to save on fees with your bank.

There are some credit cards, like the Delta Sky Miles card from American Express that allows you to save on international fees completely.  For ATM cards, check with your bank.  To the right is an example from Bank of America.

https://www.bankofamerica.com/deposits/manage/how-to-pay-when-traveling-abroad.go

4. Keep Local Currency Pocket Change  

Bring enough cash to cover at least the way to the airport / train station and enough for the return trip when you land.  I usually bring $20 USD or Euros each way for the airport and the subway or bus trip.   If there’s some left over, I get to buy local snacks.   pocket-change-liveworkanywhere

Another $20 USD in my bag for when I land.  Enough for breakfast and a bus ticket.

If I have local currency ahead of time, I usually carry about the equivalent of $20 for when I land.

If you don’t have local currency, all you have to do is pull cash out of the ATM at the airport wherever you land.  The rate of exchange may be a little high (unless it’s on the reciprocal bank list) but it’s generally cheaper than going to the currency exchange bureau.  When I land, I suggest taking out around $100-$200 USD or the local equivalent.  This is enough to get you started with transportation, food / coffee, and a little extra for the unexpected.

Try to pay with a card (now that your travel alert is set) and save the cash for incidentals and until you arrive at your destination and until you know the next ATM spot where you’ll do your next cash withdrawal.

5. Necessities Checklist  

This can vary but for me the necessities are:

  • passport-us-liveworkanywherepassport
  • ticket booked with confirmation (and make sure I check in online beforehand to avoid long lines)
  • credit cards (1 main, 1 for backup)
  • laptop and power cord
  • international power adaptor that covers the country(ies) I’ll be going to
  • money ($20 usd each way)
  • map (or picture of map) of transportation, i.e. subway maps for New York City
  • smartphone
  • contact information while abroad dispersed to family, friends, and clients
  • bathroom kit i.e. toothbrush (though I can buy this when I land if I forget it)

I always have my necessities with me.  I can leave from anywhere and go anywhere at pretty much any time with just a backpack.  What I don’t have I pick up when I arrive, like toiletries.  It’s always fun to buy shampoo in which I recognize the brand but cannot understand the label.

6. Accommodations Check  

I am pretty adventurous but I like to know where I’ll sleep when I land, especially if I am jet lagged from a long i accommodations-packing-list-liveworkanywhere nternational flight.  Usually arranging the first day or first week in a place will give you time to get oriented – and you can go from there!

One day versus one week is very different.  I tend to book only one day if my destination is not so far away and there’s not a huge time or cultural change.  I will book up to one week if it’s farther away, there’s a big time change, and if there is a language or huge cultural change.

I landed in South Africa today, for example, and I’ve booked an AirBnB apartment for 8 days to not only see the city but to get myself situated and talk to locals about where to go next.

So, fellow traveler, what’s on your pre-travel checklist?  Do you have an item on your necessities list that you don’t see listed?  What’s your priority when landing in a new place?

The True Cost of Working While Traveling: Budget for Remote Live & Work

Digital Nomad Financial Budgeting Worksheet

I stayed in a hostel, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The cost was $22 Canadian per night, or USD $20 at the time.  It was rated the number. 1 hostel in the world and it’s one of the best I’ve ever stayed in.

If I were to stay for 1 month that means $600 USD / month.  The hostel has a kitchen with free coffee.  That saves me $5 per day on coffee or tea, or $150 USD per month.

I did go out to try the local food at the non-tourist (therefore lower cost and better food) restaurants.  But, eating like the locals, I paid $7 for a sandwich versus $40 for an overpriced meal.

Groceries can be as cheap or expensive as you want.  I like to buy in small quantities, only the basics and only what I need (see my list here).  A little cheese and bread can go a long way.  Cooking spaghetti at the hostel is not only cheap but who doesn’t like spaghetti?

I spent $16 one week on groceries for a loaf of bread, 2 cheeses, carrots, tomatoes, blackberries, and a little chocolate.

So, in total:

1) Rent: $600 Coffee/Tea: $0 Groceries:  $16 / week or $80 / month (rounded up)

2) Restaurant/Pub: 3x/week or $50, $200/mo (rounded up)

Total = $880 / month living expenses

So, for approximately $1,000 / month or less I can live in another city and live well.

Here’s a spreadsheet where you can plot out your own monthly living expenses in various cities.  This spreadsheet allows you to play around with personal expenses, business expenses, a graph of savings and individual or group pricing by country.  Check it out.

lwa-digital-nomad-financial-budgeting-sheet

 

I don’t buy souvenirs and I generally don’t take overpriced tours.  I like to learn the language and the culture and live like a local.  Unless there is a must-see (a must-see for my interests, that is) then I skip it.

The idea that traveling is expensive is when thinking like a tourist.  Of course hotels, going out to eat, and tours all add up – and quickly.  And you return home exhausted, with the same amount – if not more, stress, with a suitcase full of trinkets for your friends and relatives who probably will not have nearly the same response to them as you did while visiting.  Spending time finding souvenirs is exhausting and takes so much of your trip.

Think of living and working from anywhere as a change in your habits and simply a change in location.  Putting yourself in an environment where you live like you would at home will not only help you relax and de-stress, but will open your mind to new experiences, cultures, foods, languages.  Take your time.  You are not on vacation, you are living – with a change of scenery.  Take time to enjoy it.  And live simply.

Just by keeping your same routine at home, or similar, you can live the same in other countries, generally with less.

Use this simple chart to help you calculate your expenses.

 

Mobility Criteria – 15 Tips for Running Your Business Remotely

15 "mobility criteria" for leading a digital nomad lifestyle.

15 Mobility Criteria That Will Help You Successfully Live and Work Anywhere

If you’ve followed my blog at all, then you know that I can literally live and work anywhere in the world that I choose. In fact, right now, you’ll likely find me in one of two locations: New York or Seattle. Although they may be on different sides of the U.S., I am able to call each one “home” due to the fact that I follow what I call my mobility criteria.

Mobility criteria are the criteria that I’ve found necessary for staying mobile and keeping my business running with the best results, no matter where I am physically. So, if you have a goal to do the same, here they are for your consideration:

  1. Create a schedule with milestones. This keeps you productive so that you are able to hit deadlines and goals. So, think about the things that you need to get done and create milestones to ensure they are done on time.
  2. Develop a daily routine. Certainly, you don’t have to do everything the same day in and day out as that would defeat the purpose of living and working anywhere, but having the same basic schedule will go a long way toward keeping you on task.
  3. Become part of the community. Taking part in the local community means joining Meetup or digital nomad groups and truly taking part in the area you are in. After all, that is the joy of living and working anywhere, isn’t it?
  4. Strong, consistent Internet. Of course, in order to stay in touch with the rest of the world, you’re going to need Internet. And not Internet that goes in and out, but strong Internet that works when you need it.
  5. A quiet work space. It is difficult to work in a place that is active and chaotic, so you’ll want to find someplace that you can go that is quiet and relatively free from distraction.
  6.  Consistent power source. You can have the best equipment in the world, but if you don’t have power, it isn’t going to matter. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you have access to a consistent power source so that you’re not literally left sitting in the dark.
  7. Minimalism and flexibility. The less you need to operate your business, the easier it will be to do so from anywhere. This keeps you flexible and lets you take care of day to day tasks quickly and easily.
  8. Virtual money management. You’ll need to be able to take care of your finances while traveling, so you’ll need to set up some sort of virtual money management system that allows you to send and receive money effectively.
  9. Communication and productivity tools. Generally, this means having the necessary programs and tools that you need to keep you on track and in touch. For instance, some communication options to consider include Skype and Google Voice.
  10. Virtual team. When you create a virtual team and system, you can take care of business and stay in touch, even when you’re on opposite sides of the world.
  11. Software product or hybrid. Be sure to take any software that you need with you so that you can access everything required to adequately run your company.
  12. Backup software and hardware. There is nothing worse than being in an unfamiliar place and having your software or hardware fail; therefore, having backup devices can go a long way to keeping you working—even if your electronics have decided not to.
  13. Cloud storage. By putting your information on the cloud, you can have access to it anywhere from any device.
  14. Time Zone management. Admittedly, it isn’t always easy to operate a business when you’re in a different time zone, but it isn’t impossible either. This may require moving around your work day from time to time in order to tend to business when clients and/or team members are available.
  15. Safe surroundings. Although this is listed last, you aren’t going to get much done if you’re worried about your safety. This means finding a good place to lay your head, such as a hostel, and having your own key. It also means acquainting yourself with safe modes of transportation in that area. Sounds simple, I know, but you don’t want to overlook this basic necessity.

LiveWorkAnywhere is based on these criteria, as is AnyPass, a web based system that is designed to help you stay connected no matter where you are in the world. That makes both of these sites great resources to keeping you mobile.

And if you’re not yet mobile, but would like to learn more about how to leave your 9 to 5 behind and earn money while traveling the world, feel free to join this free webinar. It’s time to start living the life you want to live…today!

15 "mobility criteria" for leading a digital nomad lifestyle.

How baby boomers can work remotely from the Internet

baby boomer on laptop

If you are a baby boomer, then you face some unique issues when it comes to work. Those of you who have had a job for 20 or 30 years (or more) are usually ready to retire, but aren’t necessarily ready to not work either because you don’t want a lot of free time on your hands or you can’t afford to financially.

Some of you may have even lost your job due to the economic downturn and now find yourself trying to compete with people half your age for a job you really don’t want. What are you to do? Have you considered working remotely?

Baby Boomers and Working Remotely

Luckily, the Internet spans most areas of the globe, allowing you to work from anywhere. You can set your own schedule and create your own routine (allowing you to work around family and other obligations) right from the comfort of your own home.

Additionally, you have built up certain skill sets, which I would argue are 100% transferable to the LiveWorkAnywhere model. This greatly increases your online work options as a baby boomer looking for a full or part-time career.

By 2020, freelancers are expected to make up 50% of the full time workforce.  The number of freelance workers is projected to outpace full-time workers by 2020. The economy is rapidly shifting to a more contingent workforce, with recent estimates by the Freelancers Union of 42 million American independent workers, up from 10.3 million workers in 2005.”  – Forbes

There are several jobs in which you do not have to actually be there in person to perform.  If you had a career as a trademark attorney, for example, perhaps you could transfer your skills to consulting and meet your clients via web and phone.

If you were a sales executive, get rid of the car, use a US-based number and make calls from wherever you live. You can even hire a team to do the majority of the work for you while you focus on client acquisition.

Perhaps there is another service you can offer to your existing client base? Something you can do without even leaving your house. Baby boomers have many online work options, allowing them to live and work remotely.

Telecommuting is not a buzzword, it’s a reality.  You start with your dream and your skills and work backwards to find flexible work that you will enjoy. That’s all fine, you say, but what if you don’t have time to start with your dream? What if you need something NOW?

Transferrable Skills for Baby Boomers Looking to Work Online

If you are in need of augmenting or supplementing your income, there are several online positions you can do right now from home with just a computer. Here is a list of skill sets that are great for remote, online work:

Less specialized:

  • Admin support
  • Bookkeeping
  • Writing
  • Copywriting
  • Proofreading
  • Paralegal
  • Translation
  • Virtual assistant
  • Telemarketing
  • Telesales
  • Blogging support
  • Market research
  • Advertising support
  • Customer Service
  • Medical research

More specialized:

  • IT & Programming
  • Graphic Design
  • Animation
  • Online Sales
  • Accounting
  • Blogging
  • SEO
  • Advertising
  • Technical writing
  • Consulting
  • Patent / Trademark / Legal
  • Medical equipment consulting

So What Are Your First Steps as a Baby Boomer Who Wants to Work Remotely?

This is where the work begins, so here is a step-by-step guide that will make your online work process as simple as possible:

1. Build Your Online Profile

Are you on LinkedIn?  If you are, is your profile current?  How many connections do you have?  You should have at least 500+ so, if you don’t, then you need to get busy. Join groups in your field and network with others. Connect with other baby boomers who work remotely in your field so you can learn from them.

2.  Build Your Professional Profile

What are your skills?  To answer this, simply take your resume and transform it into a business portfolio.  If you were an attorney, for instance, make a list of all of the professional services that you would offer and include some key milestones from your career.  Package yourself to market yourself.

3. Transfer Your Profile

Create a website (there are several ways to make a free website – weebly.com, wix.com, wordpress.org, squarespace.com and Google sites, just to name a few) where you can showcase all of your talents.  If you don’t want to spend time creating and marketing a site yet, then you can at least sign up on a site like Elance.com where you can build your own profile and have them market it for you within their freelancer marketplace.

4. Build Your Routine

Know how many hours you are available, the wage you want to make (be sure to look around so you are price competitive with the market – too low is okay to start, but doesn’t show high quality; too much and you’ll drive potential customers away), and what your monthly revenue goals are. The more you know what you want, the easier it is to create the routine to get it.

5. Get Started

Nothing new is ever easy.  You will be challenged.  But you spent your entire professional career meeting challenges head-on and look how far you’ve come.  You can transfer your skills and create supplemental income or even prepare to hit the road with your new business and be successful no matter what stage of the game you are in – even as a baby boomer.

Tell me – what other questions do you have?  Where should we dig in deeper?

Please leave a comment below.

 

Can I text via SMS? A Guide to Sending & Receiving Texts Internationally

Woman on a Bench in Paris Texting

To help you understand how to use your cell when traveling overseas (and what it means if you do), I’ve addressed some of my most frequently asked questions so you know exactly what to expect if you decide to keep in touch with family and friends via your mobile phone while on your next far-away adventure.

How to Text Internationally for Free

Questions answered in this post:

Can I Text Someone in Another Country for Free over WiFi?

Usually, to send an SMS or text message, you need to be connected to a cell tower. That’s not always the case though. Times are changing and cell phone carriers are making it easier than ever to stay connected.

For example, T-Mobile has introduced texting and calling over Wi-Fi. This allows you to communicate using Wi-Fi as though it were a cellular connection. You still need to be careful though. Just because you’re on Wi-Fi doesn’t mean your carrier won’t charge you.

Your best option to communicate over Wi-Fi while overseas is to use a third-party messaging app. This will allow you to communicate with your friends and family for free – as long as you’re on Wi-Fi.

Will My Phone Use Data When I Am Connected To Wi-Fi?

It depends. Your phone cannot use both cellular data and Wi-Fi at the same time. Your phone may have settings, however, that allow you to use cellular data to connect to the Internet instead of Wi-Fi when you have a poor connection.

For example, iPhones have a feature called “Wi-Fi Assist”. When toggled, you’ll stay connected to the Internet (via cellular data) if your Wi-Fi slows down.

The good news is, according to Apple, your iPhone won’t make the switch when you’re data roaming. 

How Do I Turn Off My Cell Phone Data So I Don’t Get Charged Roaming Fees While Overseas?

To understand roaming fees, it’s important to first understand what cellular roaming is. 

Roaming is when your phone uses cellular data to access the Internet using a different network than your carrier. Depending on your carrier plan this setting may or may not be included with your plan. If it’s not, and you’re traveling overseas, you could incur some very large fees.

Even if you aren’t actually using your phone to make calls or send SMS messages, many apps use data in the background without you realizing it.

To avoid charges from roaming, you have a few settings on your phone depending on your needs:

  • Airplane Mode
  • Turn off cellular data
  • Turn off roaming

Although turning off cellular data and data roaming will prevent your phone from using data, these won’t necessarily stop phone calls and text messages. To completely avoid these costs overseas be sure to set your phone to AIRPLANE MODE. 

Airplane Mode

The simplest way to ensure you won’t be charged for roaming is to put your phone in Airplane Mode. Airplane mode will prevent you from using cellular data abroad as well as receiving SMS messages and phone calls. Additionally, with Airplane Mode on, you still can enable Wi-Fi which allows you to access the Internet without worrying about data roaming charges. Here’s how to enable Airplane Mode based on which smartphone you have:

  • iPhone– Go to Settings and the very top option is Airplane Mode. Set this to ON and wait for the airplane icon to appear. Then go to the option below it for Wi-Fi. You can set this to ON so it picks up any network that is available; otherwise, just leave it off for now.  Airplane Mode Iphone From Settings

    Additionally, you can simply swipe up from the bottom of your screen and tap the top left airplane icon. If you wish to enable Wi-Fi, simply tap the button below the airplane button and wait for it to turn blue. Airplane Mode Toggle Iphone
  • Android– Click Menu and go to Settings. Under Wireless & Networks, select MORE. You will see that the top option is Airplane Mode. Check the box and wait for the ON button to turn blue.

Turn Off Cellular Data

The next best way to avoid data charges is to completely shut off cellular data. This restricts all cellular data to Wi-Fi instead, keeping you from using data unintentionally for things like emails, browsing apps, and app notifications. With cellular data shut off you can still receive text messages and phone calls, which means if your plan charges you for these, you should just turn your phone to Airplane Mode.

To turn off cellular data on an iPhone go to Settings -> Cellular and toggle the Cellular Data switch to off. Additionally, you can also swipe up from the bottom and toggle the button next to the airplane from green to grey. Turn Off Cellular Data Iphone

On an Android, you have more optionsThere are also tools that allow you to warn you when you’re approaching your monthly limit. You can also choose to use apps only over Wi-Fi.

Turn Off Roaming 

Turning off roaming means that you won’t access other cellular networks when you’re out of your cell phone carrier area. Depending on your plan, you may be able to roam without being charged. 

Better safe than sorry though, it’s good to also put your phone in Airplane Mode when abroad.

To turn off roaming on an iPhone, go to Settings -> Cellular -> Cellular Data Options. Toggle the roaming switch from on to off.

To see how to turn off roaming on Android you can visit here.

(Note: If you do not have a smartphone (i.e. iPhone, Android, or Windows phone) or a phone that allows you to turn off your data and still access Wi-Fi, then you should turn your phone completely OFF while traveling.)

If My Data Is Turned Off, Will I Still Get Charged?

As long as your phone’s data is turned off, then you cannot be charged for any data roaming charges, even with Wi-Fi enabled. You may still be able to send and receive phone calls and text messages. This means depending on your cell phone plan, you might still get charged. To be completely sure you won’t be charged, you should enable Airplane Mode.

In other words, the safest way to use your phone abroad is while you are in Airplane Mode. No carrier fees will apply, and you still can enable Wi-Fi.

What Is The Difference Between Cellular Data and Wi-Fi?

The difference between cellular data and Wi-Fi is that cellular data is transmitted over your cell phone network (think AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint), whereas Wi-Fi data is over a wireless Internet network, such as what you would have when using Starbucks Wi-Fi.

 

Should I Get A Local SIM Card or International SIM Card?

If you’re planning on using your cell phone overseas, it is probably a good idea to change your SIM card. You may also need to unlock your phone. If your carrier doesn’t have an option for extended stays, then you’re going to need a new SIM card. When getting a SIM card for international travel, you have two options:

  • International SIM Card
  • Local SIM Card

While they both have their own benefits and drawbacks, international SIM cards are ideal if you plan on moving around while overseas, while a local SIM card is great if you just plan on spending all of your time in one country. Here’s some more information on both: 

International SIM Card

When you’re planning to travel abroad, international SIM cards are usually the best way to go. They’re best used by someone who is traveling to multiple countries, as it’s difficult to keep track of phone numbers, and data roaming can get expensive.

With an International SIM card, you get a designated phone number, and you can manage your entire account in one place. Additionally, an international SIM card is great because you can get everything set up and ready to go before you even leave – without any language barriers.

Although they can be slightly more expensive than a local SIM card, typically the small increase in cost is worth avoiding the hassle of getting a local SIM when you arrive in your destination.

One SIM Card and World SIM are some of the possible choices you have when selecting an international SIM card.  OnceSimCard

Local SIM Card

Another option if you want to get Internet while overseas and not roaming, is to get a local SIM card with a data plan. Most SIM cards can be purchased at a local gas station, drug store, or, of course, your one of your cell phone carrier’s stores or kiosks.

What Is the Difference Between a Local SIM Card and a Regular SIM Card?

The difference between a local SIM card and your regular SIM on your phone is that, with a local SIM, you will have a local number. This means that friends and family trying to reach you will have to text you on your local number.

For example, let’s say you go to Berlin, Germany and you get a local Vodafone SIM card. Your phone number will begin with “49,” which is the country code. It’s a great option for texting within the city, but not such a great option for contacting mom.

You do have a few options when getting a local plan, though.

  • Buy a phone with a SIM card that you can recharge. These usually start at around USD $20 and you can add credit as you go.
  • Buy an unlocked cell phone and purchase a SIM card. I currently have an unlocked iPhone 7 Plus with a T-Mobile SIM card on the US-based Magenta plan. This means that I don’t have to change out to a new SIM card when I arrive in a new country and I get unlimited data and texting, Wi-Fi calling, and in-flight texting. Plus, if my plan goes over, data doesn’t shut off, it just slows down.This can come in very handy when you would have otherwise been stuck with zero Internet. Also, with the T-Mobile plan in the US, you can call many other countries for only $15 per month, and international texting is free.

Here are some examples of local SIM card providers:

  • Mexico – TelCel (wider coverage) and Movistar (cheaper)
  • Germany – Vodafone, E-Plus, and Telekom
  • USA – T-Mobile, AT&T, and Boost

Can I Use My Phone As A Mobile Hotspot While Overseas?

Most major carriers allow you to use your compatible smartphone to act as a mobile hotspot. You just have to turn your phone on as a hotspot and connect to it via your wireless device. 

However, as of this writing, I carry my mobile phone as a hotspot, as well as carry 2 additional mobile hotspots depending on whether I’m traveling in Europe or in the Americas.

If you decide to use your phone as a mobile hotspot when traveling overseas, be sure your plan includes data roaming, otherwise you’ll be racking up a huge bill.

What is Mi-Fi?

Mi-Fi is a brand name for a wireless device that functions as a mobile Wi-Fi router. Your device may or may not technically be a Mi-Fi device, but the term has become shorthand for any mobile hotspot.

A mobile hotspot will typically work in a wide range of countries. Many of these devices use “virtual” SIM cards that allow you to change regions with just a few buttons.

Does my Mi-Fi work in other countries?

It isn’t enough to simply have a mobile hotspot, you need to be certain that your device is actually going to work in the places you travel. Many countries actually have different service frequencies, which means a lot of devices (even “unlocked” ones) may not work all over the globe. When you purchase a Mi-Fi device, be sure to check how many frequencies it supports. The more it supports, the better it will do on your globetrotting adventures.

Subscription vs. non-subscription Mi-Fi devices

Traditional Mi-Fi devices are non-subscription. You insert your SIM card and the device creates a mobile Wi-Fi network with a password that you can connect your devices to. However, in the last few years, a new breed of Mi-Fi device has become prominent: the subscription model.

Think of subscription Mi-Fi like a hotspot crossed with a global data plan. With these devices, you have the option to swap out the SIM card associated with your global plan and replace it with a local SIM, giving you 100 percent control over when you use your plan data and when you don’t.

How to Text Overseas: What Services or Apps Can I Use?

Typically, you aren’t technically sending SMS messages or “text” messages when you have Wi-Fi on and data off, but you can still send text-like messages to your family and friends using services like these.

Even now with Wi-Fi enabled texting and calling, your provider still may charge you the same as for a normal text message

(Note: If you have AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, or a regular T-Mobile cellular plan and you set your phone to Airplane Mode, you will not be able to send text (SMS) messages.)

To text with a family member or friend while abroad, make sure your Wi-Fi is turned ON and that you both have one of the following services on your phones:

How to Send Texts Over WiFi

iMessage 

This option causes the most confusion and the reason is that if you and five of your friends all have iPhones, you can “text” each other as if nothing ever changed. However, you aren’t actually texting; you’re just using Apple’s messaging service to send correspondence back and forth over a Wi-Fi connection. Therefore, you can only converse with others who have Apple products.

Does iMessage Work Internationally?

With iMessage, you can still receive messages abroad while data is turned off. And if you’re in Airplane Mode but have Wi-Fi set to “on,” then you can receive iMessages which appear like text messages but they will be in blue versus green, like this: iMessage Blue vs. Green Messages

Ultimately, you will not receive the green message when you are abroad and your cell phone data is turned off. So, if you have data turned on and you see green messages – look out! You may be getting charged insane rates. Remember, Airplane Mode – on; Wi-Fi– on.

Google Voice

 This one has been around for awhile and is still quite functional, but not the most popular option. To use it, simply download the Google Voice app, sign up for a Google Voice phone number (free in U.S.), and you can send messages back and forth from that number. They will appear on your phone via the app, allowing you to send SMS messages overseas as much as you’d like!

Google Hangouts may start to soon replace Google Voice, but for now, it’s still a great option and I use it all the time. At the very least, it’s like having a second number on the same phone so you have two options. Give friends and clients your Google Voice number so you’ll always have a local US number for people to text you.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp became very popular when it was acquired by Facebook for $19 billion. To utilize it, just download Whats App, find your friends, and send messages back and forth. It’s not the first of its kind, but it is fairly popular and growing in popularity. If your friends are tech or travel savvy, or if they/you are European, you’ll most likely find them here. It’s a must-have app for travelers or for communicating and texting your friends overseas.

To use WhatsApp (and all the other apps), you must be connected to Wi-Fi.

A kind of fun feature of WhatsApp is that you can send MMS, or picture messages, for free as well – all over Wi-Fi.The images will also automatically be added to your photo album on your phone (at least on iPhone). No more asking your friend to share an album with you and no more having to ‘save image’; it just shows up.

Viber

 Not dissimilar to Google Voice and WhatsApp, Viber takes the best of the two and combines them. Once you download the app, you find your friends who are also using Viber, and you can connect immediately. The nice thing about this particular messaging app is that, not only can you send free messages back and forth inside of the app, but you can also make free calls. Viber even uses your cell phone number as your identifier.

There are a growing number of options for sending messages to family and friends, and these are just a few. For instance, GroupMe is another popular group messaging app that allows you to communicate with a number of people at once (and you can still use emoji!).

For more messaging options while traveling overseas, I suggest you read: Top 7 Communication Apps to Use While Travelling.

How Can I receive SMS Messages Overseas? 

When traveling overseas, you have a few different options for receiving SMS messages:

Option 1 – International plans via US carriers
For most providers, you have an option to use an international plan. Here’s some common providers, and some of the options available for international plans:

T-Mobile:
The T-Mobile Magenta plan is great for short trips, where you don’t plan on staying abroad for an extended period plan. With the T-Mobile Magenta plan, texting and data is unlimited in 210 countries and nations. This plan also also include calling landlines in 70+ countries, or calling and texting to cell phones in 30+ countries. You can check to see what kind of coverage you will have here.

Verizon:
Verizon offers multiple plans for either short or long term international trips international plans depending on how connected you need to be.

If you’re having a difficult time deciding which plan you need, Verizon also has a great guide to help you pick out what plan or upgrade you will need for your travels.

Sprint:
With Sprint, you have free unlimited SMS and basic data abroad with any smartphone enabled plan in 200+ countries. You only have to pay $.25/call while abroad. 

AT&T:
AT&T offers a passport plan for either short term trip or for extended international stays. 

Option 2 – Google Voice Phone Number.

If you’re looking to ditch your cell phone contract, Google voice is a great option. This allows you to be able to send and receive text messages and phone calls via Wi-Fi, making this a much cheaper option. All you have to do is set it up and tell your friends and family about your new phone number.

Additionally, if you’re not on Wi-Fi, Google voice will transcribe the audio so you can read it later. You can use the google voice app to text or you can text via Wi-Fi anytime you’re on Wi-Fi. 

Can You Text on Airplane Mode?

This varies depending on each provider, but as a general rule, anytime you need to have your cellular data shut off for more than 2 days (48) hours, you may not receive the messages sent to you. Each provider will have a unique “retry” period, in which it will attempt to send the message. If the message is not delivered within this period, the provider will stop trying to send the message, and it will be discarded.

Summary Of Texting Overseas:

Just to hammer the main points home –

DO NOT send SMS messages or text messages while traveling overseas unless you want to pay out the nose for them. (Also remember that it’s usually not possible to send SMS over Wi-Fi.)

You CAN receive SMS messages/texts, but you might pay for them. So turn off your cell phone data by putting your phone in Airplane Mode and turning on Wi-Fi.

You CAN receive messages (non-SMS) over Wi-Fi, for free.

You CANNOT send or receive SMS messages (“texts”) via your cell phone carrier when you are in Airplane Mode.

Eventually, we may not even need cell phone carriers to keep in touch but, until then and until you get rid of your cell phone plan, be careful of extra charges when traveling overseas. They’re simply not worth it when you have so many free options available.

Again, just remember that SMS is always associated with your carrier (AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc.) and a message can be either a text message synonymous with SMS or a non-SMS text message image, or other form of communication.


What Have YOU Learned about Sending SMS or Text Messages Overseas? What Would You Like to Learn?

Do you have other questions or see anything I’m missing? Please feel free to drop your questions or comments below.

Work from Anywhere! The CoWorking Movement

It is estimated that by the year 2020, approximately 50% of the workforce will be working online. While this may offer a large majority of individuals the ability to work from home, this isn’t always the preferable option.

Thus, the coworking movement.

What is Coworking?

Perhaps the best way to describe coworking is to think of it as an office-type of setting that you can go to everyday to do your work, but you don’t have to go through the hassle or expense of buying or creating it on your own.

Although they aren’t very well-known by a lot of freelance workers and startups, more and more coworking spaces are popping up all over the globe. In fact, I have personally been working out of WeWork in New York City for over three years.

WeWork started as a small, invite-only incubation space in Soho called WeWork Labs. Since 2011, it has grown to 15 locations (10 in New York, 2 in Boston, 2 in Washington DC and 1 in Seattle) and each one houses approximately 200 startups.

Here’s a quick video clip from AFP News, who interviewed me in a piece on coworking spaces in DC:

WeWork Washington DC - CoWorking Movement - LiveWork Anywhere

Advantages of Coworking

There are a number of distinct advantages to picking up your laptop and going someplace else to work. Here are just a few of them to consider if you’re contemplating making coworking a part of your LiveWorkAnywhere life:

  • You get out of the house. It may seem like working from home is great, but the reality is that the four walls can close in on you very easily if you hardly ever get out. Plus, if you have an active family, sometimes the distractions can be too much, making it hard to concentrate and causing you to potentially miss important deadlines.
  • They’re cost effective. Other than the cost of the coffee that you drink, coworking spaces are totally free. This saves you from having to find an office space to rent, which has the ability to eat up all of your income, depending on where you live.
  • You have hi-speed Wifi Internet. This coworking advantage is huge for people who either live in areas that don’t get good service or simply can’t afford the higher speed options. Access to a super-fast Internet is something no online working should go without.
  • They’re good for the environment. Why take up precious space on this planet and build a bunch of offices when you can house a large number of people in one place and they can still accomplish the same thing? This makes coworking very earth friendly.
  • You get to network with other entrepreneurs and startups. Perhaps one of the biggest advantages of co-working is that you get to meet like minded people. You can share stories, tips, and advice as you decide how you’re going to conquer the world.

Coworking is the next new trend and one that isn’t likely to go away anytime soon.

Where do you cowork? What is your favorite coworking space and why?

If you’re not yet coworking, what would you look for in a space?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!