However, before packing your laptop or iPad in your bag and heading off, the following are some handy points to remember before you take your next holiday. These are helpful hints for anybody looking to take an enjoyable break, make the most of their time off and keep a firm hand or a sharp eye on their business as well!
1. Remember your wiring
Take full stock of all the electronic devices you plan to take with you- laptop, iPad, phone, personal organiser etc. Make sure you have not just the charger leads for all of them packed and ready to take with you, but also ensure you've got whatever international socket adaptors you need. Not only may it be difficult to find suitable adaptors available close to where you're staying, but there are few things more annoying than having to buy a brand new laptop lead or mobile phone charger because your fully functional one is still sitting on the living room couch at home!
2. Check timezone differences and notify regular business contacts/ associates
So you've had a memorable day on holiday, followed up with a hearty dinner and perhaps a couple of drinks to wind up, you've just showered and are now lying in your surprisingly comfortable hotel bed, exhausted but perfectly content with the world and ready to sleep.
The last thing you want is to be woken up at 3am by a business related call from somebody back home (because it's only 2 in the arvo there!), and then have to explain to them that you're currently overseas, in a voice that sounds like a cross between somebody on nitrous oxide an an amnesia patient. Not only does it cost you a decent nights' sleep, but taking a business- related call in such a state is not a good idea unless you have a great (or long-lasting) working relationship with the person in question.
The alternative is to switch your phone off, but the downside is the risk of losing a great business opportunity simply because you were unavailable. To reduce your chances of being caught out by timezone differences, let the people most likely to call you for business-related purposes know when/ where you are going and what times of the day you will be available to talk. Or even better yet…
3. Hire a virtual assistant.
Hiring a virtual assistant doesn't just guarantee you peace of mind when your head hits the pillow (or a relaxing day with the phone switched off), but they are cheap to hire and there are plenty of sites available, outsourcing or otherwise, that can link you up with a professional virtual assistant to take any incoming calls for you and pass on messages between whatever times you request.
Ideally, while on holiday you can arrange it so that any calls that would reach you from 7 in the evening until 10am the following morning (as an example), will be forwarded on to your virtual assistant, who will then take a message from anybody who calls for you, and then notify you at the soonest time appropriate. Hiring a virtual assistant is an easy solution for managing your business communications while on holiday, and it gives you greater peace of mind.
4. Take business cards or other appropriate marketing material
Sure, your holiday might be entirely for pleasure, but the Scouts have the right idea with their motto: Be Prepared. You don't know who you might sit next to on a plane, on a train, get stuck waiting in a cab line with, overhear in a restaurant or bump into for the first time in years while leaving the hotel lobby. Business cards weigh less than coins- you can afford to take at least a few of them without it being a hassle.
Think of it this way- having those few extra grams worth of business cards, neatly stored and ready to hand out, handed out to the right person who you weren't expecting to meet while on holiday- could lead to countless kilograms of extra cash for your business. Stranger things have happened…
5. Double check your phone plan
Many local providers have the option of switching to a roaming network while overseas, but unless you know for certain what the data rates are on your plan, double check this before you leave. There can be sizeable differences between countries in regards to data roaming or calling rates, and if much of your business depends on phone usage, you could get a nasty surprise in your next phone bill if you don't take the safety first approach.
The upside of taking the safety-first approach is that you don't end up using all those kilograms of extra cash (generated by that contact you gave your card to while on holiday) to pay off your phone bill!