As part of my role with retail software company Vend I visit our retailers overseas to make case studies. Over a few trips, with a few tricky moments, I’ve discovered a few tips for getting the most out of work travel.
Here in part two of two, I focus on food and expenses.
Forget Disneyland, Wholefoods is the most magical place on earth, and also one of the best ways to economise while you travel.
When you are away with work your per-diems will go a lot further if you visit a supermarket to get breakfast food, coffee, snacks, and a few simple dinners and lunches like soup and cheese on toast.
Just making your breakfast and morning coffee will set you up right and save you hundreds.
And if you make that shop a visit to a Wholefoods you’ll also be in foodie heaven. The one in SOMA San Francisco has a whole wall of granola in pick-in-mix style barrels. The one in Brooklyn has the juice bar of your dreams. The one on the way to Niagara Falls has the best selection of snacks and pizza by the slice I’ve encountered. The one in downtown Toronto has chocolate from NZ but cheaper than it is here.
And that’s the thing, although the Americans like to joke that Wholefoods should be called Whole-pay-cheque, it is cheap by New Zealand standards.
And if you can watch the pennies on a couple of meals a day then you can put the saving towards having a few really nice meals on your trip.
Search term: Hipster
Now although the word hipster has been so overused it has been rinsed of all meaning, it still has one vital use: if you are looking for good coffee, cafes, restaurants, shops, or neighbourhoods to explore, simply add ‘hipster’ to your Google search. You will be amazed.
The problem with relying on traditional wisdom-of-the-crowd tools like Trip Advisor or Yelp is that the crowd has middle of the road taste. Which is fine for playing it safe, but one of the great perks of being in a big city is seeing what is happening at the edges of innovation in retail, hospitality, and urban life.
If you’re on the run, the best way to get to those edges is to pop a hipster in a search term, but if you have a bit more time to plan then be sure to grab a Monocle city guide, or a local issue of TimeOut to find the best stuff happening now.
You know how everyone has one thing they are really good at, like a superpower? Well mine is losing receipts.
It drives me bonkers looking through the fifty crumpled bits of paper and not finding the one I need. You always end up with the receipts for the extra undies you bought (that are not on the work card), but not the receipt for the Heathrow Express (that was).
What you (I) need is Expensify.
Expensify has a couple of cool tricks, one being the Scan tool that allows you to simply snap a photo of your receipt and it will extract the line information and match it to your credit card records.
Which means in theory you can take a photo and throw the paper out. In practice I still don’t advise this.
Do keep the receipts in your bag front pocket as sometimes the tech isn’t as good as the promise, but 95% of the time it will make your travels simpler and smoother.
This also works with Receipt Bank and Xero. Try it, it’s magic.