How hiring an assistant can help freelancers travel more

We could all probably use an assistant. But when you’re a freelancer running your own business, hiring an assistant can often be a practical way to increase both your revenue and quality of life (including your ability to travel more).

Let’s use a hypothetical freelancer, “Sally,” to illustrate this point. Sally is a freelance consultant who charges $80/hour for her services. She just started her business last year and spends roughly 10-15 hours per week on administrative tasks, like data entry, qualifying leads, and scheduling calls.

If Sally were able to take the 10-15 hours per week that she was spending on these non-revenue earning tasks and focus the time on working with clients and growing her business, she could increase her revenue by around $800-$1,200 per week. Assuming Sally pays $15/hour for an assistant (because Sally knows that everyone deserves a living wage), Sally would still be earning an additional $650-$975 per week.

Additionally (and, for purposes of this blog post, more importantly), hiring an assistant can help freelancers travel more. In addition to being able to take the increased revenue and use it for trips (both for business and fun), hiring an assistant makes it easier to work outside of your “home” base.

The reason for this is that even though the world is becoming increasingly digital, there are still reasons that freelancers may be tied to a specific location. In my own freelance business, a pain point I’ve faced is that I will sometimes need to get mail or mail documents out (yes, snail mail!), which can make it hard to plan trips that last more than a week or so. But by delegating these tasks, where possible, I’m able to extend my trips and worry less.

It’s often the case that if you’ve just started your freelance business, the last thing you want to think about is bringing on an assistant. Likely, you’re still trying to figure out if it’s a sustainable business and you want to keep every last penny of revenue that comes in (which is something I can totally relate to). Also, hiring an assistant sounds like something more “successful” people do.

But once you’ve established your business, and particularly if a goal of yours is to use your freelance business as a catalyst to travel more, it’s a step that’s definitely worth considering.

When you’re at the point where you’re ready to hire an assistant, there is great recruiting technology available to help make the process seamless.

Are you a freelancer who has used an assistant to help your travel more? Let me know in the comments!

Discover and Capital One start slashing credit card limits

In a previous post, I’ve mentioned how Americans are currently in the golden age of credit card offers (and linked to 2 offers that you can sign up for now, which will net you around $2,350 in rewards).

That may change soon, as Discover and Capital One — 2 of the largest credit card companies in the country — are now slashing credit card limits and closing inactive accounts.

According to a story in the Wall Street Journal, both companies are preparing for the end of the current economic recovery (a roughly 10-year bull market since the Great Recession). Capital One’s CEO has pointed to “rising interest rates, growing government deficits, trade-related issue[s] and also cumulatively some of the effects that’s been going on with consumer indebtedness.”

What’s this mean for you? Well, if you see a credit card with an amazing sign-up bonus, it’s better to act on it now than assume it will be around in a few months.

My dream list of new direct flights from SFO

In a recent post, I wrote about how United was introducing a temporary direct flight between San Francisco and Barcelona. Although this flight is scheduled for only a few select days in February, Level by Iberia will now be offering ongoing, non-stop service between the 2 cities, which is pretty great.

Along with Barcelona, San Francisco has picked up some other great new direct flights in recent years, including to Tahiti, Madison, Wisconsin, and, soon, to Amsterdam.

Still, as a San Francisco-based remote worker, there are some direct routes that I dream about. Below is my dream list of new, direct flights from SFO.

San Francisco to Rome, Italy

Although San Francisco has a number of direct flights to Europe, including Frankfurt, Zurich, Paris, and London, the options are still fairly limited compared to New York.

The European route that I would value the most would be a direct flight between San Francisco and Rome. Currently, the best way to get to Rome from San Francisco is via Swiss Air with a layover in Zurich (which is quicker than connecting in the U.S. or Canada).

A direct flight would cut travel time significantly and would open up the ability to take long weekends in the Italian capital and surrounding regions.

Proposed airline: United

San Francisco to Bogotá

There are currently no direct flights between San Francisco and South America. The best San Francisco has to offer is a direct flight between SFO and Panama City, Panama and I’ve previously written about how this flight has changed the way I travel.

That said, I would love to see a direct flight between San Francisco and Colombia — and although Medellín is one of my favorite places in the world, I think a direct flight between SF and Bogotá would make a lot more sense.

Proposed airline: Avianca

San Francisco to Bangkok

Compared to New York, San Francisco is a considerably better travel base if you’re looking to travel to Asia. Current direct flights include Manila, Taipei, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore, and Beijing.

Nevertheless, I would love to see a direct San Francisco to Bangkok flight. When I travel to Asia, I usually base myself out of Hong Kong, but if there was a direct flight from San Francisco to Bangkok, I would likely switch cities and base myself out of Bangkok instead. There are a few reasons for this, including Thai food, affordability, and flight times between BKK and places like Bali and Phuket.

Proposed airline: United

San Francisco to Guam

Alright, so as a former Guam resident and current San Franciscan, I’m definitely biased here. But I believe both Guam and San Francisco would benefit from this flight, as Guam currently has no direct flights between the island the mainland United States and San Francisco has a decent-sized Chamorro population.

Guam is already a United hub and there is definitely demand on the island for the flight.

Proposed airline: United

What are some direct flights that you would love to see? Let me know in the comments!

2 credit cards for small business owners that will net ~$2,350 in sign-up bonuses

Some say that Americans are living in the golden age of credit credit offers.

This is especially true for small business owners (including a freelancers), as many airlines, hotels, and credit card companies are offering steep sign-up bonuses to compete for their business.

Right now, there are some especially great offers! Check out my 2 favorites, below:

Hilton Honors Business Card (125,000 bonus points, valued at $750)

This is currently my favorite business credit card. Before signing up for this card I hadn’t stayed at a Hilton in years, but this card offered enough benefits to get me to sign up, including:

  • 125,000 Hilton Honors points for signing up and spending $3,000 within the first 3 months (these points are valued at $750)
  • Complimentary Hilton Honors Gold status (which gets you thinks like automatic room upgrades, free breakfast, late check-outs, and an 80% bonus on all points earned)
  • Priority Pass airport lounge access (up to 10 free visits per year)
  • Free weekend night at a Hilton property after spending $15,000 on the card in a calendar year

This card has an annual fee of $95/year.

Having signed up for this credit card about 4 months ago, I’ve had an incredible experience so far — receiving upgrades on each of my Hilton stays (including to a suite in Philadelphia and to a room with executive lounge access in Budapest). I’ve also been able to use my Priority Pass lounge access twice and have earned a free weekend night (and have confirmed with Hilton that I could use this at the Conrad in Bora Bora!).

Support Josh Trips by signing up via this link:

SIGN UP FOR HILTON HONORS BUSINESS CARD

 

Chase Ink Business Preferred (80,000 bonus points, valued at $1,600)

This is my go-to business credit card. Chase Ultimate Reward points are incredibly flexible, as they can be converted to cash, used to book travel through the Chase portal, or can be converted on a 1:1 basis at many partners, including United, British Airways, Southwest, and JetBlue.

Because of this flexibility, The Points Guy values Chase Ultimate Reward points at $0.02 per point, making this 80,000 bonus worth an incredible $1,600.

Because you can convert these points to miles with a number of airline, you can actually make out better than $1,600 — I used my points to book a one-way, business class flight from Cape Town to San Francisco, which currently retails for around $5,000.

Aside from the sign-up bonus, there are some other great benefits that come along with card:

  • Earn 3 points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent in the following categories:
    • Travel, including airfare, hotels, rental cards, train tickets, Ubers, and taxis
    • Shipping
    • Internet, cable, and phone services
    • Advertising purchases made through social media websites
  • Cell phone protection (up to $600)
  • Trip cancellation insurance (have used this before, and had Chase refund my airfare and hotel purchase when I needed to return home from Europe early for a medical reason)

This card has an annual fee of $95.

I use this card for nearly all of my travel purchases, including Ubers and local public transit, and also for all of my cell phone bills, so my phone is covered under the card’s cell phone protection plan.

SIGN UP FOR CHASE INK BUSINESS PREFERRED

Is your favorite business credit card not listed? Let me know in the comments!

This post was accurate at the time of posting, offers may be unavailable at a later time.

3 easy steps you can take to start spending less on travel

If you’re at the point where you want to travel more but don’t want to spend a ton of money doing it, this post is for you.

Below are 3 steps that you can take right away to start spending less on travel:

1) Apply for credit cards with significant sign-up bonuses

If you’re based in the United States, you’re living in the golden age of credit card sign-up bonuses. It’s not uncommon to see sign-up bonuses of 50,000, 100,000, or even 125,000 points, which can be worth as much as $2,000 (or more, depending on how you redeem the points).

There are plenty of blogs that track these credit cards offer and the worth of these points (such as The Points Guy, who offers this helpful point valuation chart, which is updated monthly).

For example, just today, after reading a post on the Boarding Area, I was able to sing up for a Chase Ink Business Cash credit card that has a 50,000 point signing bonus, which is valued at $1,000 based The Points Guy’s valuation. These points can be transferred directly to United and other airlines on a 1:1 basis (as an example, a one-way ticket to Europe is 30,000 United miles), or can be redeemed for cash or travel at varying rates.

2) Subscribe to cheap flight newsletters

There are a few websites that are dedicated to showcasing amazing flight deals — my favorites are The Flight Deal and Secret Flying.

Both of these sites have daily newsletters which are worth signing up for. Even if you’re not in the market to book a trip, keeping track of these flight prices can help you later determine what constitutes a good deal and can give you ideas for future travel.

Remember that these deals are usually only live for a few hours or a few days, but that American airlines are required to give you 24 hours to cancel penalty free. So if there is an incredible fare that you’re interested in, it’s sometimes worth booking it and then cancelling within the 24-hour deadline if you’re not able to make concrete plans.

3) Look into flights from nearby airports before booking trips

Traveling from a nearby airport can sometimes save you hundreds of dollars on airfare. For example, I was recently looking up a flight to Hawaii and the cost from SFO was roughly $200 more than the cost of leaving from Oakland (OAK). Although OAK airport is actually closer to the city of San Francisco than SFO, based on conversations I’ve had throughout the years, I’d wager that most San Francisco-based travelers won’t even look up airfare at OAK before booking a trip.

When it comes to international travel, the difference in airfare between two cities can be substantial.

As a result, whenever you book travel — particularly international, long-haul trips — you should use Google Flights to check the price of flights departing from nearby airports. If you’re based out of Philly,  for example, you should look into flights departing from JFK, EWR, IAD, and LGA, and if you’re in SF, look at flights leaving from LAX and Portland.

What are your favorite tricks to saving money on travel?

Flight Review: EuroAtlantic 767-300 Economy Class | Chicago to Budapest

It’s rare for me to look up flights and see an airline that I don’t recognize.

In September, I was preparing for a trip from San Francisco to Budapest with a layover in Philly as Hurricane Florence churned its way up the east coast. Wanting to avoid possibly missing my flight, I searched for other routes to Budapest and found a 30,000 mile ticket available on United, that had me flying through Chicago and flying EuroAtlantic Airways between Chicago and Budapest.

I booked this flight, not really knowing what I’d have in store. From my research, it seems that EuroAtlantic is an airline that basically leases itself to other airlines — for, for example, during a Norwegian flight, you would be given the same services that you would be offered on Norwegian metal.

One frustrating part of flying with EuroAtlantic is that not many people have flown it yet, so it’s hard to find accurate information on SeatGuru. For example, I booked a window seat, hoping I would have an amazing view of landing in Budapest, but instead was looking at a wall the entire flight.

EuroAtlantic

Flying experience

Despite only having a wall to look at, I had a decent flight. Luckily, I had the entire row to myself.

There were screens and power charges behind each seat, although the screens were not turned on and the charger didn’t work until after takeoff. After we were in the air, an announcement was made that EuroAtlantic was going to provide the “standard of services of LOT Polish.”

There was not an amazing selection of movies, with most selections from 6+ months back, and which included Wonder Woman, The Shape of Water, and Battle of the Sexes. The TV selection wasn’t amazing either, but there was at least one episode of Fraiser (pictured below).

EuroAtlantic2.JPG

The first service were drinks and choice of pretzels or peanuts. About 30 minutes later, we were offered drinks and dinner (chicken or beef options). I took the chicken option, pictured below, which tasted alright.

EuroAtlantic3.jpg

The tray table was so small that I wouldn’t have had enough space to both eat and have a drink without a lot of difficulty (but luckily I could use the middle tray as well).

The seat recline was hard to find and there was no WiFi on the flight. But they did give out comfortable pillows (way more so than on United flights).

EuroAtlantic1

Conclusion

Flying economy to Europe from the U.S. is rarely glamorous, and I would rank this flight as basically the same as a standard United or American flight to Europe.

Los Angeles Trip Deal: $440 round-trip from LAX to Phuket, Thailand on Air China

A great deal to Phuket from LAX with Air China! Flights start at $440 round-trip, after taxes. Air China is a Star Alliance member.

I found this fare on a fluke and have so far only been able to find the following dates:

  • February 25-March 5

To get the fare, you need to book on Expedia (linked below). Note that this fare books as “L” class on Air China, so you’ll only have 50% of the miles count on United towards your PQM.

Support Josh Trips by booking through the link below.

BOOK THIS FLIGHT