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Travel Hacks from a Largely Remote Team

2018 Meetup Xpro9580

April 22, 2019

Author: Alix Emden

The 88 teammates that make up Medic Mobile are spread across 11 countries, 33 cities, and 5 continents. This means we spend a lot of time in the air, traveling across the globe on long-haul flights so we can collaborate in person. For our first full team meet up last year, we had one teammate set the record and travel over 12,500 miles and 50 hours to attend. Along the way, we’ve picked up many tips and tricks on how to make the experience more enjoyable.

We asked 8 Medic Teammates from 4 countries — Shreya Bhatt, Jill Shah, Alix Emden, Dianna Kane, Marc Abbyad, Josh Nesbit, Francesca Garrett, Chris Lukolyo — for their advice.

Packing the essentials

Water bottle: “I usually have at least one filled up in my bag prior to flight! If you find yourself low on water, head to the back of the plane at any point during the flight where the attendants will almost always let you refill the bottle directly.” - Alix Emden, Operations Associate

Power bank: “I always carry a power bank, universal adaptor or converter for different plug points (helps if you have a long layover in a completely different location than the destination).” - Jill Shah, Product Operations Manager

Currency: “Remembering to carry US $ notes in small denominations (1s, 5s, 10s, 20s) can be very helpful especially when you run out of local currency or have trouble with your credit cards in other countries.” - Shreya Bhatt, Asia Regional Director

Pen(s): “Leave at least one pen in an accessible location in your carry on bag. Custom forms often seem to get dropped at your seat at the very last minute before landing making the process feel rushed. Knowing where your pen is can ensure that you have your form filled out prior to landing and also get you in a better position in the customs line.” - Alix

Forms for frequent destination(s): “If there’s a destination you travel to frequently, pick a few extra copies of their immigration form and keep in your carry-on. Filling that form in on the plane will help you breeze through customs as others scramble to fill forms on arrival.” - Chris Lukolyo, Partnerships Manager

Before the flight

Choosing seats: “I typically try to grab a seat as much in the front of the plane as I can. Upon landing, that slight head start (and some power walking in the terminal) can help beat lengthy immigration lines!” - Shreya

Download Google Maps: “One of the best features of google maps! Find the area you want to save, always going broader than you anticipate in case you wander too far type ‘OK MAPS’ and press enter. That way, if WiFi isn’t available and you didn’t purchase data, you can still figure out where you’re headed.” - Alix

At the airport

Priority Pass: “Many credit card companies/banks offer a free membership to Priority Pass as a perk for using a particular credit card. Priority Pass gives you access to hundreds of lounges in airports all over the world, and usually, these lounges come stocked with free food, beverages, wifi, showers, and comfy areas to pass time over a long layover.” - Jill

San Francisco International Airport: “SFO airport terminals 2 and 3 have a yoga room! Beautiful, clean, quiet, often empty. Mats, blocks, and disinfectant available to borrow for free. It’s my favorite place to get stuck in a flight delay.” - Dianna Kane, Chief  Design Officer

On the flight

Compression socks: “They revolutionized my ability to sleep on long flights! It’s like burrito-wrapping an adult.” - Dianna

Buff headband: “I always travel with my Buff headband(s). Something like this. It acts as a sleep mask, sweatband, wrist band or face mask on dusty roads.” - Marc Abbyad, Director of Engineering

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones: These have changed my life. They are so comfortable that I wear them the entire flight, often without any music on (just noise-canceling silence)! The battery does last a long time and the case has a nice spot for a backup battery, which I’ve definitely needed and have been stuck without. AND when one side stopped emitting sound after 3+ years, I called Bose and they replaced them with a new pair for free (not under warranty, just great customer service).” - Dianna

Gum: “Always keep a pack of gum on you. Critical after eating something weird, and while brushing teeth a few times a day is ideal it’s not always possible.” - Josh Nesbit, CEO

Arrived at your destination

Travel wallet: “As soon as I arrive, I move my state ID, cash and credit card into a temporary wallet that I carry around the city, leaving my full wallet and passport in a safe location in the hotel/Airbnb.” - Jill

Jet lag: “My jet lag strategy is to stay up as long as you can on the journey and when I arrive, staying up on flights that land at night really helps adjust quicker to the local time zone.” - Shreya

Jet lag: “As soon as I board my flight, I change the clock on my watch, phone, and laptop to match my destination, and start switching my internal clock while I’m in the air - sleeping and eating in my new time zone. My first morning at my destination, I take a probiotic and work outside for the first few hours of the day. The combination helps fight jet lag in a major way!” - Francesca Garrett, Community of Practice Manager

Thanks for reading! Do you have any we missed? We’d love to hear them! Tweet @medic and share your favorite travel hacks.

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