5 Hotel Hacks Every Virtual Worker Should Know To Keep Connected

by | March 24, 2015

Working from the road sounds like a pipe dream. Being able to travel and explore while bringing in a steady paycheck? How could there be a downside to that? Such was our mindset when Brandon and I both managed to get hired as Zirtual Assistants. After being stuck in offices, classrooms, and stores for years, we suddenly found ourselves location independent!

As we began to plan our trip, however, logistical puzzles began to arise. How would we transfer workspaces after checking out of a hotel? What if our hotel’s Internet was horrible? What if we got to our room and they only had a single tiny table for both of us to work on?

Here are a few tricks we’ve picked up to improve our work experience while on the road:

Pick your location wisely

When you’re looking for hotels, make sure to read the fine print. Is WiFi available? Is it free? Are there any restrictions on the number of devices you can connect? Most of this information can be found on the booking page. For redundancy, give the hotel office a call and see what they say.

Scan the customer reviews. If a place has unreliable Internet, people will take notice. If you see a lot of negative reviews mentioning the hotel’s Internet connection, steer clear.

Pro-Tip: Save the remote, off-the-grid lodging for weekends. If you need an Internet connection to do your job, you’re going to need backup options. Before booking, make sure there are cafes, diners, libraries, etc. in the area which could serve as fallbacks if you need to jump connections.

Scout the room

Most booking sites provide a list of room features, as well as some pictures of what you can expect. Review this information extensively. Will your room have a desk? Chairs? An Ethernet jack?

Make sure to check the hotel amenities as well. Do they have an onsite business center? A cafe or lounge area with WiFi?

Do your research, but it’s also a good idea to call. As was the case with the Travelodge in Yuba City, what once might have been provided may no longer be available. We came expecting to find a business center onsite. We even found the sign for it. But when we asked the hotel staff, it was nowhere to be found, and no one remembered the hotel having one. Queue the Twilight Zone theme…

See if your connection can be improved

Sometimes, while using the Internet at hotels, the service can seem spotty or unreliable. There may be more to it than a bad connection! Some hotels and resorts actually limit devices using an above-average level of bandwidth. We ran into this while staying at a WorldMark resort.

A call to the tech center might yield some surprising results. Explain that you’re traveling for business, and you need a reliable connection. Most businesses are eager to please. They might be able to adjust your device’s access to the network so you don’t get cut off.

Of course, a bad connection might be the issue as well. If you’re going to be relying on the WiFi at a hotel, ask to be placed in a room close to the wireless router. That way you get the strongest signal possible.

Ask for a late checkout

Sometimes, checkout times can be inconvenient. Say you generally take you lunch at 12:30pm, so an 11:00am checkout throws the rest of your day for a loop. Take to asking every place you stay for a late checkout option.

Many hotels will give you an extra hour without objecting. You can usually make the request when you book the room. If not, ask guest services at check-in or during your stay. An extra hour may not seem like much, but it makes a difference. Sometimes, you can even pay a little extra for additional time.

Always have a backup

Inevitably, something won’t go as planned. There might not be an option for late checkout, or the cafe you were planning on working from in the afternoon is closed for renovations. Maybe you get to your next workspace and find out that a rat chewed through their Internet cable. If you’ve got your backup plan in place, it’s no problem! Adjust your schedule or head to your alternate destination. Whip out your phone and turn on your hotspot. You’ve got this.

Whatever happens, always have a fallback. That way, when something falls through, you’re ready for it.