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The advent of the Internet age has breathed new life into the career possibilities for the freelance worker. For the first time since the age of the roving sellsword (ever looked up the etymology for the word “freelancer?”), workers are able to properly work while travelling, and indeed travel by being more effective than ever. This lifestyle is attractive, but it can still be a bit tough to keep everything organized. For businesses that, these five tools can help to keep on top of your work and minimize wasted time.
The big kahuna of online collaboration tools, Google Drive makes collaborating on documents a breeze. Share, duplicate, publish: it’s all there. In addition to the standard, Microsoft Word-like Google Docs, the online suite also supports the creation of advanced spreadsheets, presentations, online surveys and forms, and even drawings and sketches. Best of all? It’s free. (Full disclosure: this article was composed using Google Docs)
Can’t be an effective travelling professional if you aren’t traveling! Use these flight aggregators to find the cheapest routes between your destinations. Each one searches hundreds of airlines and tries thousands of combinations of tickets to try to make sure you get to your destination in the easiest, cheapest, and fastest way possible. Kayak tends to work for North American airlines better, while Skyscanner has the European world locked down.
Nothing like an unfamiliar exchange rate to confuse your finances. If you’re changing locations a lot, the exchange rate can be a huge barrier to knowing how much you’re spending and earning. Keep everything in order with Mint. Mint links to your bank accounts and credit cards to help you monitor your expenses in unprecedented detail. Sort expenses by type, date of transaction, and other details, set income and spending goals, and see charts of your finances, all in an easy-to-use and intuitive interface.
What Google Drive does for collaboration, Dropbox does for filesharing. Need to get that 500MB file to a client quickly and easily? Dropbox is the app for you. Seamlessly integrating into your operating system like just another folder, you can use the native menus to share files with just a few clicks. The standard version has limited space, but its very easy to get more Dropbox space for free.
Who goes traveling without a map? Google Maps is the best mapping app out there, and goes way beyond that by providing high-resolution “Street View” imagery of much of the world. That would be good enough, but the recently-launched offline map caching feature makes this one of the best travel apps out there. Simply open the map to the area in which you’ll be traveling, click “make available offline,” and bask in the security of knowing you’ll have a zoomable map available no matter the status of your Internet connection.
The freedom to do your job from anywhere in the world is a dream for many people. Finally, with the advent of the freelancer economy and the globalized world, this is becoming more feasible than ever for the average person. These tools help smooth out the small inefficiencies that working remotely produces.
Nick Rojas is a journalist and business consultant based in Los Angeles and Chicago. An avid traveler, his work often discusses content creation, social media, and technology. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.