Serviced apartments: The safest accommodation during a pandemic

As the COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe and countries continue to tighten their travel restrictions, the question of whether and how to travel has become more and more complicated.

The State Department raised its global advisory to a level 4, recommending United States citizens not to travel to any other country, because of the global effects of the outbreak. Flying in or out America is not possible anymore. Also, many countries in Europe and all over the world have been closing its borders as well. Travel in Europe itself is still possible in some countries.

Short Stay Citizens encourages all travellers to stay safe and follow guidelines from the CDC website. However, if you have to travel for work or family reasons, we have listed a number of important points on why professionally managed serviced apartments are the most appropriate accommodations to stay during this pandemic, instead of staying at other accommodations like Airbnb, hotels or friends.

Secured quality

Unlike your average Airbnb or other privately owned short term rentals, professionally managed serviced apartments always have higher standards. Airbnb properties are usually rooms in someone else’s apartments or even villa’s, which means it’s difficult to know what to expect. Privately owned short term rentals are usually rented by individual persons and not companies.

Airbnb is a review based system, so you are counting on the honesty of previous guests to help you make your choice. Neither Airbnb properties nor hosts are checked or regulated by staff, this is the same for privately owned apartments. Both of these choices are basically a stab in the dark. We can imagine that is the last thing you would want during these circumstances.

Privacy

Serviced apartments provide privacy. Shared accommodations don’t. Staying in shared accommodations means that there are other people, hosts,  strangers, around you. Your hygienic routine may not be the same as someone else’s. Due to the pandemic, now is not the best time to be sharing accommodations.

While you have your privacy in privately owned short term rentals, you cannot be sure in what state you will find the apartment nor if it has been thoroughly cleaned or what type of neighbourhood the accommodation is.

With professionally managed serviced apartments you can rest assured of your privacy and safe surroundings.

Accountability

Professionally managed serviced apartments and travel agencies are represented by not for profit trade associations. In the UK, for example, most, if not all, professionally managed serviced apartments are represented by the Association of Serviced Apartment Providers, also known as ASAP in this industry. In Short Stay Citizens’ case, we are represented by IATA.org and all of our professionally managed serviced apartment providers are represented by other not for profit trade associations. These trade associations are aware of COVID-19’s effect on the industry and have taken the appropriate measures to make sure that all stakeholders comply with the new regulations.  Because of these not for profit trade associations, professionally managed serviced apartments are held accountable and are expected to comply with the measures to keep travellers safe during this pandemic. 

Space

Everywhere you go now, you hear and see the words “social distancing”. Most serviced apartments are big enough for you and your partner. If you must travel with family, there are 2+ bedroom apartments available. Therefore, there is space for you to be together but still keeping a social distance. This is hard to do in hotels or Airbnb and shared accommodations.

Besides social distance, you should refrain from leaving your accommodations as much as you can. The fully equipped kitchens provided by serviced apartments enable you to do your shopping weekly, instead of going to crowded spaces and supermarkets daily. The spacious serviced apartments also have work desks or space for you to work remotely if needed.

  

Short Stay Citizens encourages everyone to stay safe and follow the guidelines provided by your local government. However, if you still must travel for work, family or other pressing matters, we encourage all travellers to make use of professionally managed serviced apartments since these are more appropriate during this pandemic. Contact us to find out why.

 

By Marc Bakker

 

Sources:

Nu.nl, March 2020

Travel.state.gov, March 2020

PSNothingham.com, 2018

Business Insider, March 2020


Why is it important for employers to make business travel for employees more enjoyable?

We live in an era where we have various means of communication thanks to technology. There are video conferences, Skype, facetime and many more ways where one can communicate. You might question the need for travelling for business purposes when there are so many other options.  Even though technology has given us great ways to stay connected with people all over the world, nothing can compare to face-to-face interaction.

Business travels are beneficial for companies but they have their challenges: travelling can be quite stressful sometimes, from delayed flights to delayed or lost luggage, overbooked flights, losing belongings, long transits, jet lag and the list goes on and on.

Besides the challenges, there are a number of reasons why business travels are beneficial to companies: Business travels are a way to boost the success of the company because you can build relationships, give a good impression and network. Because of its benefits, it is important for employers to make business travel more enjoyable for employees.

It is important to make business trips more enjoyable for employees because it is proven that the stress of going on business trips internationally reduces work productivity by 38%. It is hard for employees that go to a foreign country where they are unfamiliar with the language and culture. It adds more pressure than they already have. Employers can help reduce stress and thus help them be more productive by making the trips more pleasurable.

Now that it’s agreed that work trips are essential for the success of businesses, how can employers make the trips more enjoyable for the employees?

There are different things an employer can do. Creating an easy and quick planning process for the trips and providing a comfortable budget will reduce the stress levels. Also offering a range of options of flights and accommodations will give more control to the employees but the company can, at the same time, control the costs. Booking a serviced apartment will also increase comfort. It provides extra space and it can make someone feel at home and relaxed which changes one's experience. There are also ways how employees can make their stay feel more like home click here to find out how.

Enjoyable business trips are important because it leads to happier employees. Having happy employees is vital to companies due to its many benefits. According to research conducted by the University of Warwick, happy employees are more productive. Alexander Kjerulf is the founder of Woohoo and an expert about happiness at work. He claims that happy employees complain less, fix more problems, are more creative, learn faster, are more motivated. Happy employees mean more creative employees and according to a professor at Harvard Business School, creativity is crucial for business successes.

Work trips are inevitable, putting effort as a company in making the trips more pleasant will pay off. Killing two birds with one stone: a booming business and happy employees!

To start you and your employees with less stress during business trips, Short Stay Citizens provides serviced apartments worldwide. Just make an inquiry, whether it is for you or your colleagues and employees. Send the number of employees, the country and city where the accommodation is needed, and Short Stay Citizens will send you a few offers, where you and your colleagues or employees can choose from!

 

By Sahar Tahib

 

Sources:

Warwick

Inc.com, 2014

Forbes, 2017

Menshealth

Bonus.ly, 2019

Sabre.com

 


Travel Insurance for Global Nomads

We know, the last thing you want to think about while preparing your worldwide-trip is insurance.. However, it is very important to have one for unforeseen costs one might encounter during your travels and stays. There is only one thing worse than bad travel insurance, not having one at all. In the world we live in and the climate showing it’s extreme, you most definitely need travel insurance. In this blog we will discuss why you need it, the types of insurances and tips to make your life easier for choosing one.

Reasons why you need travel insurance:

  • If your luggage gets lost or stolen
  • Flight delays
  • Last-minute cancellation of a trip
  • If you need medical treatment

These are things that happen during travel, not to everyone, but still, you should not have to worry about the costs during your travel, because worldwide travel insurance covers them.

When searching for travel insurance it is important to keep in mind the length you are travelling. Are you away for a couple of months, or are you going to take many short trips in a year? Most standard travel insurances will have 30-day coverage. If, for example, you are travelling 3 times a year, you are in most cases better off with separate travel insurances per trip because it will cost you less than an annual plan. However, if you are travelling longer than 30 days per trip or let’s say doing a world trip, an annual travel insurance plan will be your saviour. Make sure you check with the annual travel plan if the coverage costs are per year or per trip. 

Outside the European Union, most people have private health insurance. These are insurances run by the private health insurance industry as opposed to government-run insurance programs. In The Netherlands, for example, all residents are required to insure themselves with a ‘basic insurance’ at a minimum, which in the coverage and premium are determined by the government. A worldwide travel insurance policy includes a higher cost of medical treatment into account. Always make sure that the destinations you are going to are included in your worldwide travel cover because worldwide, unfortunately, does not mean the whole world at some insurance companies. 

If you are bringing your expensive equipment with you during your travels or even the basics: phone, laptop and camera. These costs can add up if your properties are stolen, keep that in mind and always check how much you can claim. 

Travelling with your family? Most insurances cover your kid(s), but they are bound by age. Some cover them until 10 years old. Others cover them up to 18 years old. Choose wisely depending on the age of your kid(s).

Travel insurance does not cover everything, many travellers combine it with good health insurance that will evacuate you during medical emergencies. Some travel insurance covers your medical bills for example, but not medical transportation. So it is vital that you are fully covered. 

You take care of your travel insurance and let Short Stay Citizens take care of your accommodations!

 

By Leticia Gisela

Sources: 

Forbes, 2018

World Nomads

Compare the Market, 2019

MoneyCheck, 2019


Booking a serviced apartment

You are looking for a place to stay for work or an extended holiday and online there are a lot of options! That can be overwhelming! We understand. Since you're looking for an extended-stay accommodation, the comfort of a home is of utmost importance and hotel rooms can’t provide that. 

Therefore, you decide to stay in a serviced accommodation, because why would you not? Serviced apartments are fully furnished, and most have a fully equipped kitchen, washer and dryer available in the apartment or in a laundry room. And depending on the accommodation, weekly housekeeping, private parking, and gyms are also provided. Naturally, it’s obvious you would want to stay in a serviced apartment. 

After this decision, you start looking for serviced apartment providers or serviced apartments OTA’s (online travel agents) specialised in offering multiple serviced apartments from all over the world. And you realise that booking a serviced accommodation is not the same as booking a hotel room, especially if you’re looking for an extended-stay accommodation. Sounds familiar? Not to worry! In this blog, we explain the process of booking a serviced apartment.

Choosing a platform

You’re on Google, you know in which city you are going to stay and are looking for a provider and overwhelmed by all the options. The first advice we give you is to look at the platforms, check out their services and choose the one that suits you and/or your company best. Some are willing to go the extra mile for you, some are not. Choose wisely!

Then, you’re on your chosen online platform that provides many serviced apartments, you know in which city you need a serviced accommodation and you see that there are different types of serviced apartments on the website. Don’t know the difference? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Check this blog out to see the different types of serviced apartments.

Pricing

One of the first things you will realise is that, depending on the platform, not all realtime prices are listed as opposed to hotel rooms. One of the reasons for this is that prices vary depending on the duration of stay. The longer you stay the more the nightly rate may reduce. These prices are determined mostly by the accommodation providers/owners and not by the platform. 

Inquiring

If you’re looking for an extended-stay accommodation or the nightly rate isn’t listed, you will have to make an inquiry with the dates and your wishes. Some platforms even have extra services or go the extra mile for you, for example arranging to park or getting picked up from the airport, at additional costs of course. 

Availability

What will happen next is a bit of back-and-forth emailing discussing the budget and any extra wishes you may need. The OTA will check for availability with the provider and send you the offer. 

And if there isn’t availability, there are some platforms that go the extra mile and look for some alternatives for you and send you some offers. Awesome, right? However, this is only with OTA’s and other relocation services. Serviced apartment suppliers or owners only have access to there own properties, while OTA’s have an array of options from multiple suppliers. 

 

Offer

These platforms are able to provide you with a list of a few properties that you could choose from based on your wishes as not all properties available are always online. Also booking properties via OTA’s is often less expensive than via other booking platforms that already have listed a price on the website or directly from the property owner. And if you don’t know in which accommodation you would like to stay, but you do know near which address you need to be, you can inquiry to a serviced apartment OTA, and they will search for you and send you some offers, even though they don’t have them listed. That’s the extra mile you need!

Payment

After selecting the offer you want, payment is usually done in advanced and goes via bank transfers. The reason for this is because companies and clients are not comfortable paying thousands of money just online. 

 

If you’re having trouble finding the right platform for you, then look no further!

 

Short Stay Citizens is a booking platform for serviced apartments that go the extra mile for you. Short Stay Citizens has a portfolio with over 50.000 serviced apartments available worldwide from professionally managed providers. However, you won’t be able to find all of them online. One of the reasons is that we encourage people to send an enquiry with their specific needs and wishes. Because we like to be able to provide that personal touch, that we like to think that is what distinguishes us from the rest. 

In order to book an apartment, you could send a request for an apartment that is on the website. You will get the availability, price and more details back within a working day. 

The other option is requesting an apartment that is not on the website but could be in the portfolio. If you don’t know what and where you would like to stay you can send a request stating the city and country, date, your wishes and extra services that you might need. Or ask for any serviced apartment in the vicinity of your work address. Short Stay Citizens will go on the hunt for you and get back to you within a maximum of two working days with at least 2 to 5 options that are catered to your needs. You can choose one of those options or request more options. You could also ask for help finding a rental car, taxi, restaurants etcetera.

For more information on Short Stay Citizens and booking a serviced apartment check out the website and other blogs

By Naziha Bentouhami

 


5 Things companies can do to make international employees feel more welcome and at home

Many people know that hiring international employees for your company has many benefits. In fact, international staff members that feel comfortable in their workplace is even more profitable. In general, employees that feel welcome and comfortable are more motivated. Welcomed and comfortable international employees help them to have an easier time adjusting to a new country and a new company. Once they feel part of a team they perform better at work and the chance of them staying with you in the future will increase.

But you may be wondering how do we make them feel more comfortable and at home once they are hired?  Good news! In this blog, we have the top 5 tips on how to make international employees feel more welcome in your company and the country you are located in.

Recruiting the right match

Making a new employee feel more comfortable in your company start with the very first phase, the recruitment process. It is important that the employee is qualified for the position however, it is also important to assess if someone fits in with the company culture. Employees enjoy their job more and perform better when they share the same values and needs of other people in their workplace.

If you’re recruiting employees from abroad, not only does the international employee has too fit in with the company culture, but the employee also needs to be aware of the new country culture as well. So it is important that the hiring manager makes sure that the potential international employee has an understanding and eagerness to move to that new country.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo from Unsplash

Onboarding programs

Onboarding programs are vital for the new employees so that they are up to speed with the rest of the staff who have worked in the company for a longer period of time. These programs also boost the engagement of new employees.  The goals of these programs are to make the employee feel more comfortable, gain their commitment, to get to know the company and its culture and to prepare them for their new job. Onboarding programs can be a few days to a few months. this program will also help reduce the turnover rates. 87% of employees are less likely to change their workplace when they are more engaged and feel more comfortable.

Buddy system

For some people, it takes a longer time to adjust to the work environment. Although it is very exciting to start a job in a new company it can also be overwhelming. Having a designated buddy at work helps the transition for a new employee expressly during an onboarding program. The buddy is someone who has worked for a while at the company and helps the new employee through the first few weeks or months. Besides sharing their knowledge, experience and feedback they also can help the new staff member create friendships at work. The buddy could also help the international employee adapt to the new country with how-to’s and to-do’s in the new country.

Photo by Brooke Cagle from Unsplash

Celebrate the differences

It is important that a business is aware and adapts to their international employees without having to change the company culture.  A great place to celebrate the differences in an office is the canteen. For instance, existing employees can start talking English more often during the lunch break so the internationals won’t feel left out and can join the conversation. In the canteen, food from different nationalities can also be served. Everyone can enjoy and try different food from different cuisines. Companies can also organise events where everyone brings some food from their culture, also known as a Global Village. The food can be shared and everyone will have an opportunity to share a piece of their background to each other.

Photo by James Sutton from Unsplash

The best housing solution

International employees often do not have a residence in the country the company is based. To let an employee feel at home in the city or country where the business is established, it is important that they feel at home in their new house or apartment. Serviced accommodations are an excellent solution for short and long stays. Serviced accommodations can also be used as temporary accommodation in the meantime that the international employee tries to find a more permanent residence. Serviced accommodations can be (studio) apartments and houses.

Here at Short Stay Citizens, we offer the best-serviced accommodations that fit the needs and wants of the client. If you want to know more about the best serviced accommodation solution for yourself or your employee, you can read our blog about how to make a serviced apartment feel more like home and be sure to visit our website!

Serviced apartment

By following these five steps the eagerness and enthusiasm of new international employees can be boosted. The first few days or weeks will determine the long-term judgement of an employee about the company and their job. Choosing the right fit for your company, having an onboarding program, buddy system and providing the best housing solution will certainly make your new employees feel right at home in your company!

By Sahar Tahib

Sources:

Globalization Partners, 2019

Inc.com, 2015

Feedough, 2019

Strayboots

Forbes, 2014

The Muse

PMI.org, 2014


First time travelling to The Netherlands

Welcome to The Netherlands, your new home for the next few days, weeks, months or maybe even for years to come. When you’re going to a new country, you will be in need of a helping hand. Look no further, we have the guide for you to make a start in The Netherlands! The top 4 things one usually looks for first in a country is how to travel in that country, forms of paying, accommodations, food and entertainment. We have the guide for you to survive and have an adventure.

Travelling in The Netherlands

Car

First things first, your arrival in The Netherlands. If you are travelling by car all you need is to set up your navigation system, you can also take a taxi. Just google Taxi and the city you are in, and there will be many options to choose from. If you already have Uber or another type of ride-sharing app, you will be able to get a ride through the applications. If you have your own car or a rental, make sure you download an app that will make paying for parking easy. A few examples; Parkmobile, Smsparkeren, Yellowbrick etc.

Public Transport

Another form of travelling in The Netherlands is by public transportation. The Netherlands has a very efficient public transportation all over the country. It is easy to get anywhere with the tram (streetcar/cable car), metro (subway/tube), bus, train and ferry. The public transport is very well connected and it will facilitate your travelling across the country or even take you to other neighbouring countries. 

If you’re travelling with the OV (Openbaar Vervoer, translates to Public Transportation) you will need an OV chip card which you can top up with credit. If you’re going to register at the municipality, then it is best to acquire a Personal OV chipcard, only available online. If you’re not going to register and you’re only staying for a couple of days, weeks or months, it is best that you get an Anonymous OV-card (€7,50, 2019), available online, airports, convenience shops and supermarkets, or at any public transport station or counter. If you’re interested in knowing more about the types of OV chip cards, click here

Besides the personal and anonymous OV chip cards, you can also buy tickets at stations or at any OV provider, for example, trams and busses RET in Rotterdam, GVB in Amsterdam, HTM in The Hague etc. Each region has its own public transit for tram, metro and or bus. However, buying a ticket every time is more expensive: There are limited options depending on which city you are in, for example, 1 and 2-hour tickets, or day cards. These can be used on the tram, metro and bus. For the train, you will have to buy a separate one. 

When you enter your means of transport, you have to check-in and when you leave check-out again even if you’re changing to another means of transport. Make sure you always buy a ticket and to check-in, otherwise you risk being fined. You can buy a ticket in the tram at the conductor and on the bus, you can buy a ticket at the chauffeur. 

Train

The train is a national train transit network called NS. You can buy tickets online, at the train stations or you can top up your OV card and check-in at the train station. If you are going to another country by train (other transit systems) make sure you buy a ticket far in advance. 

Transit App

The go-to app or website for any travelling in The Netherlands is 9292. You can plan your trip without having to think of what means of transportation you need to use. 9292 gives different options and you can choose with what means you prefer to travel with, for example, if you only want to travel by metro and tram or bus and train, 9292 will only give you those routes with these means of transportation unless this is not possible.

Bike

If you’re in The Netherlands for months or years, it is a good idea to buy a bicycle, they are not that expensive and are an easy and affordable way to navigate through the city. You can also rent a bike at NS or bike-sharing applications. Be aware that you are not allowed to take your bike in trams or buses. They are allowed on the train and metro’s but at an additional cost. If you don’t buy a ticket for the bike, then you’ll risk getting a fine. 

Forms of payment in The Netherlands

For the means of payment in The Netherlands, you can choose for cash money, debit card or credit card (visa/master etc.). Please do keep in mind that not all stores accept all these means of payment. In fact, most stores do not accept credit cards like supermarkets. Restaurants, hotels and tourist destinations usually accept credit cards. However, this can be different from shop to shop even when you visit the same chain. The differences can be from city to city or even if they are only a few blocks apart from each other. For more information regarding money in The Netherlands, click here. 

Online there are more options. The most used mean of payment online is iDeal (direct transfers), which is only available with a Dutch debit card. For more information on debit cards and how to get one visit iamexpat. Other online means of payment are Visa and Master credit card, PayPal and AfterPay and KLARNA (direct transfer, post-payment). 

Food

The Netherlands is a multicultural society, with over 175 nationalities in Rotterdam and over 180 nationalities in Amsterdam. This means that there is an abundance of multicultural food. If there is not a restaurant that represents a country then there will be shops that sell the ingredients to make typical food from their country.

The Netherlands also has typical foods that you can’t separate from the country. The following are classic Dutch grub:

  • One of the most famous ones is herring. This is a type of fish that is served with onions and gherkins. You eat it raw and you hold it from the tail and drop it in your mouth for a bite. 
  • Stroopwafels

    Another Dutch delight is the stroopwafel is a type of cookie. It is a waffle made from baked batter, two layers of waffles are filled with sweet and sticky syrup in between.

  • Kroket is a deep-fried roll with ragout inside covered with breadcrumbs. There are various types of krokets with meat and without meat. Bitterballen are a type of kroket but in bite sizes. 
  • Patat/Friet aka french fries, everybody likes a portion of patat often served in a paper cone. You always eat patat with one or several sauces, for example, mayonnaise, ketchup, curry, peanut sauce and sometimes with chopped raw onions on top. Patat with peanut sauce is referred to as ‘patatje oorlog’ translates to fries at war.
  • Dutch pancakes, pannekoeken, are thin and served with stroop (a type of syrup). Poffertjes are like miniature pancakes served with butter and a lot of powdered sugar. 
  • The drop known as liquorice is a candy that is not for everyone. The dutch grow up with it and since there are a lot of different flavours and bag sizes there is something for every dutchie maybe even for you.
  • Cheese, if you don’t like cheese in The Netherlands and you have lived here since a young age people will say ‘’are you even dutch if you don’t like cheese?’’.  Cheese is a staple in the dutch culture. On a slice of bread, a snack, cheese fondue or cheese souffle. We work it into breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between snacks.
  • Hagelslag is a sprinkle spread for on a slice of bread with butter.
  • Oliebollen

    Oliebollen, a Dutch version of a doughnut. These oliebollen are mostly made and served during the winter and are a traditional New Year's Eve treat. 

  • Rookworst is a smoked sausage and is eaten often with a stampot or erwtensoepErwtensoep is a thick pea soup eaten mostly in the winter and stampot is a dish consisting of mashed potatoes mixed with mostly kale but does not stop there. Other vegetables that can be used are carrots, spinach, sauerkraut etc.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment in The Netherlands there is plenty to do. It is easy to travel to other cities so you can go and explore other cities or visit museums, go on the water/canals, visit old towns with a lot of windmills, or cheese market to try out some cheese. 

Keukenhof

One attraction that everyone must visit at least once is the Keukenhof also known as Europe’s garden for its blooming tulips. The Keukenhof is only open in the spring season from around March 21 to May 10 of every year. Have a Dutch Heineken beer at the Heineken Experience etc. Check out thecrazytourist for more tips or just look up a few websites on Google. Check out Iamexpat for more information on what to do in The Netherlands. There is always something to do in The Netherlands. Make sure you research online so you don’t miss out on anything!

Accommodations

If you are staying in The Netherlands for a short period, 4 nights or less, then maybe a hotel would suit you better since you won't be spending much time inside. There are many websites which give you an overview of all types of hotels, like the booking.com or Trivago. Airbnb is also an option if you're travelling by yourself or in a group.

If you are staying for an extended period, either for work or lifestyle, we advise you to go for a serviced apartment since you won’t spend all your time outside. A serviced apartment can make you feel more at home as it has a fully equipped kitchen, is more spacious, has housekeeping services and laundry service or a washing machine in the apartment itself. 

Serviced Apartment

There are studio serviced apartments, one, two or even three-bedroom serviced apartments. Perfect if you’re travelling with your family or in groups. Depending on your needs and wishes, you are able to choose from serviced apartments,  aparthotel, serviced apartments in residential buildings, and corporate housing. Also, if you're coming to live in The Netherlands and you haven't found a residence yet, a serviced apartment is also a good option for temporary accommodation in the meanwhile that you're searching for your permanent home.  For more information on the differences between these serviced apartments check out the Types of serviced accommodations blog. 

If you're planning on coming to the Netherlands and would rather prefer to stay in a serviced apartment, send us an inquiry!

Now that you have this information in your hands you can go out into The Netherlands explore and take on a new adventure!! The best of luck to you all! And when in doubt, always ask the locals, they are always willing to help you out!

 

By Naziha Bentouhami

 

Sources:

Payment Methods, Paymentwall.com

Public Transport, Wanderlustingk.com

Dutch food, Amsterdamtourist.com

25 Best things in The Netherlands, Thecrazytourist.com

Lifestyle, Iamexpat.nl


How to make your serviced apartment feel more like home

Although serviced apartments feel more homely than the usual hotel rooms, there is no place like your home…. If you're someone who is constantly on the road, whether for lifestyle or work, coming home to a serviced apartment that feels like your home, will make you feel more relaxed and less stressed. This, in turn, will benefit you the next day to feel more energised to go about your day. These tips will help make your serviced apartment feel more like your home. With these tips, you can create a nice environment in your serviced apartment whether you’re staying for a couple of weeks or months on end.

Scent

The scent is very important and can make you feel right at home. If you use specific scented candles at home, try finding them in a smaller size and bring it along with you. Preferably tea light candles for their lightweight and size. For some nice scented candles click here. If you use incense sticks, it is even less of a hassle to bring them along with you as they weigh practically nothing. However, be aware that wax candles are allowed to be stored in a checked suitcase or overhead luggage, but gel candles are only allowed in checked suitcases.

Photo by Stéfano Girardelli on Unsplash

If you use laundry washing powder at home for your clothes you can put some in a Ziploc bag. Hang it up in the closet so you can be greeted by the smell every time you open the closet. If you use a liquid, bring some in a travel size bottle spray mixed with water. Even if you use laundry service you can spray your clothes and sheets with it for that familiar freshly washed clothes scent. 

Unpack

A common trait business travellers tend to do is living out of their suitcases. Our tip: hang up your clothes, it is nicer and feels more like you are at home than living out of a suitcase. Yes, it takes time to unpack and pack again, however, you will waste less time looking for your items in your suitcase and you will have a good overview of your clothes. 

The same applies to your toiletries. Getting ready and every time grabbing everything out of your toiletry bag is less efficient. Take your time, unpack your toiletries and make the bathroom your own sanctuary. After that, put your toiletry bag in your suitcase and store both at a place you don’t see. Seeing them will remind you every time that you are not home and that it’s temporary.

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Coffee or Tea

There is nothing like waking up in the morning and having your favourite cup of coffee or tea. So pack your own coffee or tea! Depending on how long your stay is, if you have a short stay, don’t bring the whole package, that will only take up space. Put some of the tea in a ziplock bag. For coffee, use two ziplock bags so the rest of your items in your suitcase don’t smell like it.

Snacks

Buy some snacks that you eat back at home or bring some from home. If your taste in snacks is more general, go to a supermarket near your serviced apartment and get some of your favourites. A simple thing as enjoying a snack can make you feel at home.

Photo by Craig Adderly from Pexels

Sleep comfort 

If you are not travelling to a tropical destination, bring your own blanket, a small one will do for the cold days or to cover up with at night. If you cannot afford the space, try packing it in an airtight plastic bag. Still, don’t have enough space? Then at least bring your own pillowcase. 

Pictures

Bring pictures of your loved ones. No frame is needed, just print the pictures and put them between your documents or clothes while travelling. They will arrive at your destination without a crease. Put them close to the door so you will be greeted by them when you enter your serviced apartment after a long day at work. 

Alexa or Google home

Love Alexa or your Google home? Bring them along. There are smaller sizes available and if you are used to waking up with them telling you the local news etc. then why not bring them as your travel companion?

Photo by BENCE BOROS on Unsplash

Greenery

Depending on the length of your stay. If you are used to a green environment in your home, buy yourself some flowers or plants. Not only do they look and smell good, but they also purify the air for you. 

Photo by Chitokan from Pexels

This blog has shown you how you can make your serviced apartment, smell, feel and even taste like your home with your favourite snacks and a cup of coffee. We at Short Stay Citizens always want our clients to feel right at home at their serviced apartment. We hope that these tips will help you settle down in your home away from home. If not, feel free to contact us and we will see what we can do to fulfil your needs.

By Leticia Cardoso

Sources: 

Mentalfloss.com, 2019

Amber C. Snider, Culture trip, 2018

 


How to make your travelling smooth and pleasant

We all travel whether it’s short or long distance. We also know that travelling is a hassle and can sometimes take too long. In this blog, we have a few tips for making your travelling more smooth and pleasant! You’ll even want to travel more no matter how long it takes. Here are the following tips you can implement in your travel journeys and when you arrive at your destination. 

Before travelling

First things first, when your accommodation is booked, always check what services they offer and if they offer additional items in your room. For example, dry cleaning, a hairdryer, a hair straightener, a ride from and to the airport etc. If they do not provide this, you can take that into account during your packing and planning.

Packing

After you’ve done the first step, start with packing your suitcase. By using packing cubes or organising bags you are able to fit more into your suitcase in an efficient fashion. Depending on how you organise the packing cubes you won’t have to unpack your entire suitcase. For example, having each bag contain one outfit or have your morning/bath essentials in one cube, so when you arrive early or late you won’t have to search and take out everything one by one which usually takes up some time. A cube for shoes, so you can keep your shoes separate from your clothing. The cube packages are washable. Check this link for an array of choices.

Instead of having a completely new outfit for each day and making your suitcase heavier, try to pack multi-functional clothing that you can mix and match depending on the weather and function. This will make your suitcase lighter and easier to close. 

As said before, call the accommodation to see what they offer otherwise it is a good idea to bring a portable steamer or wrinkle releaser. This will save you space in your suitcase if your clothing needs pressing. 

A small toiletry kit will go a long way as well. These include small bottles and or sprays you can fill yourself for your lotions or buy smaller versions of a product that contain only 20ml to 50ml, convenient for short trips. 

If your going to another country make sure you have a universal plug, so you can charge all your electronics and make use of your own portable appliances. 

During your flight or train ride

Keep in mind what you will need on the flight and pack that in a small travelling bag. These are the items you will need during your flight and/or train/car ride. The air in an aeroplane is very dry, so make sure you bring moisturizer and a water bottle you can refill. Vitamin C will also be helpful, an eye mask, sunblock, compression socks, anti-bacterial wipes and gel. Extra clothing to change on the plane just in case there is a delay and you have to get to an appointment directly from the airport.

Bring entertainment with you (movies, series, music or a good book), noise-cancelling headphones if you want to be in silence or to make sure you will not hear anything whilst enjoying your music, a power bank for charging, and snacks. Always be prepared, as they say, better safe than sorry.

Useful apps

Don’t forget to download everything on your phone in advance if you can. Your phone is your most important gadget when travelling. You can check-in online through your phone, have your entertainment on it and can help your short or long-distance travelling. The following apps you should download are:

An airline app for information, online check-in and to collect travel points if applicable. Depending on the airline you are travelling with you will have to download that specific one. For example, KLM or American Airlines

A currency app, to understand how much you are spending when you are not used to the type of currency you will be using. For example the free currency calculator application XE Currency.

A taxi or Uber app, to take you where ever you need to be by car. 

A parking app, if you’re renting a car. This will make it easy to pay for your parking spot and have an invoice send to you to know the costs you made and possibly get the costs back from your employer. For a parking app, you will need to download one that is available in the country you’re travelling to. The EasyPark app has parking possibilities for 1200 city’s and counting within Europe.

If you’re planning to use public transportation, you’ll need to download a public transit app that is available in that country or city. You’ll be able to plan your route via the app and you will know the cost of the trip. CityMapper is a very useful app which includes all public transportation information from several cities worldwide, for example, Lisboa, Istanbul, New York, Toronto, Hong Kong, Los Angeles etc. Check out the public transportation applications available in the country you are visiting (if CityMapper isn't available there) and download one that includes different public transportation providers.

Maps.me is an app that can be used offline. You can plan a route through cities and even countries.

If you want to read more about other useful apps, especially for every business traveller, click here.

With all these tips you will be able to have a smooth trip and you will not have to worry about anything anymore. Remember to use packing cubes to save space and time, use mini or refillable toiletry bottles, a universal plug, and your carry-on essentials. And don’t forget to bring and/or download entertainment, the essential apps and lastly -and maybe the most important one- don’t forget to bring snacks! Now all you have to do is enjoy the flight since you will be prepared for anything coming at you! Enjoy your travel, till the next blog!

Did we forget any tips or do you want to add some, comment below!

 

By Naziha Bentouhami

 

Sources:

Emily, Business Travel Essentials

Airplane Essentials, Travel Fashion Girl

How to pack light, Travel Fashion Girl


6 tips for business travel during the Winter Holidays

The upcoming Winter holidays are parallel with an increase in flight traffic because of people working abroad going back home to spend time with their family and winter holiday-goers. Unlike the aforementioned, as a business traveller, you are probably not in the same category and it is business as usual. To help overcome and ease the upcoming holidays, there are a couple of tips that are useful for you to keep in mind before leaving.

1 Early Arrival

Arrive extra early at the airport to avoid any delay or missed flights in case that it is too crowded. Try to manoeuvre your trip in a way that prevents you from getting caught in the crowded airport and afterwards showing up unprepared and unfocused to your meeting or conference. If you don’t know the airport well, check the airport’s website for the layout so you can easily manoeuvre your way to your gate.

2 Jetlag

If you are travelling to a distant place with a large time difference, you don’t want to travel all the way and show up at your appointment with jetlag. That is why, if there is a big-time difference, adjusting to the time zone of the country you are visiting before your travel can help avoid this. If you’d like to read more about how to reduce or avoid jetlag, read our blog that offers 5 tips to reduce jetlag.

3 E-mails

Answering e-mails is a time-consuming undertaking, to make sure you have to deal with this as less as possible during your trip and when you arrive, try to clear out your inbox as much as possible before departure and set it on automated response to inform about your (limited) availability.

4 Weather circumstances

Check the weather and the airport’s website for the day you are going in advance. If there are going to be conditions that may cause a delay, you should check this to avoid spending too much time in the crowded airport. And remember to notify the colleagues that you’re bout to meet in case of any delays.

 

5 Pack your essentials

If you only bring a carry-on, then you won’t have to check-in your luggage which usually has a long queue.  Instead of waiting endlessly on your luggage after landing, try to take only your essentials in a carry-on to prevent unnecessary stress that comes with waiting too long at the baggage claim. If you only bring a carry-on, pay attention to the hand baggage rules to make sure that the security checks proceed swiftly.

6 Check-in online

Every airline provides online check-in possibilities usually from around an hour before your flight up to 24 hours or more. By checking in online you can save yourself the annoyance of waiting in the long line at the airport check-in.

In short, business travel during the holidays might be a bit more hectic than usual. There is more to consider before your trip and not doing so might lead to an unpleasant chain of events and ruin it. Which is why we have outlined six items that are vital to remember. Arrive early to avoid any possible delays or missed flights, keep jetlag in mind if there is a big-time difference, try to clear out your inbox before you go and install an automated message, check the weather conditions and the airport's website, don’t overpack and check-in online to prevent a long waiting line.

You could say that the most important part of business travel during the holidays is good preparation.  Is there anything you think we missed and would like to share about your business trip during the holidays? Feel free to comment about it below!

 

By Selçuk Salman

 

Sources:

Jen O'Neal, Entrepreneur.com, 2017

John DiScala, Inc.com, 2018

 

 


Types of Serviced Accommodations

Whether it’s for a short period before finding a permanent home in a new country, a shorter stay for a project or for even an extended stay for a long-term work assignment, business travellers need at least some of the comfort that a home provides for their stay abroad.

Serviced accommodations are integral for business professionals and the companies that employ them.  Companies prefer to accommodate their employees in serviced accommodations to keep their employees comfortable and happy. This can improve work quality and productivity. In other words, serviced apartments aid in having an improved work-life balance.

An increasing amount of companies and professionals are opting for serviced accommodations as opposed to hotels with a growth of about 7% in comparison, and an expected increase of 23,000 serviced apartments by the year 2022 in Europe alone. According to ones’ demands and needs, there is a wide range of different types of serviced accommodations available, especially in the past decade a significant increase has been parallel to the rising amount of global nomads that need a place to stay abroad.

But what type of serviced accommodations are offered by providers? 

The range of accommodations provided have a minimum requirement that fit the demands of professionals abroad. Basic serviced accommodations come with furniture, an equipped kitchen, bathroom and toilets. Along with that, there are certain amenities provided similar to that of a hotel such as towels, toiletries, housekeeping services and a reception.

The three types of serviced accommodations being offered are aparthotel rooms, serviced apartments and corporate housing.

  • Aparthotels, are the most identical to a regular hotel. Aparthotels are literally what the name implies: A combination of an apartment and a hotel. This type of serviced accommodation has almost the same services as a hotel and are in designated buildings. An aparthotel provider of Short Stay Citizens, Citadines, offer services such as a 24-hour-reception, housekeeping, room service, meeting rooms, laundry and dry-cleaning, babysitting and more. Depending on the location and provider, some aparthotels might offer more or fewer services. The biggest difference is that the rooms are a bit bigger than the regular hotel rooms but smaller than your average one-bedroom or studio serviced apartment. Aparthotels typically include kitchenettes with limited kitchenware. This type of serviced accommodation, usually, does not have minimum stay requirements such as other types of serviced apartment or corporate housing.

  • Serviced apartments are typically in residential buildings however there are some in designated buildings. For instance, The Ascott Residence in Beijing, also offered by Short Stay Citizens, has buildings around the world offering serviced apartments. Some have a front desk, room service, fitness centre, a business centre, swimming pools, babysitting and more.

  • Serviced apartments in residential buildings, such as Stayci in The Hague, have fewer services but most of them do have housekeeping services and have a washer and dryer in the apartments or in the building. These types of serviced apartments don’t have a reception on site: Guests need to check-in at a designated office for check-in, or the concierge will meet the guests at the apartment to hand over the keys, or self-service check-in is also possible. These serviced apartments are bigger than aparthotel rooms, fully furnished and fully equipped. Most providers have a minimum stay requirement of 7 or 14 days. However, depending on availability, some serviced apartment providers might also provide short stays of less than a week.

  • Corporate housing is an apartment or a house that is fully furnished and equipped. Corporate housing is also sometimes referred to as serviced apartments. Although very similar to serviced apartments, they do not have the same amenities. For example, some only have cleaning services and high-speed internet. It also, usually, has the largest living space compared to aparthotels and serviced apartments. This type of housing has the least similarities with a hotel. For instance, they do not have a front desk, room service, gym, car hiring service, etc. Most corporate housing also has a minimum stay of 14 days or one month. Companies that send their employees frequently abroad to the same location, or for an extended period of time, generally prefer corporate housing.

Corporate housing and serviced apartments can be privately owned or professionally managed.  Privately owned apartments are owned by people who want to rent it out. These types of apartments can be rented for a longer period of time than professionally managed apartments and are often cheaper than other serviced accommodations. However, they offer fewer services and the quality are often not guaranteed. The professionally managed serviced accommodations include more services similar to a hotel and quality is guaranteed. Serviced accommodations are generally less expensive than hotels depending on the length of stay. However, some serviced accommodations might be more expensive due to their location. However, the living spaces are bigger and it has better amenities, therefore, making the stay worth every penny.

For more information check our blog about “The difference between professionally managed serviced apartments, privately owned apartments and hotel rooms”.

Every individual has its own housing preference depending on their needs, wants and budget. Contact Short Stay Citizens to find the serviced accommodation that is best for you!

By Sahar Tahib

 

Sources:

Dwellworks Blog, 2017

Globetrender, 2018

Buying Business Travel, 2019

Gethppy, 2019

National Corporate Housing