A post from 35,000ft

As I type this I’m sat at 35,000ft on my way to Gran Canaria for a month. While I’m there I’ll be mixing my usual day to day routine with Buffer with the delights and scenery of Gran Canaria. I thought I’d share some insights into why I’m going and how I came to pick Gran Canaria.


Buffer is a distributed team with people dotted all over the globe and travelling is part of the Buffer DNA with visits to Hong Kong and Tel Aviv under its belt with many more places planned.

I’m hoping to fit in various other trips over the coming year with a list of places already in mind. Those include New Zealand, Italy and wherever else I point at on the globe. To think that up until last year I hadn’t been outside of Europe.

“So, young person, travel. Travel wide and far. Travel boldly. Travel with full abandon.”
Jeff Goins (3 Reasons to Travel While You’re Young)

Picking a place

I’ve made use of Airbnb for all of my visits so far, searching for a place is as easy as typing in a location and selecting your requirements. I have simply being typing in countries in order to find somewhere, think of it as spinning a globe and stopping it just somewhere within that country.

The main requirement for me as I’ll be working as normal is a decent Internet connection so I can communicate with the rest of the team and develop Buffer for iPhone along with the Web App.

As I don’t drive being able to get from the Airport to the destination easily is also a requirement, fortunately my Airbnb host was able to set this up for me and a taxi will be waiting for me at the Airport and is about 15 minutes from the Airport.

Prior to searching in Spain I was looking for somewhere in Italy, somewhere that I have wanted to visit for a while. I struggled to find somewhere suitable close to an airport and with good Internet also as I only have a month before my next trip I decided I’d prefer a longer trip in the future, maybe with a few hops around Italy to various cities.

So I typed in “Spain” on Airbnb and selected my specific requirements, I then viewed for half an hour or so adding possible places to a wishlist before picking the apartment i’m going to be staying in. Before booking I dropped the host a message enquiring about how good the broadband is and result it has 100mb Fibre Optic Broadband so it was decided a booked.

Why Airbnb?

I’ve been using Airbnb for all of my trips for the ease of organising online and communicating with hosts easily. That and a hotel would work out alot more expensive and finding short term leases would be nigh impossible in most places although we did do that in Tel Aviv.

Airbnb places are all furnished and the likely hood is it has everything you need. Some even make sure that they have a beer or bottle of wine waiting for you.

Depending on your choice you can have a whole apartment to yourself or share it with the hosts and even other Airbnb travellers. Sharing allows you to ask any questions about the local area whenever and also means you can go grab a beer or meal with your hosts, handy if you don’t know anyone in the area. Hosts where i’ve stayed in the entire apartment have given me contact details and said to drop them a message at anytime if I have any questions about the local area.

Apartments on Airbnb are reviewed after a stay so you can easily decide whether somewhere is a good pick for your visit from the feedback they have.


After travelling to Tel Aviv for 2 and a half months and San Francisco more recently you’d be surprised how little you really need to take with you. Each time I leave for somewhere new I end up packing less after learning from the previous trip. Obviously a selection of clothes is a must, along with all the various cables for your tech.

I’m yet to come away somewhere without something that is essential, hopefully that’ll never happen.


Depending on location you can find various useful apps to find places to visit and eat. Two of which are Yelp and Foursquare, the reviews and tips on these apps allow you to pick out places you want to visit during your time somewhere.

This depends in where you are going. A quick look at both before I left revealed that Yelp isn’t used that much and Foursquare tips are in Spanish (unsurprisingly), so Google Translate and star ratings it is.

Fixed Dates

Picking your length of stay can be tricky, I’ve been working out my travel plans around fixed dates in my calendar. Those being conferences and Buffer Retreats, anything that can be moved like appointments at dentists etc don’t have to effect your plans unless urgent. It is working well so far with fixed dates in San Francisco for conferences in June & August and back home in September for another conference then who knows where i’ll end up. Any recommendations?

If you have any travelling tips or stories please share them in the comments, I’d love to hear them.

2 replies on “A post from 35,000ft”

Thanks for your write-up. It’s awesome to see what remote work enables for seeing the world.

I wanted to chime in with a few of my own travel experiences from spending a couple months in Europe and a couple in Asia. (Some of these depend on the type of travel you’ll be doing, ie roughing it in 3rd world vs. hotel travel in Europe)

1. Pack medicine and prescriptions that you’ll need or could possibly need. Epipens, antibiotics (incl. Cipro for persistent stomach ailments), rehydration salts, and not bad to bring your own hypodermic kit (in case you urgently need a vaccination or injection).
2. Pack very little clothing. It’s nice to grab clothing along the way because it will fit the climate and local style.
3. Good bug repellant for tropical climates. Nothing says travel bummer like malaria.
4. Learn essentials of the language, ie numbers, how to ask the cost of something, and if a room is available.
5. If you want to tell stories to people with whom you don’t share a language, bring lots of photos. This opened so many discussions with people when I was overseas. Photos of family, friends, pets, your house, etc make easy conversation starters.

That’s all that comes to mind at the moment.

Enjoy your trip!

Great tips Zander. Definitely need to start doing some of those, especially learning the language as i’m currently surviving in Spain with only “Hello”, “Thank you” and “Sorry, I don’t speak Spanish”.

I can tell each time I go away the stuff I take away me is going to evolve to the place i’m going to as well as from learning from past trips. Hoping to downsize my suitcase soon so i’m taking less so I can grab clothes along the way.

Thanks again for the tips. 🙂

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