Hi friends! You probably know by now that I tend to look on the bright side of things.
It can be tough to see the silver lining where the pandemic is concerned, but one positive change since 2020 began is more people are doing remote work than ever before. While being a remote worker has a lot of challenges, it can have some amazing benefits too. For example, you can work in your pajamas all day or drink as many cups of coffee as you want without your coworkers judging you.
Since remote workers don’t have to go into the office they can work from, well, anywhere. This means the pandemic has created a great opportunity for many people to see more of the world, even with limited vacation time.
Why You Should Travel While Doing Remote Work
It’s tough to find time to travel to distant destinations each year, but as I’ve explained in previous blogs, traveling has tons of benefits for your mental and physical health. If you’re a remote worker, all you really need is a stable wifi connection to get your job done from anywhere you like!
Working remotely while traveling isn’t a vacation—it’s an opportunity to explore new cultures, meet new people, and check out new cities, all without taking PTO! Sure, you’ll be tied to your computer during the day, but in the evenings and on the weekends you’ll have the flexibility to explore cities and countries that would typically take at least a week to visit, like the streets of Thailand or the beaches of Ireland.
While this lifestyle only used to be available to freelancers, now anyone doing remote work can experience a change in scenery. Whether you’re looking to take a quick trip or thinking about becoming a digital nomad, here are my top 7 tips on how to work remotely and travel.
Tip #1: Be Open with Your Boss
Chances are, your boss doesn’t actually know where you work right now. But if you’re planning on traveling to a different time zone or leaving the country, it might be a good idea to give your boss a heads up before you go.
Depending on where you’re traveling, there’s a chance you could experience disruptions with your wifi signal. Rather than having an awkward discussion after the fact about why you missed a meeting, it might be a good idea to put your boss on notice of your travel plans just in case you unexpectedly lose connection.
Of course, depending on the culture at your workplace, working remotely while traveling might be frowned upon. In that case, you’ll have to decide whether to keep your travel plans limited to your PTO or to just go ahead and do it without letting your work know in advance.
Tip #2: Establish a Routine
When your home is also your office, it can feel like you always have to be working. But if you’re trying to work remotely and travel, always being on the clock can take away from opportunities to explore.
I recommend determining specific working hours when you do remote work. This will allow you to get the necessary amount of work done each day while also ensuring you have time to enjoy your new location.
Establishing a routine can also help prevent burnout. It can be tough to work remotely and travel if you are either working or exploring all the time. A routine can help you make time for regular exercise or grocery shopping so you make sure you’re staying healthy throughout your adventure.
Tip #3: Find a Coworking Space with Stable Wifi
Being a digital nomad can be lonely, especially if you are traveling alone in a different time zone from your family and friends. To help prevent loneliness, I would suggest finding a coworking space to work during the day. I also wrote another post about how to make friends while traveling that I think is super helpful, so check it out if you can!
Coworking spaces are great for several reasons. First of all, they can help you meet other people, which can be tough to do in a new place. They also can provide a more stable and secure wifi connection than a rental property, allowing you to access the necessary websites and apps to get your work done. They’re also typically quieter than working in a cafe, making it easier to focus.
Tip #4: Pack Well
Ever been on a trip and forgotten something important, like your swimsuit? If you’re going to be away from home for a significant amount of time, it’s very important to pack well.
Try and think of everything you use during a typical week. Maybe you mostly work alone, but occasionally have to jump on a video call. Do you need professional clothes for these meetings? Do you ever use an extra computer monitor while working? Think about packing it if possible.
When you’re trying to work remotely and travel, you want your workdays to go as seamlessly as possible. Being unprepared to look professional or unequipped to work efficiently can take away from the enjoyment of your adventure. Try to prepare ahead of time to make your travel more fun and less stressful.
Tip #5: Don’t Travel Every Week
When you have the flexibility that remote work allows, it can be tempting to travel someplace different every week. However, constantly traveling to a new location can make it feel like all your free time is spent packing your bags instead of enjoying your new city.
I would recommend trying to spend at least a month in any location more than a few hours away. Since it might take a good portion of your weekend to travel, staying for a month will allow you several weekends and tons of evenings to really get to know your new locale. One of the best parts about traveling to a new place is getting to experience the culture. Sticking around for a month (or more!) will help you feel less like a tourist and more like a resident in your new city.
Tip #6: Make a Budget
Unless you’re becoming a digital nomad and leaving your home base behind entirely, you’re probably still going to be responsible for expenses, such as rent, back home. When you’re trying to figure out how to work remotely and travel, it’s important to create a budget and stick to it.
When I go on vacation, I spend a lot more money than I typically do when I’m at home. While traveling while working remotely can sometimes feel like a vacation, most people can’t afford to spend money like they’re on vacation for an extended period of time.
Creating a budget before your trip will allow you to make space for the things that excite you most—going to the museum, eating at a specific restaurant, or taking the train to a nearby city—without having to cut your trip short because it’s too expensive. Plan for everything you can think of, including food, adventures, a hotel, and a coworking space, to make sure you can afford your new adventure.
Tip #7: Plan for the Worst Case Scenario
My last (and least fun!) tip is to plan for the worst case scenario. Nobody wants to think about losing their wallet or busting their laptop while traveling, but unfortunately, things happen! To minimize the disruption to your work and your travel, try and plan for unexpected issues.
Consider bringing a portable hotspot, so you’ll have wifi coverage no matter where you are. Extra credit cards and chargers are always a good idea. Additionally, some insurance carriers offer nomad insurance, which can help give you peace of mind about medical bills if you’re traveling internationally. Also, I have another post about what to pack for a roadtrip that has some great ideas for things to pack while traveling. Feel free to use it as a resource!
Now is the Time to Become a Digital Nomad
Thanks to the pandemic, it’s easier than ever before to figure out how to work remotely and travel. All you have to decide is where to go first!