How to Work Remotely and Travel: The Ultimate Guide
The world is slowly returning to normalcy, and while some people have gone back to work as usual, others crave change. If your Mondays seem longer than usual and your weekends even shorter, consider working remotely while traveling. It's becoming common practice for most people, and the trend is quickly catching up.
Come to think of it. You get to explore different destinations around the world while building your career! What could be more enticing than that? A report by Gallup’s State of the American Workplace found that workers who spent most of their time working from home and less time in the office were more engaged and happier than their in-office counterparts. Working from home had been growing in popularity. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more companies have gone or are planning to go fully remote.
However, working remotely while traveling is not all about the palm trees, the beach, and watching the sunset. It takes good planning, organization, and time management. Don’t pack your suitcase and join the digital nomad lifestyle just yet. Check out these tips to ensure that your remote work while traveling is successful and long-lasting.
Settle on a Set Location
If you're planning to work while traveling, moving from one destination to another can be disruptive than you expected. It's advisable to settle on a well-to-do location where you can explore at the end of your work hours.
This will not only save you the chaos of looking for accommodation now and then, but also the expenses of traveling. Additionally, changing locations every week or two can be extremely exhausting. Opt to stay at one destination for one to three months, and take a random weekend or weeklong trips here and there.
The longer you stay at one place, the cheaper it (usually) becomes. Plus, you get more chances of mingling with the locals, learning their culture, language, and enjoying their cuisine.
A Strong Wi-Fi Is Non-Negotiable
Back at home, you are guaranteed a stable internet connection at every café around the corner or Starbucks. When traveling internationally, things can be quite different. Network connection speeds might not be as reliable, and not every café has Wi-Fi.
So, before you set out to your chosen destination, do your research on neighborhoods or hotels with reliable internet connections. A good place to start is Google Maps or Foursquare. These apps will even provide you with interior photos of how the place looks like and estimated busy times.
Additionally, it's crucial to have a backup plan, such as purchasing a SIM card or connecting to a wireless hotspot. More importantly, get a VPN. Some countries block certain websites, and the only way to bypass that is via a VPN.
Learn How to Stay Productive
Nothing’s as important as staying productive whether you're working from home or remotely while on the go. Now, considering the distractions that you may face at the places you’ll be staying, it can be difficult to work productively.
One of the best ways to stay focused is to find a co-working space and get the job done. A co-working space is usually isolated and comes with fewer distractions. Unless you have unlimited self-control and you can work under any condition, distractions can lead to loss of focus.
Luckily, there are various apps to help you organize your days. These include Trello, Evernote, and StayFocused.
Connect with Fellow Digital Nomads and Expats
If you're traveling solo, you can get quite lonely with no one to talk to. That’s why it's advisable to connect with like-minded digital nomads. Social media platforms like Facebook are an excellent choice for finding fellow ex-pats or digital nomad groups where you're planning to travel to.
The platform gives you opportunities to connect with a large pool of remote-work communities that can also help you find useful resources or in case of emergencies. Need a nice place to dine out? Need a dentist or a rental car? These groups are filled with valuable information that might help make your trips more manageable and fun.
When you decide to travel and work remotely as a way of life, you have to find ways to stay connected with loved ones, friends, and colleagues. There are various modes of communication. It's advisable to choose the most reliable one and share it with family and friends before you leave.
Most companies now use conference calls and video chats regularly to convey important updates and check on employees. So, it's essential to learn of the different time zones to avoid inconveniencing your managers or colleagues. This way, you know when it's appropriate to place calls to clients. Moreover, it will prevent you from showing up late to a virtual meeting.
Likewise, let your loved ones know of your whereabouts every time you travel to a different destination. This way, they can always keep tabs on your travel itinerary and avoid being worried all the time.
Pack the Right Gear
If you're just starting the travel and work remotely lifestyle, you might be confused about what you can and cannot pack. You know you’ll be on the road most of the time and have so many things to pack. However, having a lot of luggage won’t be easy to move around with.
So, where do you even start?
Of course, apart from your clothes and essentials, you need to pack the right gear. Some of the items you might need include:
- A laptop stand
- A USB hub
- A power bank
- A universal travel adapter
- A flash drive
- An Ethernet cable
- Noise-canceling headphones/earphones
- A water bottle
Investing in a good tablet is also ideal since it will make your work more accessible. Plus, you can go hiking or on adventures with minimal gear.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
When you travel and work remotely, you can easily be tempted to just lazy around and spend days lying on the beach. However, your physical wellbeing is also crucial. Working out will help keep your body and mind in top shape. Exercising is known to reduce depression and lower the risk of heart disease and other health risks.
You don’t have to engage in heavy workouts like strength training. Swim for 20 minutes, jog for 15 minutes, run for 30 minutes, or cycle for 30 minutes to one hour. These are some great options to counter the side effects of sitting at your desk for hours.
Create and Stick to a Routine
The key to succeeding in the world of remote work is to stay organized by structuring your day for optimal efficiency. Find out what your working style is and know when and where you're most productive.
If you excel working indoors, alone, during the day, find a place that makes it easier for you. If you have no qualms working at night or surrounded by others, fantastic. There’s no right or wrong working environment, as long as it doesn't interfere with your work and productivity.
When you find out a remote work routine that works in your favor, try to stick to it. This will not only ensure that you work more efficiently, but also give you ample time to explore and discover new surroundings.
Focus on Your Work-Life Balance
Unplugging after work is one of the biggest challenges that remote workers face. According to a survey by Buffer, 22 percent of remote workers stated that they struggled with unplugging at the end of their work shifts. You're not in an office setting, where certain times are cut out for specific activities, like lunchtime. So, it can be hard to detach from everything and call it a day.
Without an effective routine, you can easily find yourself overworking and missing the opportunities that working remotely while traveling can bring you.
Luckily, unlike working from home, it can be a lot easier to close your laptop and go hiking, skiing, or explore the destinations around you. Plus, you can take a day off (depending on your work schedule) to indulge in nature or treat your body to a spa day.
The most important thing is to find a way to limit your work hours from creeping into your personal life. The best approach is to use one of the time management tools available on the market. Take Traqq, for example. It allows you to time yourself so that you know when to enjoy your surroundings and engage in workouts or hobbies.
Working remotely doesn't mean you have all the time in the world. There are still deadlines to beat and client work to submit. With Traqq, you’ll know which projects are assigned to you and when assignments are due. The time tracker will also let you know when to take breaks to avoid overworking. This way, you can keep your focus high and maintain your productivity levels.
Furthermore, Traqq can help you check your activity levels. You can compare them with your earnings, giving you a picture of whether your profitability.
If you work as a team, Traqq ensures that the entire team is on the same page. If you're a supervisor or business owner, its employee monitoring tool lets you keep track of every project. It will help you track the overall performance level of each worker. The graphical overview of their activity levels makes it easy to identify underworking or overworking employees. This way, you can find a lasting solution.
While work should come first, you also need to set aside some time to enjoy the world around you. Traqq is one of the best time management tools to help you achieve that and more.
Be Prepared for Fluctuating Costs of Living
Keep in mind that each country and city you visit will have varying costs of living. From accommodation and food to traveling costs and tourist spots, it's vital to research your destinations in advance to avoid overspending.
It's also advisable to create a spreadsheet to log every penny you spend or every time you withdraw money from the ATM. The spreadsheet will help you establish your monthly, quarterly, or annual budget so you can make adjustments where appropriate.
Even though working while roaming has its challenges, it can positively impact your career and help you grow in unimaginable ways. For one, it will teach you to stay focused on work, control distractions, eat well, and sleep enough. Of course, the biggest reward will be to learn new languages, cultures, and explore the world while earning.
When traveling and working remotely, be sure to have a backup plan for your backup plan. Anything can go wrong at any time. There will be days where finding a stable internet connection is a hassle. Your laptop may get damaged or you may find yourself in the middle of a security crisis.
Having options can save you from losing a client, letting your team down, or being stuck in a foreign country.