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The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work While Traveling

Aug 2, 2023 by Vreny Blanco · 10 min read · Remote Work

Brunette working at computer, sitting on beach
Image by Freepik

One of the greatest benefits of working remotely is being location-independent. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities.

In this article, we explore the benefits and challenges of working remotely while traveling. We’ll also provide valuable insights and practical tips to ensure you have everything you need to embark on this exciting journey.

Whether planning a short trip or going around the world with your laptop, these tips will help you make the best of the experience.

Let’s get started!

Benefits of Working Remotely

  • You can explore new cities and cultures while earning your income as usual.1
  • It’s a chance to escape from your typical routine and see the world without giving up your career.1
  • You can spend the day working from wherever there is internet and spend your evenings and weekends in nature or pursuing a hobby.1
  • You can fly in and out at your own schedule, avoiding peak times for tourism.

Challenges of Working Remotely

  • Working remotely while traveling requires self-discipline and motivation. It can be hard to focus on work when you’re in an exciting and new location.1
  • The desire to explore every corner of a new destination can interfere with your productivity. You could find yourself having some not-so-fun late-night working sessions to meet a deadline.1
  • You need to cautiously plan ahead and create a more structured routine than working from home to get your job done and enjoy new places.
Blonde working on the beach
Image by senivpet on Freepik

Visas, Passports, and Immigration Laws

  • Research and learn the immigration, general laws, and tax policies of the country you’re visiting.2 Depending on the destination, you may need a special visa or permit to work and travel there.1

Health and Travel Insurance

Getting health and travel insurance before you head out on your trip is always a good idea. This way, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that if anything unexpected happens, you’re protected.2 1

Talk to Your Boss

  • If you are already working remotely from home and want to travel without necessarily asking for vacations, talk to your boss about it and come up with a working plan.
  • Don’t lie to your boss. You may be required to attend an urgent meeting or address an emergency matter at the office, and it may cost you your job if they find out you lied to them and are in another country.
  • Meet your deadlines and exceed expectations.3
  • Proving your capability to accomplish tasks effectively while on the go can increase your chances of being considered for remote work options by your employer later on.

Respect the IT Policies of Your Company

  • Some companies prohibit public WiFi or have special rules for handling confidential information outside the office.1
  • Ensure you know such policies so you won’t needlessly get into trouble.1

Set Realistic Expectations

  • Be realistic about the demands of working from locations other than home.1
  • If you are constantly moving from one location to another during your trip, it can negatively impact your productivity and drain your energy. This can affect both your work and travel experience. Instead of packing and unpacking frequently, it is often more beneficial to stay in one place for a more extended period.1
  • By staying in one location for an extended period, you increase your opportunities to learn about the community and establish relationships. You can experience and uncover aspects of a place that rushed tourists might overlook.1
  • Remember that the pictures you see on social media, often professionally edited, can make a place look better than it actually is and set unrealistic expectations. So, it’s best to keep a realistic outlook, enjoy what you see, and be pleasantly surprised instead of disappointed.4

Keep Your Costs Under Control

  • One of the easiest ways to lower costs is to choose a more affordable destination.1
  • Consider subletting your apartment or house while you’re away.1
  • The longer you stay in one place, the easier it is to keep a budget. You are also much more likely to get a discount when you book a month-long accommodation.1
  • Take advantage of the flexibility of being able to travel in the off-season instead of the high tourist season. This can lead to finding deals and discounts on flights, hotels, and other expenses, ultimately saving you money.1
Brunette working on the beach
Image by diana.grytsku on Freepik

Ensure a Stable Internet Connection

  • To effectively work remotely, it’s critical to have a stable and reliable internet connection.1 2 4
  • Don’t just trust the listing that says there’s WiFi; ask the host what upload/download speeds are.4
  • Find out where the coffee shops with internet access or coworking spaces are, and test a couple of different locations if you can, in case you need to relocate.4
  • A small travel router can also be a helpful tool for staying connected. It will let you boost the WiFi range in your accommodation.1

Plan Ahead

Traveling can be overwhelming with all the planning involved. You must figure out where to go, how to get there, and where to stay. You should also consider things like where to eat, do laundry, and so on.4 However, it’s always worth the effort to plan ahead. By doing so, you’ll be able to make the most out of your trip while saving money and time in a new and unfamiliar place.

  • Staying productive while on the go is about being one step ahead.5
  • The little things you do to set yourself up for future success ultimately determine whether you get the work done or not.5
  • Research your destinations regarding the healthcare system, cost of living, and access to WiFi.1
  • It is essential to familiarize yourself with the culture, traditions, dress code, and history of the country you’re visiting.
  • Keep in mind that certain actions or words may not be appropriate in some cultures, such as hugging or kissing when greeting someone.
  • If you can, learn some basic words in the country’s language, like “hi”, “bye”, “thank you”, and “please”. This will make your travel time easier and show the locals respect and appreciation.
  • Research the time zones of the country you want to travel to and, if necessary, schedule meetings at a convenient time. Otherwise, you may need to zoom in on the office too early or too late.2 6
  • Try to find a place where you can work without distractions, such as a quiet café, a coworking space, or a library. If you’re staying in an Airbnb or hotel, look for a room with a desk or table where you can set up your workspace.7

Ensure Access to Your Work Material

  • Collaboration is crucial for remote teams. Request access to your project documents, tasks, and objectives to foster an open and collaborative environment.
  • Working on a shared platform allows all team members to access the latest versions of documents and tasks, reducing wasted time and ensuring that everyone has access to up-to-date documents.8

Establish a Routine

Establishing a daily routine is one of the most important things you can do to stay productive while traveling. It will help you stay focused and motivated, even in a new and exciting place.

  • Set daily goals and create a schedule that includes work, rest, and pleasure time.7
  • Schedule the most important and complicated tasks first and at your most productive times.
  • Plan your workday wisely: For example, if you travel to a tropical country, it might be dangerous for your skin to be at the beach at the hottest and brightest time of the day. You could use that time to work from the hotel room or a coffee shop where there is a comfortable temperature; this way, you can be productive and not get a sunburn.
  • Use Time blocking: This technique divides your day into periods or blocks for each task. By dividing your day into specific sections, you can focus on your work and avoid distractions.7
  • Establish a sleep routine. Having a consistent sleep routine is crucial for boosting productivity levels. Your body and mind require adequate time to adjust to changes in time zones.6

Minimize Distractions

Distractions can be a major productivity killer.

  • Limit your use of social media and other time-wasting sites.7
  • Use tools like 1Focus, an app and website blocker, to block distracting and time-wasting content.
  • Use noise-canceling headphones.7

Be Aware of What You Eat

While picking up fast food and unhealthy snacks is often more convenient, they can leave you feeling bloated and tired. Opt for healthy snacks and meals, drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration, and avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco.6

Allocate the Right Task to the Right Moment

  • If you’re working on a difficult task, it’s not a good idea to immerse yourself in it while waiting to find out if your flight is delayed. Instead, use that time to work on something less demanding. Answer some emails or messages, etc.5
  • If you can’t work, study. If you get motion sickness from sitting on a train or plane for a long time, reading or typing on a computer is not the best idea. But you can find other ways to be productive. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts during long trips, etc. 5 6
  • Calling the office while driving or riding on a train can be challenging. Depending on your location, you could lose your connection. You want to avoid being cut off in the middle of an important meeting or conversation with your boss.
  • If you have a long flight, use the time to catch up on some sleep or rest.
Tropea
Image with permission from Niklas Behrens

Schedule Time for Relaxation and Enjoyment

  • Find a balance between work and relaxation.
  • Create a routine that lets you finish your projects and take advantage of the opportunity to explore a new destination.
  • Fully engage with the local culture and enjoy the experience.6
  • Walking improves cognitive performance and enhances creativity.
  • Refresh, reboot, re-focus.3

Make the Most of Spontaneous Networking Opportunities

  • Being on the road is an excellent opportunity to meet new people from different walks of life.6
  • Whether at the airport, in your hotel, or exploring the destinations, take time to network and start conversations with people you meet along the way.6

Travel Light

Moving and settling into a new location is easier when you travel with fewer things. You might be surprised by how little you actually need.4

Bring the Right Gear

To ensure comfortable work from anywhere, it’s essential to have reliable equipment and a proper work setup.

Before traveling abroad, back up all your passwords to ensure access to your files and email accounts (we use Bitwarden for this purpose). Additionally, it’s a good idea to back up your files to an external drive or network location. This will come in handy if your laptop gets stolen or damaged, ensuring you can continue working.

Here are some useful tools you can take with you:1

  • Laptop stand (foldable)
  • Universal travel adapter and charger
  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Travel router
  • Portable hard drive (SSD)
  • VPN service
  • Portable power bank
  • External battery
  • Travel safe

Conclusion

Pursuing your passion while traveling is an incredibly fulfilling experience, but it can also be challenging. However, with proper planning, you can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and unforgettable experiences.

Preparation is crucial when embracing the digital nomad lifestyle. Pack all the essentials, set up a cozy and efficient workspace, and allocate time for exploring the wonders of new places.

Embrace the freedom, embrace the adventure, and make the most of every moment!

Tropea
Image with permission from Niklas Behrens
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