As we look ahead to the future of working from home while traveling, the digital nomad lifestyle will become more accessible to those who were once committed to showing up to the office everyday. While working and traveling is the dream we’ve all been waiting to check off the bucket list, there are a few preparations and challenges to keep in mind as you embark on your WFH journey. These tips below will help you stay on your work ‘A-game’ while creating a work-life balance abroad.
Technology & Wifi
First things first – ensure you have the basics: laptop, wifi and a phone. With these three necessities, you really can’t go wrong since this digital age allows easy connectivity from anywhere in the world.
Wifi is a must when traveling and your work can not skip a beat. When factoring in the added time to travel and get settled in, it also happens to be the same time work is calling you back. I like to be extra prepared by reading reviews from prior guests or calling ahead to the hotel, Airbnb or homestay to make sure the wifi is on point. And if it seems questionable, research local coffee shops, restaurants or a nearby library for access to reliable wifi.
I find that phone service is also key to working abroad. Most of the time my clients do not know I am in a different time zone or half across the world, so I like to stay connected via text or take a call if the hours are appropriate. Whether you are working for yourself or you have a boss, being available as you would at home should be the expectation. If traveling out of the country, check with your phone service to see what international plans are available or plan to utilize apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime, or Telegram to make voice and video calls. Purchasing a sim card in the country you are visiting can also be a good option.
And lastly bring extra cords and chargers! I find that a few extras can go a long way, especially if you are traveling with others who are working remotely. Outlet converters, portable chargers, batteries, wifi extenders and a small extension cord can make all the difference while working and travelling.
Time Management & Time Zones
Working while traveling is likely going to place you in a different time zone from those you tend to work with. Depending on your industry, the time difference may or may not matter. However, I tend to factor this in when choosing a place to travel and work from.
To account for the time difference and to make sure I am staying on task with work, I like to create a schedule. I look to the week ahead and schedule calls, meetings and time blocks to work on projects. And I do not forget to factor in time to get out and explore the new location! Because working remotely is a way of life that allows a sense of freedom, it also creates a responsibility to be accountable for yourself and your work. A schedule can help stay on task, create structure and help manage time.
Vacation FOMO & Distraction
Vacation FOMO and distraction is real! Remember, you are working and traveling so make sure you are giving time to both. While you are technically not on full vacation mode, remember to avoid FOMO by making time to get out and explore. Schedule in a new place to eat during lunch or reward yourself an outing at the end of your work day. Also figure out what days are your “off” days and plan for bigger outings during that time. This gives you something to look forward to and can help avoid the Fear of Missing Out. All in all, the best way to avoid distraction is to find a way to balance both work and play. Creating a schedule and knowing when your play times are can help avoid getting behind on your work.
If you are traveling with a partner, friend or a group, remember they can also account for distraction. If they are also working remotely, have a discussion on how you will work side by side and if you are able to align your work and play times together – this is the most ideal. Use each other to stay on task and accountable – then get out and enjoy the new life you are creating!
Stay Active & Get Outdoors
Staying active can make a world of difference when adjusting to your new work and travel routine. While the balancing act of working while adjusting to a new location can be stressful, staying active can make a world of difference. If you are regular to the gym or a specific fitness routine, find a way to incorporate that into your new lifestyle. And if gyms or your regular go-tos are not available, this is an opportunity to connect with the local way of life.
If you are near a beach, go for a swim, take a jog or practice yoga while enjoying the ocean view. If you are in the mountains, go for a hike or a bike ride through the serene landscape. In most surroundings, outdoor exercise is possible, however, if it is nott, get on your laptop and take a class via youtube or your home gym remotely. At the end of the day, exercise and getting outdoors will keep you healthy and will help maintain the stress of working remotely.
Unplug and Enjoy Your New Surroundings
The perk to working and traveling is you get to unplug, explore and enjoy your new surroundings in your free time! What better way to continue earning an income and seeing the world at large all at once! Finding a way to maintain a work-life balance – even abroad – will allow you to create a successful and unforgettable experience of a lifetime as you work while traveling. And it will be worth it!
About the Author
Jennifer Perez, owner of Subject Line Studio – a creative marketing agency – is based out of Los Angeles, CA. As a digital nomad, she is able to work while traveling, allowing her to immerse in new cultures, indulge in the local foods, meet new people and discover architecture and design. In her free time, she writes poetry, plays tennis and is an advocate for women entrepreneurs. Find her on her website or on Instagram @jennypurrkitty.