For most people, being able to work remotely feels like a super power within itself. As long as you have an internet connection, you can stand on any of the four corners of the earth and log into your online work station. Suddenly, getting behind in work or running low on funds while traveling seems like a thing of the past. But, how easy is it really to be traveling and working at the same time? What if your remote work hours don’t work with the time zone where you’ll be traveling? Perhaps you’ll feel like the stress from your remote working is prohibiting you from enjoying your travels.
There are lots of easy tips to take into consideration when working and traveling and it surely can be an amazing once in a lifetime experience.
Work and Live Remotely – Not Work and Vacation
One of the most well-known things that people want when they travel is to live like the locals. What better way to do this than to remote work where you’ll be traveling? I was recently able to travel to a few countries in Europe while working remotely and the experience brought on some new and unexpected realities. I didn’t know if I’d be able to handle remote work and vacation as two separate subjects while traveling. Instead, they ended up meshing together in a sort of work-life type of mood in which I felt like I had been living in the countries I traveled to by working there as well.
I actually felt like a local who had to go to work every day and earn a living just like all of the other people commuting within the traveled city. This made the experience of my travels much more real and authentic.
This European trip also helped me keep a balanced view and conscientious idea of my finances. This is because I was still able to see myself working for my travel expenses. It’s easy to get lost in the fairy tale of traveling especially when it’s a new place and you want to see everything. Yes, you may still have a steady stream of income, but you are still in a foreign country where anything can happen, including unexpected difficulties. It’s so tempting and easy to throw money at every souvenir that comes across your path or at every history tour you want to join.
Keeping a daily budget that includes meals, souvenirs, or even health expenses can really help with overspending and making sure you are able to continue living within your means. Keep a daily journal (like I did!) and set a daily max budget to stick to.
Schedule Your Time and Take Some Real Days Off
Whether traveling abroad for short trip or the long term, the best habit you can develop is scheduling your time, especially if you plan on being in different time zones. Using a time zone converter can be your best bet when your shift starts at 10 am PST and you want to know what time that will be in London or Hong Kong. If you’re traveling for a shorter amount of time, it’s always nice to take a few days off if you plan on traveling during the week or during your working hours. It can be a huge hassle to be waiting at an airport or train station struggling to search for the tiniest WiFi signal.
While in Europe, I traveled mostly during off hours but I took a few days off so I would not feel rushed to get back into remote work as soon as my plane landed. This also gave me a buffer in case I got lost in the city and getting to my hotel took longer than expected (yes, I did get lost a few times!). Taking a day or two off here and there can also allow you to schedule your upcoming working days, making sure the location where you will be staying has a good enough internet signal or finding a local cafe with WiFi in case your plane arrives a little late and you need to hop on immediately.
Remote Work to Live!
It’s common knowledge that most people have a live-to-work mentality. For us digital nomads, it’s the total opposite as we strive for a more work-to-live type of attitude. We want to be able to earn a living without being stuck in a little box-shaped office cubicle on the 30th floor of a high-rise. Grabbing life by the horns with one hand and holding our laptop in another is how we run the race of life and we don’t have any intention of slowing down.