The world of travel is becoming increasingly diverse, with more ways than ever to explore the world. While there used to be just vacations and business trips, you can now be a long-term backpacker, an ex-pat, or a digital nomad. One term you may not have heard of is the half tourist. For a certain kind of person, it’s the ideal lifestyle, allowing you to travel more while progressing in your career.

Having recently embraced this way of traveling, here’s what the term means, how my days look, and what kind of person is best suited to being a half tourist.

What is a Half Tourist?

girl looking at the croatian coast

As working from home becomes the norm, many people are realizing that they could just as easily be working from anywhere. However, for most people, work takes up a significant amount of time and energy. Imagine traveling halfway around the world and spending the majority of your time cooped up in an office, stressing over deadlines.

On the other hand, traveling to a new place to enjoy it fully is equivalent to taking any other kind of vacation. Yes, you can dedicate all your time and energy to exploring this fascinating new place but for how long? If you’re not working, your funds will run out quickly. That’s why most people barely manage two weeks a year.

There has to be a better way. Well, there is, and it’s called being a half tourist. It’s a pleasant middle ground, allowing you to continue working in a new location. This could be a tropical paradise on another continent or just a couple of hours away from your hometown. As long as you’re working in a new environment, you can consider yourself a half tourist.

The sweet spot for a half tourist involves doing less sightseeing than a typical tourist while also doing less work than a typical worker. Wondering whether it’s for you? Here’s my personal account of what my typical day as a half tourist looks like.

What a Day in a Life of a Half Tourist Looks Like

Despite the flexibility offered by being a remote worker, don’t expect a long lie-in. If you’re collaborating with others, you must still sync up with their work hours to some extent. Fortunately for me, I’m an hour ahead of my clients, meaning I don’t have to start working until 10 am.

It’s not the alarm clock that wakes me, though, but rather the seeping of the sun through my rental apartment’s curtains. Here in Croatia, sunlight hits my pillow at around 7:30, signaling that it’s time to start the day. It’s a while until the workday truly begins, though, so there’s time to enjoy the morning.

Freshly squeezed orange juice and coffee are best consumed on the balcony. It helps to enjoy this time without checking your emails. By the time I’ve finished breakfast, had a shower, and got dressed, it’s warm enough to dawdle down to the beach for a morning swim.

Fully awake, now, my virtual work meeting is set to start soon. Although my Split-based apartment offers plenty of dedicated workspaces, I prefer to go to the hillside café. It’s only a minute’s walk away and offers gorgeous views over the Old Town, the Adriatic Sea, and the Croatian mountains. I enjoy the daily bustle that comprises talkative locals and sweaty hikers seeking refreshment.

The sweeping panoramic views are particularly good for creative work, not to mention giving my eyes a break from the strain of staring at a spreadsheet. I’m outside but the shade of the canopy makes it easy to see what I’m doing. I work until I’m too hungry to continue and head home to whip up something cheap, quick, and easy in my accommodation kitchen.

From there, I can continue working from home or head back to the coffee shop. Luckily, productive days are common in this setting, meaning that an early finish is too. Sunset isn’t until 8 pm so there are still enough hours of daylight to return to my tourist mindset.

The rest is up to you. Would you rather visit a museum, take a boat ride, or enjoy your evening in a city center bar? The benefit of being a half tourist is that no day is the same. A change of scene in a new country means that, while your work may not change, your recreation time is always different.

Is the Half Tourist Lifestyle For You?

The half tourist lifestyle may appear idyllic but it’s not without its compromises. It offers the benefits of both work and travel while also coming with its own array of downsides. For that reason, half tourism is only suitable for certain personality types or those willing to put the effort in to make it work.

Here are the five main qualities you must possess in order to succeed as a half tourist:

  1. Knowing When to Call it a Day

A pitfall for many freelancers is the constant feeling that you’re not doing enough. Are you comfortable with calling it a day at 4 pm so you can go and explore the local attractions? Or are you always thinking about work deadlines? In the age of hustle-culture, it can be hard to switch off when you know you could be making more progress in your career.

The half tourist is able to draw a line between work and leisure. They shut down their laptop, switch off work notifications, and immerse themselves in this wonderful new culture. If you’re not able to do this every single day – and to take weekends off – then this lifestyle might not be for you.

  1. Exceptional Planning Skills

Work requires a certain amount of planning and so does travel. Doing both simultaneously requires extra careful attention to detail. You’ll need to spend more time than usual checking bus schedules to ensure you can finish your work and still enjoy an evening trip to a nearby beauty spot.

Failing to do so could result in the feeling that you’ve missed out and not done as much as you could. A month may seem like a long time but if you waste two weekends due to poor time management, then there won’t be many opportunities left to explore.

  1. A “Go-With-The-Flow” Kind of Attitude

In spite of the point above, prepare yourself for the fact that plans often don’t work out. Maybe you have to turn down a day trip because a new work assignment came up. Go easy on yourself for having to decline amazing travel opportunities. Sometimes, you might just want to spend a day resting in bed. That’s okay, too.

A flexible mindset is one of the most important qualities for a half tourist. You have to be able to adapt to situations as they arise and make the most of every moment. Some days, you’ll work late and others you’ll finish early. Learn to build your tourist plans around this.

  1. A Strong Sense of Self-Motivation

working remotely from cafe

When you’re in an amazing city or stunning countryside, it can be hard to find the motivation to work. Hot sunny days feel better suited to eating ice cream from a sun lounger. As a half tourist, though, you can’t enjoy your destination if there’s work to be done.

Therefore, make sure you have the self-motivation needed to succeed. Prolific half tourists are able to get up an hour earlier if required. They’re adept at cutting out distractions and getting everything done to a high standard in a short amount of time.

  1. Comfortable With Being Alone

Your office is full of colleagues and your home is probably a stone’s throw from your best friend. A change of scene means getting away from all of this, though. In most cases, you won’t be able to bring your friends with you. Instead, you’ll have to learn to be alone.

While it’s possible to form deep and meaningful connections abroad, it’s inevitable that you’ll be alone a lot. For many people, that’s absolutely fine. They’re comfortable with solitude, embracing the freedom and sense of anonymity that comes with it. If you hate the thought of being a solo traveler, however, then you may not enjoy half tourism.

Becoming a half tourist isn’t for everyone. But for those, like me, who fit the mold of this kind of lifestyle, it’s the perfect middle ground. A change of scene sparks creative thinking and helps me to stay motivated at work. This allows me to earn money abroad and see more of the world than would have otherwise been possible. If you think you’d feel the same way, then why not try out being a half tourist for a while?


Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.

Author

Born in Oxford, UK, Thom has been a digital nomad since graduating from the University of Sheffield in 2016. He’s a freelance writer and founder of Thom Brown Travel. Thom specializes in minimalist, ethical, and meaningful travel writing.

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