9 Tips for Working Remotely While Traveling
by Thom Brown
Are you a remote worker? If so, then you’ve probably realized that you can do it from anywhere. You’re a lucky part of the 18% of the world’s population who are full-time remote workers (or just 3.2% of the American workforce). You have a unique opportunity to explore the world, earning money as you do so. As exciting as this seems, it can also be daunting. The two are often in conflict and bringing them into harmony takes some planning and dedication. Here are nine tips for successfully working remotely while traveling.
1. Create a Minimalist, Professional Packing List
When you think of backpackers, you’re probably thinking of dirty clothes, unwashed hair, and technical travel gear. None of this is particularly suitable for professionals. However, it’s possible to combine lightweight minimalist packing with clothes and gear suitable for office environments. Search around for products that are high-quality but lightweight.
Ditch your old heavy laptop in favor of a Macbook Air or similar device. Invest in power banks and packable laptop stands so you can easily work from coffee shops and airport bars. Choose neutral-colored clothing that looks professional and can be mixed and matched to create different outfits. A digital nomad’s packing list is different from a traditional traveler’s. Make sure you’re nailing that balance between work gear and travel gear.
2. Discover the Local Digital Nomad Scene
To greater or lesser extents, every country has its own ex-pat scene, many of whom will be remote workers. They’ll already know the best neighborhoods, which coffee shops or coworking spaces to work from, and where to hang out when the work is done. Being digitally-inclined, they’ll often have an online community on a platform like Slack or Facebook. Find it.
This will help you navigate your destination more easily, become more productive, and network with like-minded professionals. Connecting with other people in a similar situation gives you access to social events and day trips, helping you get the most out of your trip. Some of the people you meet will undoubtedly become long-term friends. In many cases, they’ll give you inspiration about where to travel next.
3. Embrace Slow Travel
The more places you try and visit, the harder you’ll find it to work. Trying to take conference calls on a bus is never ideal. Neither is constantly searching for the best WiFi in a new town. The best way to enjoy your trips while also being productive is to adopt a slow travel approach.
You’ll visit fewer places but you’ll be able to enjoy them more. Get to know large cities like Tokyo on a deeper level. You’ll save money by renting accommodation by the month, meaning you can find a place equipped for remote work. The other benefit of this approach is that you’ll continue to grow in your remote work career, which in turn will enable you to fund future trips.
4. Figure Out a Productive Work-Life Balance
In many American cities, we don’t spend enough time considering the balance between work and leisure. When you’re working from a beach in Mexico, this will likely change. Part of your brain will be in vacation mode at all times, meaning you have to seriously consider the boundary between life and work.
Try to optimize your work schedule for productivity so you can be successful in your remote work career while also having enough time to explore your destination. Experiments in four-day workweeks have generally been successful. See if you can do the same amount of work in less time and enjoy a three-day weekend of relaxation and exploration.
5. Plan Your Trips Around Your Work
A change of scene can do wonders for your career. As a remote worker, you have complete control over where you go. Make sure you’re building an environment around you where you can find the motivation and productivity to thrive and grow. A remote career isn’t always easy to sustain but if you plan your trips carefully, you can give yourself the best chance of success.
Staying in countries with low-living costs allows you to put more money into a savings account. It can then be used to invest or to fund your retirement. Natural scenery and sunlight increase cognitive function while lowering stress. If your trips are making it hard to concentrate, then get out of there and move to a more suitable environment.
6. Make Use of Asynchronous Communication
There’s a hidden blessing to being in a different timezone from your clients and colleagues. Only remote workers truly understand the power of asynchronous communication. Basically, it’s an excuse not to reply to every message straight away or to constantly be distracted by notifications. You can get in the zone and set aside a specific time for responding to messages.
Set your status to “away” on whatever platform you use. Colleagues will know not to expect instant responses. They’ll also limit their interactions to the issues that really matter. Remote workers have the potential to build the most effective work routine for them. Use your distance from your co-workers as an excuse to fully embrace asynchronous communication.
7. Plan for Timezone Differences
It can be easy to lose track of your time zone and fail to collaborate when it matters. While asynchronous communication has its benefits, you’ll also need to sync up with colleagues and clients. For remote video conferences, make sure you’re always aware of your time zone and those of your coworkers. Even if you’ve only moved an hour ahead, this can lead to you missing an important meeting due to getting your times mixed up. Whenever a meeting or call is arranged, make sure the timezone is stated after the time so that there is no confusion. Also, be sure to schedule times that work for everyone. To avoid someone having to log into Zoom well out of normal working hours, always plan ahead.
8. Research WiFi Speeds
Remote workers are heavily reliant on the internet. A slow connection can make it difficult to optimize your productivity and cause you to work much longer hours. To avoid this fate and make sure you’re always achieving your goals as a remote worker, ensure you’ll have a strong and stable internet connection. You can easily research internet speeds for different destinations but, of course, it can vary by property. Check reviews to see what other guests say about the internet and message the host for confirmation. You may want to ask for proof, as well, since some hosts can exaggerate how fast their connection is. For the best results, use dedicated remote working apartments like the ones you find on Anyplace Select.
9. Accept the Challenges: You Can Always Come Home
Remote work and travel might not be as glamorous as you expect them to be. There will be moments of loneliness and homesickness. Some people might criticize your decisions, assuming you to be lazy or over-privileged. The stress and pressure of figuring out a new environment might get to you. When these challenges inevitably occur, be ready for them. Accept them, even embrace them, and eventually overcome them. This is all a part of your growth as a traveler, a remote worker, and a human being. If all else fails, you always have the option to return home.
Working remotely is an amazing opportunity to explore the world. However, travel can make it hard to sustain a professional career. Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to combine remote work and travel in harmony. Don’t forget to find a suitable remote work apartment on Anyplace Select so you can always be confident of keeping on top of work tasks while abroad.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
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.