working on the go travel tips

10 Travel Tips for Working on the Go

In the past, you could do one of two things: work or enjoy a vacation. You couldn’t have both at the same time. Luckily, thanks to technological advances and an ever-growing remote workforce, those days are long gone. Now more than ever, employees are saving their PTO thanks to a new phenomenon: the workation

And who can blame them? If all you need is a laptop and a stable WiFi connection, why would you confine yourself to your home office? I’m sure many people can agree that working oceanside sounds much more appealing than working from a boring cubicle in a traditional office setting.

Of course, this lifestyle isn’t ideal for everyone. It can be difficult to balance traveling and working if you have family commitments at home or are on a strict budget. But if you have the time, money, and freedom to try it, working on the go is a must.

Here are some tried-and-true tips that make it easy to work remotely no matter where in the world you are.

1. Establish a stable and secure internet connection

For many employees, your job requires a solid WiFi connection. To avoid connectivity mishaps, make sure you always have a plan—and a solid backup plan or two, also.

Research your destination ahead of time to see what kind of internet they offer. If you’re staying at an Airbnb, reach out to the host and ask what their upload/download speeds are. Check out some of the local coffee shops or coworking spaces in the area to see what kind of connections they have, too.

And, of course, always have a backup. If the internet in your hotel goes out, have a secondary location in mind where you can go to finish your work. If all else fails, you can try using your phone’s mobile hotspot as well.

While speed is important here, you also want to consider security. Many public WiFi connections don’t offer the security you need, especially if your work involves handling sensitive information. To combat this, consider utilizing a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This application will encrypt your connection, filling in any security gaps.

2. Be mindful of time zone changes.

This is especially true if your job, like most, involves collaborating and communicating with people across the globe. Keep the lines of communication open with your team so they know the best way to reach you, and which hours you will be most responsive.

If your time zone only overlaps with your coworkers for part of the day, schedule your tasks so that you’re open to communication during that part. For example, do most of your “head-down” work when the rest of your team is offline. Then, when the whole team is online at the same time, you’ll be able to focus on more team-centered tasks. This will help you be intentional with your time and stay focused on the right things at the right time. 

3. Make sure you have the right gear.

Make a list of workday essentials and ensure those are the first things you pack when setting off on the next adventure. That will keep you from arriving at a new destination only to realize you left your charger in your previous hotel or Airbnb.

This list will look different from person to person, but here are some examples of things that most digital nomads require:

  • An external battery in case you find yourself working in a location with no outlet access
  • Noise-canceling headphones with a built-in microphone
  • Outlet plug adapters if you’ll be traveling internationally
  • A mobile hotspot in case you don’t have access to reliable or secure WiFi

You also want to make sure you have a secure way to transport all of your work equipment, particularly if your job requires more than a laptop and if you’ll be traveling by plane frequently.

4. Create a budget and stick to it.

No matter how you look at it, traveling—especially internationally—gets expensive. Ensure you have the most successful “working on the go” experience possible by creating a strict budget ahead of time and sticking to it during your travels.

In addition to budgeting for travel and daily expenses, there are some other financial considerations to look at before you hop countries. First, consider opening a travel credit card that allows you to make international purchases without exchanging currency.

More importantly, talk with your HR rep to make sure there are no tax implications to working from other countries. Note that working abroad looks different from location to location, so you’ll want to plan ahead in this regard. 

5. Simplify the traveling process as much as possible

Traveling can be stressful. To avoid any unnecessary pressure as you travel and work at the same time, follow these tips:

  • Take advantage of rewards and discounts. Find a credit card for everyday purchases that will reward you with travel perks over time. If you stay in hotels frequently, be sure to sign up for loyalty programs as well. You’ll be racking up flight miles and free hotel stays in no time.
  • Pack lightly. The less stuff you have, the easier it will be to seamlessly transition from one destination to the next. Being smart with how you pack can also save on baggage fees if you’re a frequent flier.
  • Utilize TSA PreCheck. Speaking of frequent flying, if you travel even a handful of times each year, you need to take advantage of PreCheck. There is a small fee but when you consider the fact that, in August 2022, 95% of TSA PreCheck passengers waited less than 5 minutes in airport security lines, we’d say it’s worth it.
  • Get travel insurance. Travel insurance will cover your back in case of lost luggage, last-minute trip cancellations, medical emergencies overseas, and more. For someone who frequently works away from home, travel insurance is a must.

6. Find interesting coworking spaces.

One of the main perks of working on the go is getting to mix up your scenery. In exchange for working from the hotel room or lobby every day, why not look into some coworking spaces? Coworking is the idea of multiple people working independently but alongside one another. Many big cities (and even some smaller ones too, as the idea grows in popularity) offer coworking spaces.

In these spaces, you’ll find all the amenities of a traditional office—conference rooms, printers and scanners, break rooms with complimentary snacks, and more. Some coworking spaces even have cafes, 3D printers, or yoga studios!

One of the biggest perks of coworking spaces is the flexibility they offer. In most cases, you can choose to pay by the hour or by the day. If you plan on sticking around for a while, you may even be able to rent a desk or office by the week or month 

7. Be aware of your productivity strengths and weaknesses

It can be easy to get off task when you’re constantly moving around and being presented with new distractions. For this reason, the digital nomad life isn’t for everyone. To make it possible for you, you’ll have to become very in tune with how you operate best 

Learn where your weaknesses are. Is there a certain time of day when your mind is most likely to wander? Or are there certain environments where you don’t focus as well? At the same time, identify your strengths. What time of day are you at your most productive? What kind of “office” setting helps you stay on task the best?

Once you’ve identified both your strengths and your weaknesses, you’ll be better able to structure your work habits so that you get the most out of each working hour.

8. Establish a routine

One downside of remote work is that it can make it difficult to establish a clear work/life balance. This is especially true for people who consider themselves workaholics. Keeping the same routine every day, no matter where you’re located can be a huge help when it comes to establishing that balance.

The first boundary you should set is knowing when to call it a day. Make sure your work has a hard cut-off time each afternoon. If your job allows (and most do!), turn off your email and Slack notifications during your “off” hours.

9. Look into remote work travel programs

The digital nomad life is exhilarating and freeing, but it can be challenging, especially if you’re just starting out. Even if you’ve been “workationing” for years, it’s always nice to connect with other like-minded individuals. Doing so may prove to be invaluable, as other digital nomads can give you tips on finding housing, WiFi, or the best coworking spaces.

To connect traveling remote workers with others who are doing the same, several remote work travel programs have been established. These programs are a bit pricey, some costing thousands of dollars a month, but many include housing, utilities, and travel between itinerary stops.

Other perks of remote working programs include access to coworking studios, local hosts, and fitness studios, along with professional and social networking opportunities that may be difficult to find on your own. These programs are invaluable to traveling workers all over the planet, but especially for those who are just getting started with this lifestyle.

10. Use your “off time” to explore.

This is the whole point of working remotely while you travel, right? Don’t get so caught up in the productivity aspect that you neglect to take advantage of the beautiful sights and attractions around you.

Depending on what your typical schedule looks like, you might not even have to wait until 5 PM rolls around to enjoy the sights. Visit a local museum on your lunch break, or spend your shorter breaks throughout the day taking a stroll through your new neighborhood.

Not only will these mini excursions help you get the most out of your travel experience, but breaking up your day whenever possible can help prevent feelings of burnout while working.

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