Many of us dream of being a digital nomad; travelling and discovering the world while continuing to follow our career. Technology has already made this possible and many have taken this path with success, and although the COVID-19 pandemic has all but brought travel to a stop, more people than ever before are working remotely. When the world does eventually open back up, opportunity to work and travel will become irresistible to some. However, it isn’t easy to earn a living while seeing the world. If you’re thinking of going for it, then now is the time to begin your planning. Here are 5 ways you can make working while travelling work for you.
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Get your hardware sorted
Remember, it is technology that makes remote working abroad possible – if you don’t have the right kit, you’ll be booking your plane home far sooner than you thought. Firstly, make sure you are always armed with a pen and a notepad – unavoidably at times you will not have access to the web and at least you’ll be able to do some prep for when you’re back online. A good quality laptop that is very lightweight is vital; this will be your most important travel item so don’t be tempted to buy cheap. IT resources may be comparatively poor where you are going; you can’t work without a laptop. Buy a slim and durable sleeve to protect it and make sure it is plain to avoid the gaze of thieving eyes when you’re on the move. Take a universal power adaptor along so your laptop always has access to juice, and you should invest in a portable power bank to keep your machine going if you can’t get access to a power source. Noise cancelling headphones are a smart move to ensure you can cut out excessive sound when you need to and make virtual meetings pass more smoothly.
Buy good software
You can have the best laptop in the world, but unless you have great software it will be quite useless as a remote working tool. You’ll need software that’s reliable, secure and it has to be hyper user-friendly. Working while travelling means your time is at a premium and if you aren’t productive due to duff gear, you’ll be getting a call from your employer that might bring your adventure to a premature end. Installing a VPN (virtual private network) is a good idea – it will make your communications with your employers more secure and encrypt your internet use too. Make sure you have all the right software to communicate and collaborate with your co-workers as though you were working in the office. Zoom, Skype and Microsoft Teams are all excellent apps for video meetings, while you can find lots of software that will enable you to collaborate with colleagues. Google Drive is a great file management tool and should project management be a part of your working day then you’ll find a lot to like about Trello. Whatever you choose, make sure it is cloud-based so you can safely access and store your files and documents no matter where you are and what time it is. You can find out more and review which cloud based software platforms are best for you at Saasgenius.com.
Make sure you will have internet access
Having access to a stable and relatively high-speed internet connection is a must. Most hotels abroad these days offer decent connections and reasonable WiFi speeds, but you should not leave anything to chance – if you have a poor service then sending and receiving simple emails, let alone the files and various documents you need to use will become a nightmare. Should you be in a virtual meeting with your boss and you lose your connection, you might get away with it the first couple of times, but should you get continual issues then it’s not going to end well for you. Make sure you do your research in advance and make sure you have the facilities you need wherever you are going. As mentioned, most hotels offer WiFi but you should check out locations with coworking spaces too as another option. Also bear in mind that if one part of a country has good internet access, it might be significantly worse just a few kilometers down the road.
Work remotely, not in your hotel
There will be times when you have to work where are you are staying, but you should seek to avoid doing it too often. If you are spending hours glued to your screen in your hotel room, your motivation may flag and loneliness might well creep in. You certainly won’t be making the best of the experiences travelling has to offer, a major reason why you’re doing this in the first place. You can use local coffee shops, internet cafes and parks to get your work done while taking in some of your surroundings. Check out shared coworking spaces too – these are shared, flexible offices where you can rent a fixed desk or a hot desk for however long you require. They should have all the facilities you need and it will open up great opportunities for networking and collaboration – you’ll meet lots of like-minded people and make some great friends!
Plan a work schedule and know when to stop
When you are working remotely abroad, you will most likely be less available to your employer or your clients, and there could well be a large time difference to contend with. This can be a recipe for stress and it is all too easy to end up working precisely the same hours as your co-workers or customers back home. It won’t be much fun seeing the Taj Mahal when you are exhausted as you were up for a video meeting at 3am, or when you have to take a call when you’re at the top of the Eiffel Tower. You will also be working in an entirely different environment so this can also affect your motivation and psychology, and this can be magnified if your travel plans will take you around many countries. The best way to handle these issues is to set yourself rigid work hours in advance and stick to them. You may occasionally need to break your rules, for example when you have a deadline that can’t be missed, but the closer you stick to your own guidelines, the happier and less stressed you will be. Work hard, but enjoy your adventure.