To most people, the concept of traveling while working is akin to ”living the dream”. While working remotely comes with a host of benefits, the reality is that it also takes plenty of planning, discipline, and self-motivation.
Think about it, you’re sitting on a remote island with your laptop facing the ocean — the temptation to forgo your work and dive into the aquamarine waters in front of you is quite overwhelming. But you have a deadline, and there’s no way out of it.
So how does one find balance when working while traveling? This blog is here to help…
The Top Essentials You’ll Need When Working While Traveling
Working on-the-go essentially means you are a working nomad. You get to enjoy the perks of travel, such as discovering new places, cultures, and cuisines. But at the same time, you are still part of the ”working world” and need to earn an income.
In order to meet those requirements, your deadlines, and the work-related goals you set for yourself, you need the right kit. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A Top Quality Laptop
This is a pretty obvious piece of equipment that you’ll need. However, it’s important to invest in a laptop brand that you can rely on while you’re working on the road. The last thing you need is a laptop malfunction that cannot be fixed because you don’t have access to the repair work you need.
If you’re looking to buy a laptop, make sure it’s portable — one that is made for travel. You’ll need a laptop that is powerful enough to allow for writing, video editing and has plenty of storage.
Make sure your laptop is lightweight enough to fit into a backpack, without significantly weighing it down. Finally, make sure it offers decent battery power when your charging opportunities are limited.
- An External Hard Drive
Aside from the storage space on your laptop, you may want to invest in an external form of storage so that you have the option, when necessary. It’s no secret that an overloaded laptop can result in a slow, problem-prone piece of technology.
An external hard drive helps to lighten the load and you won’t have to feel limited by the number of photos and videos you take, and other information you need to store. You can also use your external hard drive as a way to backup your most important data in case disaster strikes and something happens to your laptop.
- Extra Batteries and Power Adapters
One of the biggest issues that most remote workers face is a failing laptop battery and a lack of power adapters that suit the country you’re working in. This is also related to other important pieces of tech, including your cellphone, camera, or drone battery life.
Finding the right power source and outlets while traveling and working can sometimes be tricky. You want to make sure you’re prepared and have spare batteries, and power adapters for these types of situations.
- Noise-Canceling Headphones
This is probably one of the most underrated travel accessories for remote workers. But noise-canceling headphones can make a world of difference when you’re limited on workspace options and have to meet a deadline in a noisy Starbucks.
Having something to listen to can also help to promote productivity and motivation for some people. It’s also a great option if you’re facing a long-haul flight and need to zone out and relax.
How to Be Productive When Working While Traveling
Now that you have the lowdown on the travel-work essentials you’ll need, here are a few practical tips to help you meet your deadlines and find a good work-life balance while traveling.
- Plan Out Work-Travel Details in Advance
First thing’s first, you’ll need to update all the people you work with on what time zone you’ll be working in and what the time difference is. If you have any pre-arranged meetings scheduled, make sure to let your team know the appropriate time to contact you.
If you have a few day trips planned, make sure to schedule in your meetings before you head off and have no access to Wi-Fi. You don’t want to leave anyone in your team hanging. Let your team know if and when you will not be in range and cannot be contacted.
Consider downloading apps such as Acuity and Calendly that allow you to schedule in your meetings, which then adjust to each person’s timezone.
- Slow Down and Take Your Time
Believe it or not, working while traveling comes with its own set of stressors. You can burn yourself out by trying to fit too much into your work and travel itinerary at once. That’s why it’s a good idea to slow down and take your time when exploring a new destination.
Depending on how long you’re traveling for, set aside at least 5-7 days in each place before you move onto another. This way, you can designate a half-day to work, and a half-day to exploration. This allows you enough time to meet your work goals and enjoy yourself while you explore.
- Specifically Allocate Time for Work and Exploration
This is a great tip to keep in mind if you’re new to the working-while-traveling venture. By blocking off certain periods of time for work and exploration, this allows you to get into a rhythm that works best for you.
Don’t be afraid to explore during the day and work at night. Or, consider waking up a little earlier in the mornings and smashing out your to-do list while your mind is still fresh.
Once you’ve found a work/relax rhythm, try to stick to a schedule as this is the best way to feel a sense of responsibility and remain accountable to your work.
- Do Your Work in the Right Environment
There are certain spaces that just aren’t conducive to productivity while working and traveling. In today’s world, there are plenty of co-working spaces in most cities across the globe to cater to working nomads.
If you have a big day of work you need to get through, find a co-working space that allows you to get as much work done as possible. It’s a good idea to separate the place you unwind, i.e. your hotel, hostel, or Airbnb, from the place you work.
Being around others who are also focused on their work tasks can be extremely motivating, too. Plus, you’ll have the bonus of decent Wi-Fi as this often a high-priority for most co-working spaces, no matter where you are in the world today.
- Tick off Your Admin on Travel Days
Administrative tasks are menial and, let’s be honest, sometimes a little boring. Nevertheless, they have to be done! The best way to tackle non-internet related admin tasks is to do so on your travel days.
If you have a long bus, plane, or boat ride ahead of you, throw on your noise-canceling headphones and tackle your admin to-do list. Bear in mind that Gmail allows you to draft emails, even without internet access, which you can ”send later”. This feature allows you to select a day and time you want your email to be delivered when you next have internet access. Genius!
When you arrive at your next destination you’ll feel all-the-more ready to explore and relax knowing that you’ve ticked something off your work to-do list.
- Boost Your Productivity With Task Batching
If there is one productivity hack that will help you as a remote worker, it’s task batching. This is a process where you focus on just one type of task for a set amount of time. I.e. tackling all of your emails in one batch of time. Once that task is complete, you move onto the next type of task.
During each batching session, try not to jump around from one task to the next. Put your phone on silent, and focus on the task-at-hand for 30-minutes, with no interruptions.
- Make Organization a Top Priority
Organization is your best friend as a working nomad. The simpler you can keep things, the better. Even if you’re not a natural planner or an organized person, it can really help to streamline your tasks and designate your time wisely.
Invest in a physical planner, don’t rely solely on apps. This allows you to write out your daily tasks, both work and travel-related, and time block your day. Organizing your day offers the ultimate peace-of-mind. It means you don’t have to worry that your time is not being used efficiently.
- Understand That Sacrifice Is Part of the Deal
As with all things in life, there are pros and cons that go with working and traveling. The reality is that most working nomads do have to sacrifice a few things in order to live their chosen lifestyle.
Some days you may have to sacrifice joining in on a group tour because you have to meet a deadline. You may have to wake up a few hours earlier to join a Zoom meeting. You might not have the luxury of taking sick leave when you need to.
By accepting that these sacrifices go with the job description, you can truly make the most of life as a working nomad.
A World of Knowledge at Your Fingertips
Working while traveling can be an exceptionally fulfilling way of life. However, it’s important to realize that not everyone is cut out for the job. It takes a certain level of self-discipline, motivation, and organization.
Keep your general knowledge up-to-scratch while you travel and work by exploring the rest of this site. We offer updated articles on all things travel, home, and living, as well as parenting, gift guides, and so much more.