Ten Tips For Working Where You Want

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Many people would say being able to travel while working remotely is a dream come true. And it definitely can be—what’s better than taking your lunch break on a beach? But if you’re just jumping into the digital nomad lifestyle, it can be hard to know how to prepare. Here are ten tips that help me when traveling while working.

  1. Choose your travel destination wisely. Listen, the idea of working in a cabin in the mountains sounds awesome. It’s relaxing and has beautiful views, and you get your work done while a fire crackles cozily next to you. But you know what’s missing from your scenic getaway? Reliable Wi-Fi. When you’re figuring out where your next adventure will be, good Wi-Fi should be at the top of your checklist. Check the details thoroughly on your hotel or Airbnb, and if there is a suspicious lack of information about Wi-Fi quality, don’t hesitate to reach out and ask the host questions.

  2. Bring all the gear. From your favorite ergonomic mouse to noise-cancelling headphones, all the gear you use on a regular basis should be packed on your trip. There are also some items that you may not use at much at home but could benefit from bringing on a trip, like a portable desk or laptop stand for places with not-so-great office spaces. If you want to be extra safe, it may also be good to bring an old laptop (or a Chromebook) as backup in case your main laptop fails.

  3. Keep in contact with your coworkers/boss. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you’re entirely on vacation. Make sure you are available for meetings and other important work duties, or you run the risk of jeopardizing your work-from-anywhere privileges. People who are lucky enough not to have to report to anyone are rare, and most of us need to keep our clients or employers in the loop to maintain good working relationships. I get the appeal of the “I’m on vacation” mentality, but missing an important meeting because you were out and about isn’t a good look.

  4. Make sure you know your time zones. Speaking of meetings: a 9 a.m. meeting in Indianapolis is a 6 a.m. meeting in San Diego. If you’re traveling internationally, time differences can be even more extreme. It may seem obvious, but keeping track of the different time zones you’ll be in is essential for a smooth remote-working trip. To make this easier, I always change the time on your laptop to “office time” or the time it would be if you were home. There are also settings that within most calendars that allow a side by side display of time zones. This way you can keep track of coworkers in other areas.

  5. Create some sort of schedule (and stick to it). I went to a music festival in Chicago recently and stayed for the weekend. I had deadlines to meet while I was there, and I told myself I would just work in the evenings instead of my usual morning schedule. Guess what I didn’t do when I got home? Yeah—work. Anyone who has been to a music festival knows that they can be exhausting, and by the end of the day I had zero energy left to do all the work I’d pushed aside. Learn from my mistake and get work done before you go out—trying to be productive at midnight is an uphill battle.

  6. Remember, remote work is still work. Try to avoid too much working from bed, working at strange hours, or shunning work altogether. Working from anywhere is best when you’re able to find that perfect balance between work and play—you really don’t want the two to run together. Create a designated workspace or makeshift office in your hotel room or rental that is just for work. Keeping those boundaries clear will help you enjoy your trip much more.

  7. Make a gameplan. I need a plan others, maybe not, but here’s the thing, if you’re working while traveling, you really do need to come up with a plan for how you’ll manage your time, no matter if you plan down to the minute or at least within an hour range. Will you choose a few days to devote entirely to work so you can have the rest of your time completely free? Or will you get a little work in each day? Different things work for different people, but everyone can benefit from planning.

  8. Set a hard cut-off time for your day. At home, you may find yourself periodically checking Slack or your email all day, even while you’re trying to relax. When you’re on vacation or working from home, make sure you are intentional with your time, and allow yourself to be relaxed and present in your surroundings. One of the best parts of working remotely and traveling is the fact that you’re literally on vacation (at least some of the time). Give your brain a little time to be in vacation mode by choosing firm cut-off times for work-related activities. When at home, continue with those boundaries. Make sure the working from anywhere doesn’t keep you working all day.

  9. Don’t forget about practical stuff. Bring your silk eye mask for sleeping if it’s what you use to get the best sleep; if you can only sleep with a specific pillow, you gotta bring that along too. I work better when I have blue-light filtering glasses—when I don’t have them, I get headaches super easily—so I make sure to pack a pair on every trip. Just because you’re in a new location, that doesn’t mean everything about your life needs to change. Before leaving for your trip, make a list of the things you do each day that make you feel grounded, prepared, and productive. You may end up needing to bring more things than you realized!

  10. Take advantage of your flexible schedule. If waiting an extra three days to fly home saves you hundreds of dollars, it may be worth it to extend your stay; if you really want to go see Mount Rainier on your trip to Seattle, plan ahead and give yourself a day off during your trip to do just that (after getting the OK from your boss, if needed!). Traveling while working means your time is yours. There are many helpful tips to consider that make work and travel easier, but at the end of the day, you make the rules.

Picture of Dan McCabe
Dan McCabe

Long time remote worker with the dream of enabling everyone to join the remote workforce. Owner and Editor of caniworkfromhere.com.

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