The world of remote work is continuously expanding, with more and more fields allowing their employees to work from just about anywhere. Whether you operate on a freelance basis or as a contracted employee, remote working can open numerous doors for you, especially when it comes to travel. However, there are some common mistakes aspiring digital nomads make when they first begin. We’re here to prevent some of them!
In this guide, we’ve listed nine tips for optimising your experience of working and travelling on the road. Whether you’ve already committed to the digital nomad lifestyle or are simply considering it, there’s some practical advice for everybody available here.
Let’s get into it.
1. Do Your Research Beforehand
Congrats, you’re already knocking this one out of the park by reading this guide!
Research is imperative to building a successful remote working lifestyle. It can be very easy to romanticise the notion of working and travelling simultaneously. However, without laying down the proper foundation, you’ll soon realise it might not be all it’s cracked up to be.
Read up on the lived experiences of other digital nomads and the challenges they have faced.
You will thank yourself later.
2. Keep Open Communication
When you’re out on the road, you don’t have the benefit of face-to-face communication with team members or clients. If you don’t handle physical distance delicately, it can prove highly detrimental to your professional relationships. Try to keep in close contact as much as possible.
Of course, don’t unnecessarily spam their inbox, but take the opportunity to liaise wherever possible and receive updates on how work is flowing.
Asking for feedback is also a great way to do this. It shows you care about your work and that you’re still focused on achieving positive results no matter where you are in the world.
Additionally, don’t underestimate the value of a semi-regular face-to-face via Zoom or Google Meet.
3. Establish a Consistent Schedule
If you have ever travelled before, you will know how taxing it can be when you don’t have a fixed place to rest your head. While this can be a stimulating way to live, it can also get pretty chaotic! Try to maintain a formal and consistent work schedule as much as possible. It won’t always be easy, especially if travelling through numerous time zones, but it is doable with the right commitment and planning.
Any form of self-employment has to come with a heavy dose of willpower. No boss is breathing down your neck to get stuff done; you just have to do it. An unstructured work schedule can be even more challenging when travelling, where all you’ll likely want to do is explore your chosen location.
A consistent schedule lets you divide chunks of time and designate them exclusively for working or travelling. It can reduce the likelihood of giving into temptation and being entirely unproductive.
4. Keep in Contact With Home
Travelling is exciting, even when you’re working, but it’s vital that you don’t get carried away. Chances are, you won’t be living the digital nomad lifestyle forever. You don’t want to burn bridges by suddenly leaving the country and not maintaining contact with your friends and family back home.
It is incredibly easy to get wrapped up in your new, exciting lifestyle, especially at first! But don’t leave your relationships in the dust.
Beyond planning for your inevitable return, staying in touch with distant family and friends will also help to keep your spirits high. It can get a little lonely when travelling on your own, and while it should still be a rewarding experience, it’s always nice to hear a familiar voice from time to time.
5. Network Online
Speaking of potential loneliness, though you may not get to speak to your colleagues in person, you can still find ways to talk to like-minded people. Numerous online co-working spaces connect digital nomads no matter where they are in the world. These communities also have resources and tips. If timed right, there may be opportunities to socialise with other digital nomads in your area.
Networking becomes especially valuable when other remote workers are staying — or have stayed — in similar locations to you. They can recommend the best public spaces to work in and advise you against some of the more awkward places.
Not all cafés are ideal for remote work, no matter how Instagram-able they may be.
6. Keep Your Devices Charged On The Go
Your devices are your connection to the outside world. They keep you in communication with your clients and, by extension, keep the money flowing while working remotely. The last thing you need is to run out of power right when you need it most.
Luckily, portable power stations have seen significant innovation over the years and could now provide you with the perfect solution. The River series from EcoFlow includes multiple products of varying power outputs, so you can keep your laptop and phone going for longer, no matter where you are.
7. Don’t Underestimate Time Difference
Travel fatigue is real. You can even develop jet lag disorder depending on how long you’re on the road. It can prove significantly debilitating if you aren’t prepared.
The best thing is to allow your body and mind to adjust to the constant time changes. Don’t fill out your schedule with frequent meetings and piles of work in your first week in a new location. You will overwhelm yourself, and your trip may end sooner than anticipated!
You should still be mindful of differing time zones once you have settled into your new location. If you’re travelling in Europe but work with a client in North America or Asia, they will have wildly different working hours.
Time management is crucial if you have a set deadline. Always double-check what time you should be working towards to avoid any miscommunication.
8. Remember That You Aren’t on Vacation
While the freedom of the digital nomad lifestyle appeals to many, the reality is that working and travelling is not some cheat code to unlock a paid-for vacation. You are still working, no matter where you go. That’s kind of the point!
Of course, you can still have numerous incredible experiences, and travelling is often enormously rewarding. However, don’t expect to be sipping mojitos by the pool all day.
Take your work seriously. You should always make time to enjoy yourself. After all, why did you leave home if you don’t intend to make the most of it? Just make sure that there is a solid work-play balance in your life. The clients you work with are the ones that make your travel possible.
9. Make Sure Your Location Has Strong Wi-Fi
Remote work is great when it works. But if your Wi-Fi goes down, so do all your connections to clients and opportunities for future work. It will also make it exceptionally difficult to attend online meetings, make video calls, or even log into your work’s system.
To get the best judgment of how strong Wi-Fi is in a given area, talk to other remote workers who have stayed where you will be going. Finding the best remote internet locations is another example of the importance of networking. It gives you insight into criteria you usually wouldn’t know until you experienced it firsthand.
Many Airbnbs also share their Wi-Fi rating in the property description, so always double-check before booking your stay.
Also, many countries offer inexpensive SIM cards and data plans for mobile devices. It’s never a bad idea to have a mobile hotspot in your pocket, just in case!
There you have it! That concludes our list of nine tips to get the most out of working while you’re on the road. Travelling can be enormously rewarding, and the ability to work simultaneously is a rare privilege.
If you do it right, you can see places you never ordinarily would, all while earning a wage.
Don’t be afraid — take the leap!