The Internet has been a game changer in so many ways, but one of the biggest ways it has influenced us in that we can now work remotely. It’s possible to work for a company in Australia, but be based in Thailand. That also means it’s possible to work and travel at the same time. I spent some time working and traveling throughout South-East Asia, Europe and now through Central America. While being location independent is a great opportunity, it’s also a bit more challenging to manage than you might think. Issues such as WIFI connectivity, delayed flights, and terrible night’s sleeps can really affect your productivity and your work output. I’ve come up with these tips for working while traveling that should help you be more productive and make the most of your time overseas.
You’ll want to know what the WIFI speed is like, well before you arrive in your destination country. If you need to do conference calls or something that requires a fast, stable Internet connection then you’ll have to spend a bit of time to get this right. Why not call ahead and ask your accommodation what their Internet speed is. You may find that it’s a good idea to hunt out cafes that have fast, reliable Internet. Another option is to find a co-working space, which seem to popping up everywhere at the moment. A co-working space is a shared office space, where you’ll buy a daily, weekly or monthly pass in order to use their facilities. Here you’ll find more reliable Internet, desks, as well as a good environment to work in.
2) Be Realistic
If you’ve got a massive project due, then it’s pretty unlikely you’re going to be on the beach sipping cocktails like your friends. Traveling and working together usually involves a balance of sacrifices, so ensure that you’re realistic about what you’ll be able to do while you’re working and traveling. If you’re traveling with friends or family that are not working, it’s also good to let them know of your obligations before you go away, so they’re not disappointed if you’re busier than they expected.
Traveling fast is a great way to cram a lot of countries or places into a short space of time. But traveling fast is basically a disaster when you’re trying to work online. The less time you have in a place, the less time you’ll have to explore it. If you’ve got a lot of work on, requiring you to work full time hours, a few days in a place is probably not going to be long enough for you to really enjoy it. As such, I suggest traveling much much slower. Why not spend a week, or a few weeks in one place? Think of all the lost time spent changing locations, in transport etc, imagine how far that could go if it was invested into your work.
4) Be Smart
I’ve worked in the weirdest places. I often buy a local sim-card when I travel and get some kind of Internet data plan. When I was in Thailand, I used a tether on my laptop to my phone so that I could work on a ferry to the islands. I’ve worked from my computer in trains in Europe. When traveling by plane, I do as much work as I can in offline mode – and even more if there’s WIFI on the plane. You can use your time smartly, to ensure that as much down time as possible is spent being productive so your free time can be enjoyed.
Be kind to yourself, it’s not easy working while traveling, but it’s also an extremely rewarding experience that you’re blessed to be able to enjoy.