However, working from home and traveling while working remotely are two distinctly different beasts, despite the parallels they have. Yes, everybody loves the idea of hopping between idyllic islands and pulling in a reliable income, but in reality, it’s not as simple as that.
But to help you live your dream, we’ve covered a wide range of tips and tools for working remotely, so you can plan a strategy and get equipped before you set off.
Before you get too excited about your adventure of a lifetime, you do need to consider if you even have permission to travel while working remotely.
It could be that your company needs the utmost security that you can’t guarantee when you’re on the move. However, you might be in luck and get a green light as long as you follow company communication tips for working remotely. The ideal situation is clearly if you have total freedom of movement — as long as you keep up your productivity levels.
For the most part, if you’re living somewhere on a tourist visa, your tax arrangements will stay the same, as if you’re still in your home country. You may need to pay a tourist tax on your accommodation, but apart from that, everything is relatively plane sailing.
Unfortunately, life often isn’t as rosy as we’d like it, and traveling while working remotely can throw up some administrative issues that pour cold water on your plans. For example, if you’re a US resident, you may have to pay tax both abroad and at home, which can be a major shock to the system if you aren’t prepared.
Now you know you can travel while working remotely, consider what you really want to get out of your trip. There’s no one right answer to this question, and a lot will depend on your financial situation.
If you need to maintain a high working intensity to make your trip possible, we’d recommend leaving your sightseeing to the weekends. However, if you can get by on three days of working a week, you can be more adventurous with your travel plans.
The first thing to think about when you’re planning to travel while working remotely is quite simple: can you afford it?
Not only do you have to think about the costs while you’re away, there are tons of points to consider about your base too. Are you going to keep your rental property at home while you go away? If so, it will eat up a big chunk of your travel budget. However, if you can manage to rent out your own place, that will turn into a nice cushion at the end of every month.
But it’s really when you’re on the road that your finances start to get complicated. You have to think about your daily cost of living, from accommodation and food to extras like travel. The last thing you want to spend money on is currency conversions, so think about what cards you’ll be using or if you stick to cash.
As much as remote work can feel like you’re free from the traditional shackles of the office, working at the same time as your colleagues can be a core element of your job. Those who travel while working remotely need to assume the responsibility of maintaining the standards they would keep at home.
A large part of moving abroad with your job is working out time differences and staying in sync with your team. Get equipped with a good calendar that will automatically do the conversion for you, so you can take the stress out of working out what time your meetings start.
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Anyone with a bit of experience of traveling while working remotely will tell you that finding the right place to work is half the game. Most digital nomads agree on some of the basics of a good workplace:
Long opening hours
Clearly, everybody is different, so you’ll need to do a bit of trial and error. For example, some like the background murmur of a café, while others need the total silence of a coworking space. Cafés can be a great way to get a real feel for your temporary home, but sometimes don’t have enough power outlets. While coworking spaces provide a rather sterile version of a city, they can be hotbeds for other remote workers, which can be great both for your work and your social life.
As well as cafés and coworking venues, there are plenty of places to find people following a similar way of life to you, and the best place to find them is on the internet. There are social media groups for most major cities as well as a lot of minor locations, so don’t be shy to drop a line and say hi.
You can find communities both for professional networking and social circles. So whether you want to find some web developers to collaborate with or you just want a hike at the weekend, get your name out there — it’s also a great help for your mental health.
With a bunch of new experiences whirling around you on a day-to-day basis, it’s easy to lose track of what you actually need to get done. To keep on top of things, get started with a project management tool that will help you plan out every day’s tasks and meetings to make sure you never miss an appointment or show up late.
Use Gantt charts to set fixed working hours throughout the week. The advantage of this kind of visualization is that you can spot your free travel time at the click of a button. With a bit of experience working remotely while traveling, your planning skills will become second nature.
There are times in everyone’s career where it’s all hands on deck and you’ll have to put in a few extra hours to get everything done. You might even fall into the trap of thinking you can keep up your heavy schedule for some time. However, after a while, fatigue will set in and your extra efforts will bear no reward.
Instead, set a schedule that allows you to be most productive and stick to it. Use your calendar to set automatic reminders and take advantage of working aids such as the pomodoro technique.
To get the most out of traveling while working remotely, you need to make time for some exercise, taking in the sights, and relaxing. Communicate your working hours to your team and don’t be afraid to automate out-of-office emails to establish your boundaries.
One of the first things you notice as a digital nomad is that when you arrive in your destination, life goes back to square one. You don’t know where the supermarket is, you might not have Wi-Fi set up, and finding a comfortable workstation can seem like an impossible task.
The problem is that all of these extra tasks quickly start eating into your working day, not to mention sapping your headspace.
Therefore, if you travel while working remotely, try to stick to a routine that can work anywhere. If this means saving time on cooking, prepare your meals in batches. On the working front, use automations to cut out repetitive, but time-consuming tasks like invoicing and email templates.
Even if you’re steady and reliable on all your tasks, it can still be easy to fall out of the loop if you don’t stay connected with your team. This is especially true for those who travel while working remotely — if you’ve got an in-person team who see each other every day, you can quickly slip off the radar and down the pecking order.
But all is not lost! You can stay connected with quick video calls every morning to go over how your team is progressing. They don’t need to be long meetings; a short daily stand up hits that “little and often” balance. One of the best communication tips for working remotely is to reach out over instant messenger when you need a helping hand or a clarification. Make sure to get in as early as possible to avoid any problems with bottlenecked projects.
As travel while working remotely is a luxury, you can’t abuse your company’s trust by having an internet connection that keeps dropping out. It doesn’t matter if you’re caught in a tropical storm or the café you’re in simply doesn’t prioritize its Wi-Fi, you need to take responsibility for the situation you’ve put yourself in and be agile in how you switch networks.
The best way to guarantee Wi-Fi when you’re working abroad these days is to get a worldwide phone plan with unlimited data. When your Wi-Fi drops out, switch on your hotspot and get up and running again in a matter of minutes. Similarly, there are pocket Wi-Fi tools out there that will keep you connected almost anywhere.
With your Wi-Fi sorted and your cloud-based collaboration tools connected to your team, you’re one step closer to having everything you need. However, the job isn’t quite done until you’ve got your hardware for traveling while working remotely. Typical items to add to your list include:
A secure laptop backpack
An ergonomic mouse
A portable laptop desk
We’d recommend you to keep any note-taking to your cloud-based tools. Although some people love that pen and paper feel, you stand much less chance of losing your electronic notes and you can save some essential space in your luggage by leaving the books at home.
Whether it’s a partner, friends, family, or even mentors and collaborators, staying in touch with those close to you is essential if you’re working remotely while traveling. Yes, you want to experience all the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of your ever-changing home, but humans still need strong relationships to get them through tough times.
Luckily for digital nomads, you can apply all your work-based communication tools to your personal life too. Whether it’s pinging out emails with updates to your aunt or catching up with your friends with a face-to-face call, you don’t even have to switch apps to get started.
These contacts can be your emotional or professional lifeline when things go wrong on your travels, so maintaining your relationships is essential.
As travel while working remotely is so popular, it’s little surprise that companies have jumped at the chance to facilitate your plans. For a fee, these travel agencies for digital nomads will take care of your accommodation, co-working spaces, gym membership, day trips, and more so you can free up time for work and exploration.
Because of the flat fee, you can travel while working remotely for several months or even a year without the fear of your budget spiraling out of control.
With our tips and tools for working remotely, we’re sure what may have seemed a far-off dream is now an attainable reality.
To help you prepare for your trip and thrive on the road, Bitrix24 gives you all the tools you could need in one handy app. Available on your smartphone or laptop, you can collaborate, communicate, manage, and more from wherever you choose to go.
Sign up for Bitrix24 today and start planning your trip of a lifetime.