Traveling full-time is many people’s dream, but it’s not the easiest thing to accomplish. Many people can’t do so because of their jobs, families, and other external factors. That’s why if you have the opportunity to work remotely from anywhere, and are interested in working while traveling, you should absolutely take it. It is extremely rewarding, fulfilling, and exciting!
That being said, working remotely from abroad can be challenging for first timers. After all, it’s a big change from your typical everyday lifestyle and work environment.
To help you get through it easier, I’ve written down a list of some of my favorite tips for working while traveling. I hope you’ll find them useful, and that they help make your experience even better!
1. Dip Your Feet First
Now that you’re at the cusp of being able to work while traveling, you may be feeling pretty gung-ho, which is totally cool, I get it. The sky’s the limit, the world is your oyster, and you can go anywhere you want.
That being said, before you plan to start working full-time from Bangkok, if you’ve never actually tried working on the go, you might want to consider giving it a test run first. Plan a week-long miniature vacation somewhere a bit closer to home, and see how you like it.
Working on the go can be overwhelming, to say the least, and not everyone likes it, so give it a try before you devote major life changes to it.
2. Consider Switching to a Chromebook
If you use any sort of video/photo editing software, CAD software, or need to install large programs, disregard this tip.
On the flip side, if you only need your laptop for browsing the web or using web-based applications like Google Docs and Sheets, and you like the idea of being able to download and play Android/Chrome games on your laptop, a Chromebook would be the perfect fit for you.
They’re lighter, have longer battery lives, are more secure, are faster to boot than your typical laptop, and are so much more affordable. Many of them also have great features like the ability to convert into a tablet and full touch screen compatibility.
You can get a high-end chromebook for only 600-700 USD, where as if you were to buy a regular laptop with that amount of money you’d be scraping the barrel.
I’ve used Chromebooks before and have nothing but good things to say about them. The only reason I don’t use one now is because I need to be able to run hefty programs, but if I didn’t, I would absolutely be using one.
3. Make Sure You’ve Got the Gear
Packing the right gear is essential to an enjoyable work abroad scenario. Without it it gets messy – you’ll have to scrounge for equipment that can be hard to find abroad or forgo it at a hefty cost.
Other than the basics like a laptop, here are some things that remote workers should always, always bring:
- Storage. Cloud storage or physical storage. Investing in storage can save you from so many headaches – from laptop thievery and damage, to unreliable laptops crashing constantly leading to you needing a backup copy of windows that can be downloaded easily and quickly. (that’s not specific at all)
- Ergonomic Mouse. Trust me, your wrist will thank you later. Say no to carpal tunnel syndrome!
- A good set of soundproof headphones or earbuds. If you’re anything like me, who needs near complete silence to work, a good set of earphones is a godsend.
- Portable battery pack. While it won’t be able to power your laptop, it’ll juice up your phone and other devices no problem.
- Chargers. Chargers for everything – your laptop, your phone, your portable battery, your headphones, literally everything.
4. If You Rely On Wifi, Bring a Hotspot
I cannot stress this enough – if you rely on the internet for your livelihood, get a travel hotspot. Seriously, they’ll save you so many headaches. No more having to desperately scrounge for the nearest source of Wi-Fi, or long hours at coffee shops.
A travel hotspot is a device that acts as a mini router and connects you to the internet almost anywhere. There are different types available, but a lot of them work on a plan basis. You can purchase Wi-Fi as you use it, by the month, or by the gigabyte.
The large majority of the data plans don’t require contracts, which I really like, and you can find the hot spots devices online for as little as 100-150 USD.
And if you don’t want a dedicated hot spot device, pretty much every phone plan provider offers the ability to turn your phone into a hotspot, so you can opt for that instead.
5. Inform Your Team & Clients
Before you go, make sure all of your coworkers and clients know that you’re going to be working remotely, and let them know what time zone you’ll be in, when you expect to be available, and how they can reach you when you’re offline.
6. Save All Passwords to the Cloud & Create a Hard Copy
I don’t care who you are or how good your memory is, you should be writing down every single username and password you have. And that’s because each password should be different for each site you use, and it should be long and completely/mostly random. Don’t make yourself an easy target to hackers and identity thieves.
7. Create a Work Routine and Stick by It
It’s easy to get too little or too much work done while traveling, depending on what type of person you are. If you go in with zero routine or schedule, your work to life balance will likely end up being disproportionate, which will only lead to unnecessary stress and an overall rough time.
No matter where I work from, I try to stick to a daily routine. Every morning, I enjoy cup of tea and do postural stretches, and then find a comfortable place to work, whether that be my hotel room, a cafe, or a library. During mid-day, I like to take a walk and eat a good lunch, and then spend the afternoon exploring the area I’m visiting.
If find daily routines extremely helpful, both in getting my work done efficiently and ensuring I have time each day to enjoy traveling and exploring. So plan and stick to a routine that works for you!
8. If You’re a Workaholic, Set a Hard Cut-off Time for the Day
If you’re a workaholic, allocate a certain number of hours a day to work and stick by it. Make it non-negotiable, and try not to lose sight of the reasons you’re traveling in the first place – to experience new things, learn, connect with others, connect with yourself, and have a good time. You can’t do any of that if you’re working 24/7.
9. If You Have Trouble Finding the Motivation To Get Your Work Done, Do This
If you fall on the other end of the spectrum (like me) and have difficulty motivating yourself to work when there are so many other amazing things you could be doing, here’s a tip that I follow daily, and that helps me maintain an even productivity level.
Pick a time of the day that you prefer to work – morning, afternoon, evening, whatever floats your boat – and work during that allotted time every day. And I can’t stress this enough, but never miss a day. One skipped day may seem inconsequential, but if you’re anything like me, it can cause a serious drop in momentum, and make getting back to your normal routine extremely difficult.
Remind yourself as often as necessary that putting off work can’t be done indefinitely, and the longer you wait the worse crunch hour will be later. (and trust me, it’ll come, it always comes)
10. Partake in Small, Enjoyable Work Rituals
Partake in small, enjoyable work rituals. Do you like coffee or tea? Have some at the beginning of work. You really like listening to a certain playlist while you work? Save that playlist so you have access to it always. Little things like that will make working a more enjoyable experience, and will give much-needed positive reinforcement.
11. Take Away the Temptation
Seriously, just don’t make plans that take place during work hours. It’s simple, but very effective. If you don’t have any distractions or temptations, getting yourself to work will be a lot easier.
Instead of planning to go to brunch with some friends (thinking you’ll come back to finish your day’s work and never do) instead plan a dinner in the evening, after you’re done with your day’s work.
12. Reach Out Often
If you’re traveling long term, you’ll go without seeing your family for months, maybe even more. This can get very lonely on both ends, so make an effort to keep in touch with them.
That might sound obvious, but losing track of time while traveling is not uncommon, and it’s easier than you’d think to forget to contact your loved ones.
To avoid this, set notifications that remind you to call home at least a few times a week. It’ll be just as good for you as it is for them.
13. Set Aside Time To Explore
As we touched on when talking about work-life balance, make sure you’re giving yourself the chance to explore and experience the places you’re visiting. Try adventurous things, meet new people, eat good food, and enjoy yourself. After all, isn’t that the whole point of working while traveling?
That’s it! Those are all of my favorite tips for working while traveling. I’m sure I’ve missed some, so if there are any tips that you use that I haven’t included, feel free to let me know about them in the comments below.
Happy and safe travels!
Hi, I’m Ash!
I’m a laid back traveler who loves experiencing new things and spontaneity. My favorite hobbies are hiking, gardening, skincare, and all things tea.
My biggest goal is to spread the word about sustainable travel and show everyone how easy it is to partake in. If you wanna learn more about that or get to know me better, feel free to click here.