Let’s talk about some practical aspects of being a digital nomad. For the past year, I’ve been living back home, without being on the road as much as I used to. More often, I travel for shorter trips like week-long getaways instead of actually living in other locations for a longer time (I’m absolutely looking forward to bringing that back in my life tho!!). For these shorter trips, I do like to take my work with me since I like to work in my free time. Although I did go to Rome for a week without taking a thing with me and you can read more about offline time while being a freelancer over here. But this time I’m here to share my thoughts on actually getting some shit done while traveling. Is working while traveling really impossible?
To be honest, I believe that it depends on several important aspects:
– Your willpower
– Access to the internet
– Good working space, whether it’s a kitchen table or a co-working office
– Your time-management skills
– Travel plan, and, of course,
– Personal preferences.
Some people really can work from anywhere. They don’t care how much time they have, whether there’s any noise around or is there a normal working space or not. I’d love to be like that one day! But today – I’m not.
I can honestly admit – working while traveling can be hard if you’re visiting the country for a short-term. It brings in some specific conditions, for example, you might have walked around the whole day and all you want to do in the evening is… nothing. If the weather is great, it’s really hard to tie yourself down to a chair! Evening drinks in the sunset seem way more enchanting than evening Skype calls… And sometimes it really is better to admit that you need an offline vacation instead of pushing yourself to work.
At the same time, we are digital nomads because it gives us the freedom to work from anywhere, right?! So traveling, even short-term, can be done more often if your work is actually with you. So let’s take a look at what can be done here.
Things to keep in mind for working while traveling
1. Check the weather forecast
If you’re in a country only for a few days or a week, make sure you spend all the sunny and warm days exploring the place! Therefore, check the weather forecast and see whether there’s any not-so-sunny or not-so-dry day coming up. Those can be a few hours or the whole day but being aware of this, will help you a big time! Plan your work ahead and make sure to spend this time dealing with everything that’s been waiting for you.
2. Work first thing in the morning
This might differ for many. I am not an early-riser but when traveling – it’s always easier to work in the morning and spend the evening as I please instead of doing it the other way around. And the reason is simple! In the morning, I still have some energy although I might be a bit sleepy. But after a long day exploring and enjoying everything around me, grabbing a drink and having some time off is a way better idea than turning that laptop on. To be honest, I usually enter zombie-mode after a long day of traveling. That means, grabbing that drink and staring in the emptiness is literally the only thing I’m capable of…
3. Plan to do only simple, short tasks
For me, it’s always hard to concentrate when I’m traveling. Whether someone is checking the city map and making further plans, people in the hostel are having a party or there’s literally anything else going on. The thing is – there is always something! I find it really difficult to concentrate for a long time. Therefore, I’m always doing my best to schedule only simple and short tasks for my travels. Nothing mind-wrecking! This might not always be possible but if you look into your schedule there always is something you can do before leaving or after coming back instead of punishing yourself and doing it on the road…
4. Inform others that you’re working
Whether they’re your travel buddies, local friends or anyone else in your way, make sure to inform them you’ve planned to work! It’s easy to get loud and annoying around a person with the laptop – because, hey, socializing is more important than checking Facebook! But they might change their behavior knowing that you actually have some work to do.
5. Find coworking spaces or freelancer-friendly cafes
It’s always easier to get some work done around someone who is in the same situation or at least – also tries to get something done! For many locations, it’s not that easy to find great places for working without checking beforehand. So if you plan to get some serious work done, make sure to do that research. You can even turn it into a fun game and find new working spaces for each day you spend abroad!
Very soon I’m planning to publish a resource guide for wandering freelancers with tons of amazing places to work in various countries. Make sure to sign up so you don’t miss it!