How do you work while traveling?


Undoubtedly, one of the biggest perks of working remotely is the opportunity to work from anywhere in the world.

Remote work gives you the chance to travel and explore incredible new places while still being able to do the work you love.

I’ve had the privilege of working from several places across the world, like Airlie Beach and the Gold Coast in Australia, as well as Cape Town, South Africa. I find it inspiring to be outside of the regular four walls of my home office I’ve grown accustomed to. A different environment helps me approach work with renewed purpose and intention, and it helps me focus more than if I were just working from home.

Since several teammates here at Help Scout have had amazing adventures traveling across the world while working, I asked for their advice so I could share it with others who’d like to do the same.

Make sure you have a trusty internet connection

“To the extent you can, especially if you’ll be traveling somewhere service is spottier, sort out internet access before you need to be online. Don’t just trust the Airbnb listing that says there’s Wi-Fi — ask the host what upload/download speeds are. Find out where the coffee shops or coworking spaces are, and test a couple different locations if you can, in case you need to relocate.“Wi-Fi speed and dependability are vital for remote work, so it was somewhat of an ongoing concern as we moved from place to place. We quickly learned to ask potential landlords to send a screenshot of a speed test before committing to an Airbnb. We found coworking spaces provide a solution to both of these issues. A comfy work space plus dependable Wi-Fi gave us peace of mind and made remote work on the road more sustainable. An added bonus was that it helped us make new friends.”

Set focus blocks when you’re in a different time zone

“By being in a different time zone than the rest of my team, I was able to dedicate my mornings to catching up on emails and crunching numbers while everyone was offline. It allowed me to be more focused and intentional with my time, so that by the time everyone signed online, I had gotten a lot accomplished and could focus on more team-centric tasks.”

Keep an open mind

“Do your research, but understand that everyone is different, and that glowing reviews of a country/city/area/monument/activity/etc. (online or in person) don’t always mean that you will enjoy it. Professional or retouched photos (e.g., on Instagram) can also add to the perception of a place and set your expectations too high. It’s usually best to keep your expectations low, enjoy what you see, and be pleasantly surprised rather than the other way around.”

Find and bring along your ‘anchors of stability’

“Having been on-the-go so often, I’ve had to learn how to easily make any new places feel like home quickly, whether it’s a hotel, an Airbnb, or a friend’s spare room. There are a few constant things that I’ve discovered are the anchors of stability for me. Although they are not necessary items for traveling, I always have them with me so that I can have my me-time and re-charge when I’m away from home. For example, I bring packets of miso soup and Shin Ramyun instant noodle flavouring with me so that I can eat it with rice or noodles; I will always look for a coffee shop that makes soy lattes (no shame!); I have a Chromecast so that my partner and I can watch our favourite TV shows in comfort; we have an Xbox controller so that we can play games on the computer; and I have my favourite pillowcase. I’d recommend thinking about what your anchors are!”

Stick to your normal routine

“No matter where I work from, I try to stick to a routine. I always wake up and have a good breakfast, then find a quiet space to work without interruption. I like to end the work day by getting some sunshine, as this helps ensure that I am productive and have a good work-life balance, no matter the location or circumstances.”

Set aside time to explore

“At home, I often work through lunch and linger online well past 6 p.m. Abroad, however, I gave myself an hour lunch to explore or hit a temple and work at a more touristy lunch or coffee destination, and come 5 or 6 p.m., that laptop was closed. Also, don’t be over-ambitious. Since you’re working, you should book three times longer in a place than you would if you were just traveling — otherwise you’ll be forced to miss out on some stuff.”

“Traveling takes a lot of time. I don’t necessarily mean on the plane/train/boat/etc. itself, but just the logistics and planning of where you’ll go, how you’ll get there, where you’ll sleep, work, eat, do laundry and so on. You have a full-time job, plus another part-time one to make the traveling happen. So you block out time in the day for the full-time job and you cannot spend all of your remaining time enjoying the place you are in, as you have to share it with planning the next steps in your journey. That’s not ideal, but it’s totally outweighed by the fact that you can visit new places around the world, stay however long you choose to, and not burn through your savings.”

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