Table of contents
- Be present and communicative with colleagues and clients.
- Create and stick to a remote work schedule or remote work routine.
- Strive to maintain your long-distance relationships.
- Join a coworking space.
- Seek remote work communities and opportunities.
- Pack appropriately for remote work and travel.
- Minimize distractions in order to work efficiently.
- Understand time zones and use them to your advantage.
- Set limits for how much you work and know when to call it a day.
- Use working remotely as a flexible way to work, not a lazy way to work.
- Do your research regarding WiFi speeds for working remotely
- WiFi speeds in different parts of the US
- Use your remote work trip location as a way to explore.
- Be patient with explaining your situation.
- Congratulate yourself, because you’re taking a huge leap!
Have you just had that moment when you think, “If I can work from home…. Can’t I work from anywhere?”
Why, yes – yes, you can.
Working from home and working remotely have given people the freedom to gain those long hours spent commuting back into their lives.
Working from home has allowed us to focus on ourselves, our hobbies and our relationships. What’s more is that working from home can sometimes be done equally successfully…. away from home.
Have you spent a few months, or years, working remotely from home, only to wonder if you could take a week (or three!) with only sacrificing a few ‘actual’ vacation days to work remotely from a hotel near a national park? Or a friend’s cabin in the woods? Or a family member’s ski house? Or a hostel across the country?
In the tips that follow, we’re outlining how to take your remote job situation ‘on the road’ and to work equally efficiently from somewhere that will pique your interest and inspire your wanderlust.
Here are our best tips for how to work remotely and succeed while you’re away from home.
Be present and communicative with colleagues and clients.
For professionals who are one of only a few remote employees in otherwise non-remote companies, it’s easy for those who all work together in person to forget about their remote counterparts.
In order to be present, I communicate regularly with colleagues, even if it’s to check in or say hi. Offer video conferences, phone conferences or detailed emails, so that you are a star when you stay connected and in touch with coworkers.
Create and stick to a remote work schedule or remote work routine.
In thinking of how to work remotely effectively, give yourself the tools to create a remote work schedule that will keep you on track. With remote work, you don’t have colleagues or bosses physically looking over your shoulder at what you’re doing, so distractions are plentiful. No one is immune to distractions, which is why we tackle the topic of how to avoid distractions in our remote work tips guide.
In my personal experience, I heightened my productivity and efficiency by sticking to a 9-to-6 workday with some breaks. It’s easy to sleep in, and it’s somehow even easier to stay into the nighttime if I have no obligations, but I’ve found that starting my day on time spells out a successful day.
Strive to maintain your long-distance relationships.
Perhaps you’ve chosen to take some time to ‘see the world’ and take your job with you for a little while. Maybe you even left loved ones at home, like a dog, a best friend, a whole family, or … a significant other?
See our best tips for long-distance relationships when it comes to traveling professionals who choose to lead a travel lifestyle or go away for a month or two. These go for anyone who’s away from home and figuring out how to lead a relationship across multiple time zones or continents.
You’re probably thinking about how to best stay connected while working remotely, and this doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, brushing up on the best practices of keeping in touch virtually can bring new life to many relationships in your life, whether professional or personal, or a combination of both.
Luckily, being set up for work usually means you’re set up for lots of connectivity, so remember to communicate tons. You can do it!
Join a coworking space.
Should you join a coworking space? Yes! Joining a coworking space is for digital nomads who choose a consistent work environment that’s more set up for productivity than a cafe or restaurant.
Dan and I spent three months traveling around Europe, working from cafes, restaurants and hotels, and the outcome was straightforward: we figured out that these types of places are not ideal for working like coworking spaces are. Cafes sometimes don’t have enough power outlets, have lots of noise from espresso machines that make having phone calls difficult or close early.
With even short memberships to spaces like Selina, you can increase productivity and also find community. With meeting digital nomads in a type of working community, you can share tips, professional skills, job offerings and social opportunities.
Seek remote work communities and opportunities.
There are lots of communities online out there for traveling professionals who want to network and find new remote opportunities. You can look for remote work opportunities that are non-time-zone-specific, so you can keep working flexibly no matter where you go.
If you don’t have a remote job (yet), check out our fresh list of the best remote job boards.
As for networking, consider that networking is just beginning when you think outside the box of meeting other professionals in person. We discuss the best ways to network as a remote professional, namely, getting active on social media, joining Slack workspaces according to your profession and never hesitating to reach out to someone with a connection.
Itching for a freelance gig, a flexible remote job or a new career? You can see our list of the best remote job boards and start sifting through the listings.
Pack appropriately for remote work and travel.
If you’ve hastily packed for a remote work and forgotten a few crucial things that are needed for work, rather than vacation, you’re not alone. It’s why we’ve developed this tried-and-true list of what to pack for a trip when you plan to work remotely.
Working remotely while traveling is another beast of its own, as you have to take along things that make working possible.
What changed for us in packing for remote work long-term trips was that we took this skeleton list of essentials in addition to standard ‘vacation stuff:’
- my Dell XPS 13-inch laptop
- a slim laptop sleeve for traveling with a laptop
- a small-size wireless mouse by Logitech to avoid hand cramping
- the Sony noise-cancelling headphones for taking video meetings
- a laptop stand like the Roost laptop stand, which travelers love because it folds up and fits in any suitcase or bag
- a super slim external keyboard like the Apple magic keyboard to use when you’re using a laptop stand
Minimize distractions in order to work efficiently.
I find that I check my phone often – okay, all the time. If my phone is next to me, I’ll start checking all my apps and it takes away significantly from my work. As with any type of task to which you dedicate your energy, take away the things that prevent you from being productive.
If you don’t work well in loud environments, get some noise-cancelling headphones. If you function well with background noise like I do, use the energy of those around you to keep yourself motivated. Remove the little distractions that get in your way of having a productive day in your remote office.
Check out our article on how to be productive while working from home!
Understand time zones and use them to your advantage.
If you’re already working in a multinational company or with clients or vendors across oceans, then you’re familiar with time zones. I’ve been working with companies in Asia, Africa, Australia and Europe for five years now, and it directly affects how and when I’m able to schedule meetings.
If you’ve worked within your home country and time zones haven’t affected you in your working life yet, then congrats! You’re in for some awesome surprises. Working remotely abroad or throughout various time zones introduces you to familiarity with how time zones can affect communication! Does the country in which you’re living change clocks for Daylight Savings? Will Daylight Savings affect your meeting times with your client or your remote team?
If you’re a freelancer, check out our article on how to manage clients in different time zones!
My favorite tool for scheduling meetings across time zones is World Time Buddy and it has helped me arrange calls with contacts in Australia, attend meetings with companies in China and even helps me figure out what time it is in San Francisco, where my sister lives.
Set limits for how much you work and know when to call it a day.
Unless you’re working on a deadline, limit your work day to a personal time limit that causes you to be the most productive.
It’s important to prioritize work-life balance so that you can enjoy your surroundings, take time for yourself and fit in a workout or some health and wellness hobbies. We usually limit our workdays to between six and nine hours with a bunch of breaks.
Looking for the best ways to take a break? Use our list of ways to stay fit while working remotely, complete with recommendations for gear that fits in your travel bag.
Working remotely and traveling when the rest of your team is elsewhere makes it challenging to visualize that your colleagues’ day has ended, or started. Relating directly to time management, it’s easy to take the morning for a hike or an excursion and promise yourself that you’ll fit an entire business day into your afternoon and evening.
If this will affect your sanity, then choose to schedule a hike on a weekend! Work should come first, and committing to not overworking is equally important.
If you are prone to overworking, make sure you know how to avoid burnout while working remotely and you’ll thank yourself later – we promise.
Use working remotely as a flexible way to work, not a lazy way to work.
I’ve found that I work best when I’m in a workspace scenario, and I focus terribly when I’m lounging in bed, sitting on a couch and leaning my head down too much at my computer or sitting in a stool in my kitchen. One of the clearest and most direct ways toward staying productive while working remotely is to pin down your ideal remote work schedule while you are away from home.
For some people, working in bed feels the most comfortable, but it’s not the best for your body! Make sure to take breaks from your screen, get up, stretch, get some steps in and sit in a proper ergonomic chair.
Do your research regarding WiFi speeds for working remotely
The USA and the rest of the world truly have some beautiful places, but not all WiFi speeds were created equally, unfortunately.
WiFi speeds abroad
I learned this when I traveled in China and Bolivia and sometimes, depending on the city, could hardly get an email to send. Even in cities where free WiFi is publicly available at malls and outdoor spaces and paying with your phone is more common than with a credit card, you may get stuck in finding out that your Airbnb has a WiFi issue.
Luckily, most coworking spaces abroad are usually dependable in terms of WiFi, but keep in mind that in developing countries, simple things like rain can sometimes knock out the Internet for an hour or so!
WiFi speeds will impact the speed at which you can work efficiently, send files and download documents, so it pays to research WiFi speeds of where you’re going. What we recommend is that if you plan to engage in video calls, teleconferences or Zoom meetings, do your research. A strong WiFi speed is one of our top tech tips for taking video interviews and it holds the same importance while preparing for attending virtual meetings.
WiFi speeds in different parts of the US
It’s honestly hard to generalize WiFi speeds in different parts of the US, because you could very well be in a major city at an Airbnb that has downgraded WiFi or a type of less-than-optimal old router situation.
If you’re concerned about WiFi speeds, feel free to ask the Airbnb host, or hotel, before your arrival, about average WiFi speeds, upload speeds and current monthly Internet plan levels.
How to test WiFi speed while traveling and working remotely
You can do a quick benchmark download speed test on fast.com to see how fast the internet is. If you click on “See more info” you can see the upload speeds.
The speed test will give you a good idea of whether or not the internet is “good” or “bad.” Anything over 15 Mbps is considered “good” for download speeds. Anything over 5 Mbps is considered “good” for upload speeds for remote work.
Use your remote work trip location as a way to explore.
Have you chosen to work remotely across the country? Or, have you chosen to hunker down in a new city in a new state, for an entire month? Maybe it’s neither of these – maybe you’ve taken a long weekend trip for three days during which you have to finish a big project or make a deadline.
Remember: Use your location to your benefit, whether it’s learning the local slang (“y’all,” “wicked awesome,” or “soda pop”), taking advantage of local workout trends (trail running?) or diving into the local culture.
In working remotely in Peru, Colombia and Mexico, I benefited greatly from taking Spanish classes with great teachers in all three countries. I also learned all about the local fruits in these countries and enjoyed coming to my and Dan’s coworking space to introduce fruits I had found to other travelers.
While learning Spanish may be strongly recommended in Latin America, it could also help you get around places like southern California or the Miami region of Florida! Look for international inspiration wherever you go, to make it feel like you really went far, if that’s your style.
Are you hitting the road soon? Brush up on all those travel FAQs with our guides to travel advice.
Be patient with explaining your situation.
Remember that you made the choice to take ‘working from home’ to ‘working remotely at an Airbnb’ or ‘working remotely in a cabin with a WiFi hotspot.’
Others in your circles may have a challenge in understanding what that ‘looks like’ or ‘feels like,’ so use caution in explaining the trip you’ve chosen to take and how it will give you a fresh restart. Use this mindset while staying connected with the contacts you’ve chosen to keep in touch with.
People who have never heard about the ideal of working remotely and traveling may have lots of questions or doubts. It’s up to you to ensure everyone that things are going fine and that you may be even more productive than before.
Congratulate yourself, because you’re taking a huge leap!
Remember to praise yourself often, as working remotely while traveling is a challenge.
It looks pretty easy from the outside and to those who’ve never tried exploring the difference between working from home and working remotely, but every time you come across a hurdle, you remember what type of challenge you’ve chosen.
“Working from home” might easily transform itself to an experience of working remotely in an Airbnb, hotel, RV, trailer or home-stay. Explore these new sets of opportunities.
Did you even think you’d be Googling a phrase like ‘how to work remotely and travel’ this year? Pinch yourself, because you can make it work!
Smile, and keep going. This is just the beginning.
Last updated on February 22nd, 2021