Mastering the Art of Travel While Working Remotely

By Natalia Wolting  • Mar 22, 2024

For remote workers seeking a life of freedom and flexibility, the temptation to become a "digital nomad" - constantly traveling while working can be strong. One study found that there are over 17 million people in the United States who are living a digital nomadic lifestyle. With the right strategies and mindset, balancing work responsibilities with wanderlust is feasible. Here are tips on how to best navigate travel while working remotely:

Preparation is Key

  • Embrace the Policy – Even if you have worked remotely for several years, you should familiarize yourself with your company's remote work policy. Some companies might have restrictions on location or require prior approval for extended travel.

  • Plan Your Itinerary - Research destinations with a reliable internet infrastructure. Co-living spaces and digital nomad hubs often cater to remote workers and offer strong Wi-Fi connectivity.

  • Communicate Openly - Discuss your travel plans with your manager well in advance. Outline your work schedule during travel, considering time zone differences and potential disruptions.

Gear Up for On-the-Go Work

  • Pack Light, Work Smart - Invest in a portable workstation. A slim laptop, a wireless mouse and a comfortable keyboard can significantly enhance your work experience while minimizing baggage. Noise-canceling headphones are also a must-have for tuning out distractions in common areas like hotels, airports and coffee shops.

  • Stay Connected - Ensure a reliable internet connection. A smartphone with a portable hotspot feature or a separate hotspot device can be a work-saver if you frequently find yourself in locations with spotty Wi-Fi.

  • Embrace the Cloud - Utilize cloud-based storage and project management tools to ensure seamless access to work files and collaboration with colleagues.

Conquering Time Management

  • Schedule Strategically - Plan your travel around your heaviest work periods. If you know you have big deadlines or meetings coming up in the next week, aim to be settled in a single accommodation to minimize disruptions. Conversely, lighter workweeks allow more flexibility for hopping between cities or countries.

  • Prioritize Deep Work - It's easy for productivity and motivation to slip while traveling. Schedule demanding tasks during periods with minimal distractions. Early mornings or evenings might be ideal for focused work depending on your location's time zone.

  • Embrace Flexibility - Be prepared to adjust your schedule as needed. Unexpected situations or travel hiccups might necessitate minor adjustments to maintain productivity. Use calendar reminders or apps to keep travel documents, accommodation bookings and other vital details organized and readily accessible. Subscribe to airline and government updates in case of delays, cancellations, or other urgent travel changes.

Maintaining Work-Life Balance

  • Set Boundaries - Communicate your availability clearly to colleagues and clients. Set away messages and turn off notifications as much as possible. Avoid the temptation to check work emails constantly by establishing designated work hours and sticking to them.

  • Know When and How to Disconnect - As fun and liberating as the traveling remote work life can be, it's important to know when and how to disconnect from the grind. Stepping away completely can boost productivity by allowing you to recharge.

  • Optimize Time Off - Take full advantage of holidays, weekends, or set "vacation" days to explore and immerse yourself in the local culture. Even just one day per week set aside for pure travel and leisure can work wonders for your mental state.

Additional Tips for the Nomadic Remote Worker

  • Invest in Security - Consider getting an RFID-blocking travel wallet, VPN subscription and anti-virus software for added protection against cyber threats while working from public networks. The more secure and mobile-optimized your tech setup is from the start; the easier travel will be.

  • Embrace Coworking Spaces - While the digital nomad lifestyle offers amazing freedom, the isolation can still get to some. Check ahead for coworking spaces such as The Mill in Bloomington, Indiana at your destination, or use apps to find the best local coffee shops and public spaces suited for remote work. Striking up conversations with fellow nomads and locals can spark new ideas, collaborations and lasting connections.

  • Prepare for the Unexpected - Download essential offline tools like document readers and note-taking apps in case of internet connectivity issues. For recreational purposes, downloading entertainment content in advance prevents unexpected data overages or slow streaming issues from ruining the experience.

Bloomington's The Mill is a great place to get some work done and connect with the community.

By following these steps and remaining adaptable, you can successfully navigate the exciting world of “workcation” by combining the freedom of travel with the responsibilities of your remote work.

About MakeMyMove

Remote work has freed millions of Americans to live where they want, and many are making the move to places that better match their lifestyle. In turn, cities and towns across the country are offering incentives like cash, perks and programming to remote workers who move and work from their communities. At MakeMyMove, you can explore all the places, get personalized help to find the one that’s right for you, connect with locals, and access support to make your move a piece of cake.