About 7.3 million Americans consider themselves to be digital nomads. If you can work from home, chances are you can work from anywhere. You don’t have to sacrifice vacation days to see the wonders of the world. However, remote work while traveling comes with some challenges. But with a bit of organization, you will be able to satisfy your wanderlust and work just as efficiently as you would at home. Here are a few tips on how to manage work while you are “on the road”.
Check-in with clients and colleagues often
If you are one of a few remote workers in an otherwise non-remote business, it’s easy for your office-bound coworkers to forget all about you, and vice-versa.
Staying in touch with your coworkers and clients is important, even if it’s just to say hi and see how they are doing. To stay connected with the rest of the company, offer video conferences and send out detailed emails.
Arrange your communication channels before you go
Let people know how they can reach you while you are abroad. Set up and test Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Slack before you leave if you expect to be arranging interviews or doing some job searching while you are traveling.
You can get by without purchasing an international phone plan if you use cross-platform apps such as iMessage, Viber, or WhatsApp. Just make sure to set them up using the same SIM card you use for work. Then, you can buy a local SIM card for use in the country you are staying in. You can also use your Skype account to call landlines and mobile phones worldwide if you purchase Skype credits.
When you are working from abroad, you need to be mindful of time zones. Take into account whether you’ll be able to get online at 3 AM local time to reach a client who is located on the other side of the world. Moreover, you wouldn’t want to accidentally call a client or coworker in the middle of the nigh.. Most smartphones can display dual clocks for different time zones, so make sure to use that feature.
If you know you’ll be in transit for a couple of days, or that you’ll have difficulties connecting to the internet from a certain location, you should be upfront about your accessibility. Remote work while traveling requires good communication skills and staying connected.
Make it easy for new clients to find you
If you are a freelancer, your livelihood may depend on a steady stream of new clients. Marketing yourself is easier when you are at home and have more time to spare. However, working, traveling, and searching for new clients at the same time can be difficult.
Platforms such as Upwork are great for freelancers, but they require you to bid on projects. Instead, you can use your own portfolio website to get clients to come to you. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) allows you to attract the right type of client.
An SEO coach can help you optimize your portfolio website for search engines in order to make it easier for prospective clients to find you and reach out to you. This is done by targeting specific keywords that are relevant to the services you offer as well as to the search intent of your clients. SEO coaching is one of the types of marketing strategies you can use to reach leads organically.
It will take at least several months for your SEO efforts to deliver results. But, eventually, your portfolio website will start bringing in new business without you having to invest much time and effort. So you will be able to focus more on work and traveling, instead of actively searching for new clients.
SEO is an investment, but it can save you time as well as deliver a great return on investment (ROI). It’s a great way for freelancers to reduce their dependence on platforms that take a percentage of their earnings while still requiring them to search for clients on their own.
Pack appropriately for travel and remote work
If you expect to be on the move almost all the time, it’s best to pack light. And, since you may not know what your work environment will be like, it’s best to stick to this tried-and-true list when packing:
- Noise-canceling headphones: Whether you’ll be working in a coworking space, a cafe, or an Airbnb, a pair of quality, noise-canceling headphones can help you focus on your work. Whether it’s the drone of motorbikes whizzing by or a boisterous conversation in Thai, a good pair of noise-canceling headphones will do a great job of blocking out background noise.
- International outlet adapters: You will pay less if you order these online before you go instead of picking them up at the airport. A universal travel adapter shouldn’t cost more than $30, and will allow you to power your devices no matter which continent you are on.
- Laptop stand: A laptop stand allows you to keep your screen at eye level no matter how high the desk is. This helps correct your posture and reduce the likelihood of back and neck pain. The average laptop stand folds up and fits in nicely in any bag or suitcase.
- Travel insurance: Some insurers provide international health insurance for digital nomads. Before you embark on your adventure, consult your doctor and make a point of understanding what your insurance covers.
Don’t forget to pay your taxes
It’s easy to forget about your tax liability when you are working from abroad, but you probably still have to file taxes back in your home country.
For instance, you have to file a tax return on your worldwide income if you are a US citizen. However, there are some tax reliefs and exclusions for digital nomads. You also may be obliged to pay taxes in the country you are working in, even though technically you don’t have a job there.
Your accounting can get even messier if you are often bouncing from one foreign country to another. Before you leave your home country, it’s best to consult with an accountant who has experience in working with freelancers, sole traders, and remote workers that are expats. They will find ways to reduce your taxes while you are traveling and working.
I hope this has given you a few ideas of how to optimize remote work while traveling. Especially right now, working from home or elsewhere is more possible than ever.
Guest Author Bio
I’m Rebecca, a translator, avid traveler, and a bookworm. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.