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The dream of being unmoored from a specific anchored spot is a dream of many people. Those of us with a sense of wanderlust can often feel a little tired and trapped staying in one place for too long, even if we have a beloved home we’re happy to return to after our travels are done.
Thankfully, in the age of digital communications and desktop-based productivity, remote working as a “digital nomad” has become more and more possible.
That’s not to say you can climb up the side of Kilimanjaro while taking a work conference call, but at the very least you could try it, and that makes a tremendous difference to how we think of and prioritize our working opportunities.
Now, to find a position that allows you to keep constant remote work and apply your skills is a little beyond the scope of this article, but we can certainly grant you some of the best advice for when you do. After all, like any good trip, remote working requires diligent planning and considering your goals before you start.
Let’s consider, then, some essential tips to know when traveling as a remote worker:
Choosing Your Digital Systems & Devices Wisely
It’s important to outfit yourself capably when working on the road. Portability is the name of the game here, because it may be that you need to work here and there in different cafes or plan your working hours in a unique format compared to how most people do it.
A laptop with a smaller profile can work well – think a 13-inch notebook as opposed to a 17-inch ultrabook depending on the work you do. This way, you can carry around your device easily. It can also be worthwhile to use a case that can protect against dings and dents, which are inevitable if traveling so far with tech gear in your backpack. A spare battery charger/holder is ideal, and making sure the device has specs you can rely on is key. For example, a good integrated webcam and mic can prevent you from having to drag those peripherals around with you.
Sometimes, your place of employment may furnish you with a device, sometimes they won’t. At the very least, it’s important to make sure the item is equipped for the journey.
Protect Yourself Online
Heading from location to location as a remote worker means you’ll be connecting to many networks, be that hotel or cafe Wi-Fi or even a miniature 5G dongle you pay for to keep you connected. Of course, depending on the country you’re in, these norms may differ.
It’s good to know how to protect yourself online because then your vital financial and professional information won’t be exposed to others intercepting the network. You may ask what is my IP? This will help you learn if your personal network connection is exposed and what VPN to best use. That way, you can keep sensitive traffic encrypted.
It’s also important to disconnect any location-tracking features except for verified users, so only your loved ones can track where you are. Be mindful of the data you save on your device and how accessible your hard drives are – a stolen laptop should not cause your personal information to be exposed.
Backing up your data into the cloud can be a good first step, but you can also use additional verification methods like two-factor tokens to ensure security. Protecting yourself online is non-negotiable as a digital nomad, and as such, you should take it seriously.
Set Your Hours
It’s very, very easy to become distracted as a remote worker, especially when the whole purpose of your not being in a home office is because you want to see the world. That being said, to continue traveling, work does need to come first.
It may seem liberating to have an hour to work you like, but the truth is that unless you can easily switch on the “focus mindset” and grind out projects for hours at a time, or through many intermittent hours during the day, it’s easy for your focus to lapse.
That’s why it’s so important to conserve your momentum and maintain your energy by setting specific hours to work. For example, perhaps you’ll get up early each day and work from 8 am – 12 pm. Then, after your afternoon travel and activities, you’ll work from 6 pm – 8 pm.
Depending on the job you do, this may be enough, or you may need to plan out more on certain days. Consistency is key, as is rest, as is focus. If you can keep something of a stable routine up, you’ll have more energy to invest in your work, and more breaks to enjoy your travels with.
Plan Around Your Invoices/Salary Payments
Of course, travel tends to be quite expensive. From accommodations to your food budget to your daily travel or access to amenities you may not have the conveniences of, it’s important to plan your budget around your payment dates.
That might involve when you generate invoices (in some cases, that could be daily) or when your salary is paid. From there, you can budget stringently and make sure you have enough each week.
You might ask how this differs from conventional working in your home country, where finances need to be planned. When remote working, you may need to factor in additional emergency costs and other considerations. Paying for travel insurance, impromptu flights, tax payments and more can be different in a new country. That’s why it’s often smart to travel to countries where the spending power you earn stretches further in the new location. If you can achieve that, then you can work the rest of your travel visa without encountering any problems.
With this advice, we hope you can continue to travel as a remote worker and get the best of both priorities. Try to understand that it can take some time to get used to your process, but when you do, a whole new working life opens up to you.
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