How to Work Remotely and Travel Featured Image

How to Work Remotely and Travel

Who doesn’t want to slip into Elizabeth Gilbert’s shoes and Eat, Pray, and Love their way through the world? The only roadblock? Gilbert was given $200,000 to pursue her dream, and unless you secure a benevolent patron, you must finance your travel by working remotely. 

Digital nomads are people who take up remote work to see the world. They’re skilled at working from anywhere, know how to employ remote working technologies, and have superb control over their finances. 

In theory, their lifestyle looks great. And with the rise of remote collaboration tools and workspaces in the post-COVID world, it’s more attainable than ever. 

If you plan to trade your office desk for a beach table and stability for adventures, you’d need to address the pitfalls first. After all, you don’t want to be stranded on a remote island without internet or money! 

In this article, we’ll explain how to work remotely and travel and the technologies you need to make it happen.

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The Concept of Working Remotely While Traveling 

Digital nomads are generally self-employed professionals, entrepreneurs, freelance contractors, or remote employees. 

According to a SafetyWing report, about 75% of digital nomads credited the pandemic as the biggest reason for going remote. And 90% of them reported a boost in productivity.

Remote workers going mainstream has also encouraged traditional employees to ditch their offices. Companies today know that people value workplace flexibility, and allowing them to operate from anywhere is one of the best ways to keep employees engaged.

According to Nomad List, 40% of remote employees work full-time, forming the biggest segment among digital nomads. 

If you’re lucky (and brave) enough to be able to move around and digitize your freelance activity, you first need a plan. For something as career-defining as remote working, you can’t rely on Elizabeth Gilbert’s impulsiveness.

First, decide where you want to be. Countries often have different laws for digital nomad visas, but you should also factor in economic and cultural elements, safety, infrastructure, and taxes. 

If you’re an employee with a remote job, carefully review your company’s mobility policies and discuss your decision with your manager. Once you set off, you’re unlikely to check into the office for quite some time, so establish boundaries and communicate with your team accordingly. 

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Tools and Best Practices for Remote Work While Traveling

You’d find plenty of digital nomads returning to their offices after an unsuccessful attempt at working from the other side of the world. 

In most cases, they didn’t follow the best practices or used tools to succeed at remote working. If you want to be a successful digital nomad, here are the key things to remember:

1. Use a reliable internet connection 

As a remote worker, the internet connection will be your best friend. Ensure your remote workspace has a fast, secure, and reliable internet connection throughout your stay. Many nomads pick beautiful cafes and parks for their daily work, but public WiFi poses a big security risk. It pays to have a mobile hotspot as a backup.

Get yourself a good VPN that’ll help you mask your traffic and unlock geo-locked content. It’s better to pick a designated workspace built for remote work so you can enjoy uninterrupted work

Finances can get dicey fast in an unknown land, so you shouldn’t compromise on your work. And that brings us to the next point.

2. Create a travel-friendly workspace

When you’re remotely working and traveling, you have to embrace change. But not everyone feels equally productive in fast-changing scenarios. You should ideate and organize a travel-friendly workspace that helps you stay focused, regardless of the time zone. 

Travel-ready workspaces need to be light, minimal, and personal.

To minimize clutter, pick a lightweight laptop with longer battery life, an extra power bank, flash drives, and an all-USB hub. Next, use a foldable desk and laptop stand to join that Zoom call in seconds. From a diary to pillows with lumbar support, mold your workspace to make you feel nice and comfortable.

3. Incorporate slow travel strategies

When you visit a place, make sure you settle in and enjoy all its culture and beauty. Ticking off itineraries like tourists will only leave you exhausted and distracted. Instead, treat every destination as a workcation and soak in the local culture in all its authentic glory. 

Slow travel allows you to experience the true identity of a place and save money as you use local accommodations and travel options. It’s also great for work-life balance

For example, if you’re in Bali, try living in co-living facilities, book sustainable travel choices, and buy local produce. As they say, be a traveler, not a tourist.

4. Set boundaries and expectations at work

When you are free to do anything, you also have to take care of everything. Traveling to unknown places can be overwhelming, and that can impact remote workers. 

Ensure you and your team are on the same page regarding expectations and work hours. If you’re in a different time zone, discuss your timings with team leads/clients so you don’t get meeting invitations during odd hours. If you don’t set up boundaries and let remote work dictate your travel plans, you’ll not be able to enjoy the digital nomad lifestyle.

5. Maintain good sleep hygiene

Seeing the world takes a toll on your body. Your mind may be enriched, but your body requires adequate rest between work and travel. 

It may not hit as hard in the safety of home, but tiredness is one of the key reasons people cut their nomadic journey short. Prioritize your sleep schedule and focus on your body. Incorporate plenty of activities, a healthy diet, and frequent checkups. Getting sick in faraway places certainly takes the shine off traveling. 

6. Use remote work management and productivity tools

One way to prevent burnout is using a tool like ClickUp’s Remote Team Project Management Software. It’s a digital brain for all your projects, schedules, admin tasks, and travel planning! 

ClickUp’s productivity features help you organize your tasks, plan your schedule, and communicate with other remote employees. You can make the most of these features by breaking down your processes into three parts: project management, collaboration, and resource allocation.

Project management

With ClickUp Tasks, edit and customize task status, set priority levels, and add contexts and links for efficient workflows.

For freelancers working with multiple clients, the Kanban-style visualization on ClickUp’s Board View brings all projects together. These remote work tools are particularly helpful for digital nomads who must stay on top of several things simultaneously.

ClickUp Board View
Group tasks by status on ClickUp Board View and get visibility into multiple projects at a glance

Collaborations

Entrepreneurs working with remote team members can use ClickUp Docs to create a knowledge base, collaborate on action items, and organize wikis and resources in a centralized Docs Hub. 

You can co-create and co-edit Docs in real-time with your colleagues (and clients) and communicate using comments to stay in the loop. If you think feedback will look better as a screen recording, you can use ClickUp Clips to share bite-sized explanatory videos.

ClickUp Docs
Collaborate with remote teammates, clients, and other stakeholders in tandem with ClickUp Docs

Resource allocation

The nomad life requires occasional reviews to quantify success. You can easily do that with ClickUp Goals! Set clear targets, maintain project schedules, and manage all your personal and professional goals in a centralized location. This will help you allocate resources in a manner that boosts your productivity. 

Use ClickUp Dashboards to visualize workloads, work progress, finances, etc. With real-time data in easy-to-digest bars, graphs, and other charts, you can make more informed decisions regarding your workload and travel plans.

ClickUp Goals
Break down your projects into manageable Targets, add deadlines, and keep track of progress using ClickUp Goals

AI automation

If you want to reduce manual busywork, ClickUp’s AI co-pilot, ClickUp Brain, is the assistant you need. 

Functions like replying to messages with AI, turning voice notes into transcripts, spell-checking your written documents, summarizing meeting notes, and eliminating writer’s block are some quality-of-work improvements you can enjoy with ClickUp Brain.

The time you save can be used to explore the city and gather travel experiences.

ClickUp Brain
Save time by writing your emails, project briefs, and blog posts with ClickUp Brain

When you use ClickUp as your digital headquarters, you can travel light and focus on what’s important. 

Besides transitioning to remote work for yourself, you can also empower your team members to do the same. ClickUp’s Remote Work Plan Template can be a great resource here. It’s ideal for entrepreneurs with a team to support their businesses or solopreneurs expanding into the agency model. 

Bring remote teams under one roof and simplify operations with ClickUp’s Remote Work Plan Template

You can categorize tasks based on teams, priority, assignee, due dates, goals, and more. With this framework by your side, you can: 

  • Maintain a cohesive structure for your business operations while working remotely, even if the team members are in different locations
  • Set clear roles, responsibilities, and expectations for your remote team 
  • Check project progress and identify bottlenecks, if any 
  • Organize all work-related information in a unified document so everyone remains on the same page

Set custom statuses and fields to capture the nuances of your projects correctly, and you have a template that fits like a glove into your workflow. With clear visibility into the different moving parts of your business, you can evaluate employee performances and ensure everyone’s aligned with the departmental/organizational goals. 

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Overcoming Challenges of Remote Work and Travel

Now that you know a few best practices and remote tools to make your nomad journey worthwhile, it’s important to know the challenges and how to overcome them.

Mitigate time zone challenges 

If you’re transitioning into a digital nomad lifestyle, time zone differences may become a consistent issue—unless you use a VPN. 

Using a tool like NordVPN, you can match your virtual location with your team’s time zone. This makes scheduling easier and ensures you’re available during key hours, regardless of your location. 

You can join morning meetings from a bustling coffee shop in Paris (GMT+1) or collaborate with colleagues on a beach in Bali (GMT+7). The difference in time zones will not get in the way. 

But a VPN goes beyond mere time travel. NordVPN’s servers provide fast and unrestricted internet access so you can focus on work when needed. It also safeguards your internet connection on those open-air co-working cafes or unfamiliar Wi-Fi networks. This ensures your data stays private and protected while working remotely.

Brace for changes 

You’re taking charge of your life, which means you’ll face many new circumstances. The key is to have a stable core in terms of workspace, accommodation, and food. 

While luxury hotels are tempting, consider cozy homestays that offer a more local experience. This can save you money and allow you to immerse yourself in the culture. You can also get help from locals while grocery shopping or visit local farmers’ markets for fresh produce. 

Find a good co-working space with amenities like high-speed internet and comfortable workstations. It’s also a fantastic way to connect with other remote workers and build a sense of community while on the go. 

As long as you follow the basics and take care of your health, you’ll improve your life and experience the joys of living as a nomad.

Create a remote working routine while on the go

Setting a consistent wake-up and sleep time is the first thing you should do when working remotely. This helps regulate your body clock and allows you to feel refreshed and focused throughout the workday. Develop a calming morning ritual, whether it’s through meditation, journaling, or a brisk walk, to ease yourself into the day.

Once you have a fixed morning ritual, you can structure your day better with time blocks for remote work. You can use tools like ClickUp to create and maintain daily schedules, prioritize tasks, and set realistic goals. This keeps you organized and prevents feeling overwhelmed by your workload.

Make sure to block some time for learning and development and physical activities like hikes, yoga sessions, or gym workouts to maintain your well-being and avoid burnout.

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How to Transition into Being a Digital Nomad 

Switching to remote work is a major leap, but with the right approach, it can be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips to help you start on the right foot: 

  • Start with the basics: Make sure your job supports remote work. Talk to your employer or clients about your plans and ensure you have the right digital nomad tools and resources to work from anywhere
  • Plan your finances: Traveling and remote working can be unpredictable, so it’s crucial to have a financial cushion. Budget for things such as travel costs, accommodation, and unexpected expenses. Travel insurance is a must-have, so is a contingency fund that can support your expenses for at least three to six months
  • Choose your first destination wisely: Start with a place that has reliable internet, a supportive community of digital nomads, and affordable living costs. Places like Bali, Chiang Mai, and Lisbon are great for beginners
  • Pack smart: Less is more. Bring only the essentials, such as good quality tech gear and versatile clothing. Remember, you can always buy things on the go
  • Stay organized: Keep a routine to manage your work and travel schedule. Use project management software such as ClickUp to stay on top of your tasks and deadlines. Also, keep a travel management tool handy to optimize your trip based on your schedules
  • Stay connected: Being away from home and the faces you’ve known all your life can feel lonely. Build a network of fellow digital nomads to keep you company. Join online communities (such as Remote Year and Nomad Cruise), attend meetups, and consider co-working spaces to meet like-minded people

The prospect of remote work is exciting but like most things in life, you have to be patient to experience the fun and freedom it brings. You’ll have days when you feel like running back to the comfort of your home, but once you get the hang of it and learn to balance work and travel, you’re in for a treat.

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Start Your Digital Nomad Journey with ClickUp

Can you believe that a survey of digital nomads revealed that 48.3% of them have children under the age of 18? Yes, it’s never too late to try this out!

Transitioning into a digital nomad is a journey worth taking. As long as you know the risks, the challenges, and the best ways to succeed as a remote worker, you should be able to live your life the way you envisioned. 

Remote work platforms like ClickUp easily integrate with your work to keep you on track, help you get a bird’s-eye view of long-term goals, and allow you to adjust KPIs to hit your goals. If you follow the steps above, you might not become as famous as Elizabeth Gilbert, but achieving a healthy work-life balance while working remotely will become easier. 

Get started with ClickUp today!

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