Most people think that combining work and travel is a luxury reserved for young single travelers. But that isn’t true at all. You just have to plan everything a bit longer and better than a new graduate would do, but that’s all! I’ve done it a couple of times – and I am going to freelance while traveling again this year, so I know that it is a realistic goal! You should keep one thing in mind, though: It should feel like a holiday. With a laptop, but still a holiday. Do not ever forget it!
What you need to do before your “freelance while traveling” experience:
- During the weeks or months preceding your trip, get as much work done as possible. First, take care of your actual work for customers. Don’t leave any project deliveries undone. In this way, you’ll be freeing up time for any new projects that may arrive while you’re traveling. But you don’t want to take work with you from the get-go.
- Second, take care of any tedious tasks you may have pending. You don’t want to spend your time with taxes or techie stuff while your family is lying on the beach, do you? So get it done before you leave!
- Third, write an email to your best customers letting them know that you’re going to be available half-time – or full-time if you wish, but be careful with the promises you make! Try to take the first travel days off. You don’t know how easy it’s going to be for you to work until you arrive, so you’d better communicate it in advance.
- Next, also write to those customers who give you way too much unpaid work. Those who only appear from time to time but, when they do, you wish they hadn’t. You know who they are! Tell them you will be away on holiday, or that you’re working on a longer project and won’t be available for some time. You don’t want them to ruin your “freelance while traveling” experience, do you?
- If you haven’t already, automate your business as much as possible! Let the digital tools work for you! Check out this post to get a couple of tips on automation.
- Look for a hotel or apartment with Wi-Fi. Not only for the lobby but also for your room. The more places with Wi-Fi, the better, actually!
- As we both know that it won’t always work as smoothly as we could dream of, research any nearby coffee houses with free Wi-Fi. Or, even better, search for any coworking spaces you could go to in case of an emergency. There are many coworking places where you can book for half a day! You just have to look for them in advance. Don’t wait until the emergency pops up!
- Research some fun activities for your kids before you leave. If your partner can take care of them for a while, even better! As an exchange, you could treat him with something he’d love to do on holidays or promise him some free time for himself when you’re done with your work.
What you need to consider during your “freelance while traveling” experience:
- Don’t plan full-time workdays. Plan 4 hours per day max. You’re on holiday, remember? You do want to get to know the places you’re visiting, right? Then plan only half-day work, and you can add some more time on top of it if you really need it. Otherwise, you’ll just feel frustrated.
- When choosing the best time for you to work, it actually depends on what kind of business you run:
- If you need to have an eye on your customers or social media on a daily basis, you can work in the morning before everyone else wakes up, in the evening, or work a bit before breakfast and a couple of hours during the day. Just make sure that you can work 100% focused.
- If you work on projects that take several weeks – and can plan your time without having to communicate with your customers, you could block a couple of workdays, and forget about your business 4 days a week (weekends included). This way, it would feel like a real holiday!
- Focus on the important tasks you have to deliver. If there are admin tasks waiting for you and you can’t postpone them, get them done after your actual work.
- If you’re traveling to a different time zone, try to make the most out of it. If possible, work while your customers are sleeping. You’ll avoid disturbing emails and calls. Let them know what time best suits you to communicate with them during the month you’re away, and block 30 minutes a day just for that!
When you’re not working, be 100% present for your family. If possible, forget about emails, calls and be there for them. They’ll respect your working hours much easier if you respect your free time together!