In today’s fast-paced, interconnected business world, freelancers now make up around a third of the United States workforce, and their numbers are growing around the globe. From freelance writers to graphic designers and others, what it means to “go to work” is taking on a whole new meaning.
What it means to take a vacation is changing as well. When your work can follow you everywhere, it tends to do just that. Round-the-clock work can make remote workers feel they can never get away—or they need to work the whole time when they do. Instead, take advantage of the “free” in freelancer: With these tips, remote workers can use their flexible schedules to turn any workweek into a vacation, and enjoy every minute of it.
1. Prepare for the journey
Before you leave your usual business base, prioritize your work so you can complete more complicated tasks before you go, leaving things that are easy to tackle in small chunks for the trip.
Also, set alternate “office hours” for your vacation, and add a note about the upcoming change in your email signature a week before you leave. Includes times you’ll be in transit and may be more difficult to contact. Make sure important clients take note of the info, as well as what time zone you will be working in to avoid urgent midnight phone calls.
2. Limit your digital baggage
There’s only so much you can carry. Can you survive with just a tablet? If you need your laptop, do you have to bring a tablet too?
One way to pare down your device needs is with mobile apps that could render your laptop unnecessary. Slack, Yammer or Google Hangouts can make team communication seamless from abroad, WorkflowMax can help manage your projects, Toggl can track your time and FreshBooks, Xero and QuickBooks all allow you to invoice from anywhere. And should your clients send digital payments, enabling Touch ID on your iPhone PayPal app will make your transactions as secure as they are simple.
3. Check connectivity
Because freelancers rely on connectivity for everything, they tend to forget it isn’t everywhere. Before you travel, research Wi-Fi locations near your destination using an app like WiFi Finder or companies that rent hotspots like XCom Global or WiTourist.
Many forms of public transport are connected, but it can depend on which flight or train you’re on. Check ahead of time, and you could get loads of work done en route, leaving more time for fun once you arrive.
4. Pack plenty of power
Travel is always a fun excuse to get extra busy on social media, take selfies or read local reviews on your device. But all this activity drains your battery big time. That’s no small deal when you have a deadline looming. Make sure to bring power adapters that work where you are going. A collection like Apple’s World Travel Adapter Kit makes being prepared easy, with the applicable countries etched right onto each adapter. Also consider portable chargers for some extra screen time when you really need it. These chargers range widely in price and power, but can be as affordable as $7 for a small boost.
5. Seek shared spaces
A great thing about remote work sweeping the globe is most major cities will have places where freelancers congregate during work hours. The Work Hard Anywhere app allows you to locate over 10,000 cafes and other great remote work spots around the world. These co-working hubs are not only helpful for productivity, they can also be a great way to meet locals and pick up some tips about the area.
6. Work anywhere, not all the time
The ability to work while traveling can enable remote workers to take trips they might never have dreamed of before. But you’ll still have to dream about that destination if you get there, but spend the whole time working. The joy of travel is delving into the local culture, discovering new hangouts, interacting with your surroundings or simply pausing to take in the view. Schedule work hours each day, and clock out when they’re over. Your vacation will be waiting at the end of each shift.