For some entrepreneurs, one of the biggest perks of working from home is the ability to work while they travel. It may be a short trip to the coast for a few days, or it may be a longer adventure that takes them across the country or to a different continent, but they revel in the fact that they can work from anywhere. Traveling while working is also a way that travelers can continue to fund their adventures, and they may only work until they have enough money to move to their next location. If you’re considering a “work from the road” lifestyle, here are some tips that will help you get started.
Research the costs of long-term travel or life abroad.
It can be both intimidating and alarming to find out how much you need to be a traveling worker. Before you quit your job and pack your suitcase, make a plan about where you’re heading, how long you intend to stay, and how much you’ll need to save beforehand and earn on the road to make it work. If the thought of saving up that much money alarms you, you may want to reconsider working on the road.
Determine if you need to work.
Some people don’t need to work, but want to supplement their savings by working while traveling. This lifestyle appeals to families, young couples, and retirees who want to explore the world. From taking your current career on the road, to starting a new business, the opportunities are truly endless, and the only limitation is your imagination. The most important tip? Plan ahead.
Decide what type of employment works for you.
The “location-independent” job: This type of job is perfect for the individual who wants to be free to relocate whenever the urge strikes. Made possible by technology advancements and more widespread Internet availability, the cloud-based employee or entrepreneur can be almost anywhere.
The downfall to this type of employment, however, is that most location-independent positions are full-time jobs. Virtual employers may not mind where you work, but they still want you on the clock 40 hours a week. And if you’re starting a company or running your own business, you may have to put in even more hours than that every week. For those who love to travel and sightsee, a full-time job may not fit into their plan. In addition, finding a job with a virtual workspace may not be as easy as it sounds. There are positions available, but often a company is more likely to offer them to current employees first. It may be difficult to find a job that allows you to start off working remotely.
Freelance work: For those just starting out in the working-while-traveling lifestyle, freelancing might be the best option. Individuals who wish to freelance should have an established set of skills that are marketable and current. These skills can include web design, consulting, and writing. Many travelers make their living as a travel writer or videographer, but this is not an easy route. It takes time, patience, and hard work to establish yourself as a freelancer. Start cultivating good relationships with clients before you head out on an adventure.
Work from home: If you have an existing job, explore the possibilities of keeping your position and working from home. Begin to make the transition to location independence by talking to your boss about working from home. Perhaps you can start with one or two days a week at home, and gradually decrease the number of days you are in the office. Continue to demonstrate your value as an employee. When you have a proven track record of working productively outside the office, begin discussions with your boss about the possibility of working abroad.
Keep the costs in mind.
People who work from home (no matter where their home may be) tend to work more hours than their traditional counterparts. Companies generally save money by hiring a virtual employee, so they are becoming more open to the idea, but it still may be a hard sell. You may have to pick up your own insurance coverage and will be responsible for your travel costs, accommodations, and other expenses.
It’s vital to choose your new location wisely. You will need to work while you’re there, so remote locations with limited Internet access are most likely not going to work. You’ll need to bring your laptop, have access to cell service, and be able to communicate with those in your office easily during their working hours. All of these factors can play into where in the world you choose to live or travel to.
Plan for contingencies.
Life on the road has its own set of challenges. Be prepared to put travel plans on hold as weather conditions, safety issues, or health problems may impact your ability to keep moving. These issues may hinder your sightseeing opportunities, and you may be forced to stay in certain areas longer than you anticipated. Major projects or other work commitments may also arise and impact your travel plans.
Enjoy the experience.
Being able to work on the road gives you an experience that few will have. You can learn about different cultures, people, and the world at large as you work your way around the globe or establish yourself in a foreign city. Make sure you take time to appreciate your new home during your off-hours.