written by Yasmin Kranewitter
As remote work continues to rise in popularity, many workers are taking advantage of the opportunity to combine work and travel. This trend has been further accelerated by the pandemic, as more companies have adopted remote-friendly work policies. However, balancing work and travel can be challenging and bring about difficult situations. While it is true that this combination requires a great amount of discipline and planning, there are ways to make the most out of your journey. This blog post will provide you with tips for optimising your work-life balance while working remotely and travelling.
This blog article sums up the main points from a LinkedIn Live talk about how to optimise for working remotely and slow travel with Chris Cerra (Creator of RemoteBase.co) and Barbara Covarrubias Venegas (Founder of #virtualspacehero).
📈 Top 50 Remote Enabler (Remote Influencer Report 2022, 2023)
📰 Media mentions in The Guardian, Forbes, The Washington Post, and more
🎧 Podcast appearances on About Abroad, That Remote Life, The Remote Show, Nomad University, and more.
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ℹ️ What is slow travel?
Slow travel is an approach to travel that emphasises taking time to experience a destination and its culture. It encourages travellers to truly get to know a place and its people, food, and language to gain an authentic, local perspective. Whereas many people aim to “tick off” as many places as possible in one trip, slow travel encourages travellers to experience a destination in depth.
This could mean renting an apartment for a month instead of booking a hotel for a few days, taking a month-long trip instead of hopping from one place to another, or simply taking time to explore the streets instead of rushing from one point of interest to another.
4 tips on combining remote work and slow travel
Slow travel offers the opportunity to explore a destination at a relaxed pace, without feeling rushed. Nevertheless, maintaining a high level of commitment and productivity while working remotely is crucial. Here are four valuable tips for achieving a successful combination of remote work and slow travel.
1️⃣ Plan ahead
One of the most important things to consider when travelling slowly is your accommodation. Ensure you research different options and find a place that fits your needs and budget. RemoteBase is an email newsletter that curates accommodation deals from various platforms, saving you time and money when looking for housing.
When it comes to planning meetings, it is crucial to take into consideration potential time differences among participants. Consider these 5 suggestions that will help you navigate time zone challenges and ensure productive meetings accommodating participants from different regions:
👉 Be aware of the time zones of the participants involved in the meeting and clearly communicate the meeting time in the organizer’s time zone. When sending out meeting reminders, also include the meeting time converted to each participant’s local time zone to prevent confusion.
👉 Often calendar applications such as Google Calendar or Microsoft Outlook have built-in time zone converters. Otherwise, online time zone converter tools like Timeanddate.com can be helpful to easily determine the time difference between locations.
👉 Consider using scheduling tools like Calendly or Doodle that allow participants to indicate their availability and automatically find the best meeting time based on everyone’s preferences and time zones. This facilitates scheduling meetings that suit a majority of participants.
👉 If you have recurring meetings involving participants from various time zones, consider rotating the meeting time to distribute the inconvenience of very early or very late meetings evenly.
👉 Recognize that it may still not always be possible for everyone to attend a meeting, so consider recording important meetings and sharing the recordings with absent participants, along with any relevant meeting notes or documents.
2️⃣ Establish a routine
Before embarking on your trip, think about what your daily routine will look like at the destination. Establish a routine and schedule that works for you, and then try to stick to it. This will help you stay focused and productive while also allowing some time for relaxation. Here are some steps you should consider to establish a routine before you embark on your journey:
👉 Plan and prioritize: Make a list of the tasks and activities you need to accomplish while travelling and working. Determine which tasks are essential and prioritize them accordingly.
👉 Set clear goals: Define your goals for the trip, both professionally and personally. This will help you stay focused and motivated.
👉 Create a schedule: Have a daily or weekly schedule that outlines your working hours, breaks, and personal time. Consider factors like your energy levels, professional meetings, and planned leisure activities.
👉 Optimize your workspace: Find the right workspace to set clear boundaries between work and leisure. It is essential to find a space where you can focus and have a reliable internet connection. This could be a co-working space, a coffee shop, or a dedicated seat in your accommodation. Ensure you have the necessary equipment, such as a laptop, chargers, and any other specific tools you may need. Also organize your digital files and ensure remote access to essential documents.
👉 Define boundaries: Clearly communicate your availability and working hours to clients, colleagues, and team members. Set boundaries to avoid overworking and maintain a healthy work-life balance. After all, you also want to enjoy your time abroad and not spend all of it on meetings and work.
👉 Stay flexible: While it is crucial to have a basic routine, be open to adapting it if necessary. Embrace the unique experiences and opportunities that arise during your travel, while also staying focused on your work.
By preparing in advance, you can establish a routine that promotes productivity, work-life balance, and a smooth transition into your travel and work adventure.
3️⃣ Invest in your workplace setup
The tools you use can make a significant difference when it comes to optimising your time and comfort while working remotely and travelling. Invest in a working setup that you can travel with, such as a portable monitor and keyboard, to help you stay productive. Additionally, use communication tools like Slack or Zoom to facilitate collaboration and ensure that your colleagues stay informed.
The most critical factor when working remotely: the connection. Before leaving for your trip, ensure that you will have a reliable internet connection that can handle online activities such as video calls or file transfers – if needed. If your accommodation does not provide WiFi, consider acquiring a mobile plan with hotspot options. Make sure you research the internet speed and connectivity options at your destination before you depart.
When deadlines are approaching and stress levels are high, it can be tempting to spend all your time working and ignoring the beauty your destination has to offer. One way to ensure you also take time off is to treat workdays as if you were in an office. This means setting a start and stop time, taking breaks, and avoiding distractions. By setting these boundaries, you will be able to better balance work and travel.
Finally, it is important to make the most of your downtime. Travelling is a great opportunity to explore a new city or culture, but it is also a chance to take a break from work. This means taking time to relax, recharge, and enjoy your surroundings. Whether it is visiting a museum, trying the local cuisine, or taking a day trip, spending your time off with something you enjoy will help you stay motivated and focused when you are working. Also, taking a few days off after arriving can help you overcome potential jetlags and settle in. This will not only make your trip more enjoyable but also provide you with a better understanding of your destination.
In conclusion, remote work has revolutionized the way we approach our careers and has provided unprecedented flexibility and freedom. The ability to work from anywhere has not only eliminated geographical barriers but has also allowed individuals to strike a healthier work-life balance. Remote work has increased productivity as well as job satisfaction, as employees have the autonomy to create their ideal work environment and tailor their schedules to their personal needs. It has opened up opportunities for people to pursue their passions, spend more time with their families, or explore new horizons while still pursuing their responsibilities to their employers. With the advancements in technology and the growing acceptance of remote work, it is clear that this trend is here to stay and will continue to shape the future of work.
Slow travel, on the other hand, offers a refreshing antidote to the fast-paced, hectic trend of short weekend getaways that have become the norm for many. Instead of rushing through destinations and exploring them only superficially, slow travel embraces a more intentional and meaningful experience, allowing travelers to truly immerse themselves in the local culture, connect with people, and gain a deeper appreciation for their environment. Slow travel encourages mindfulness, allowing travelers to savor each moment and experience new perspectives. This fosters personal growth, expands horizons, and enriches the overall travel experience by encouraging individuals to prioritize quality over quantity. Moreover, this approach not only reduces the environmental impact of travel but also supports local economies and promotes sustainable tourism practices.
Overall, both remote work and slow travel represent powerful movements promoting flexibility, freedom, and a more balanced way of living. They offer opportunities to reshape our work and travel habits, enabling us to live more fulfilling lives while contributing positively to the world around us. Travelling and working remotely can be challenging, but with the right tools and mindset, it can also be extremely rewarding. By combining the benefits of remote work with the mindset of slow travel, we can create a future that embraces both personal well-being and a sustainable approach to living and exploring the world while still pursuing your career.