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Can you really work productively while traveling the world?

Kayla DiPilato

“Last month you lived in Chile, and now you live in Peru? How are you affording this?” I recently received that message on Instagram. This person didn’t know that I am lucky enough to work remotely and that I recently decided to travel while doing so. 

Packing all of my belongings into a carry-on suitcase, knowing I wouldn’t be seeing my home in Boston for at least four months, was scary. I knew I was in for a different lifestyle than I was used to, but at the same time, I didn’t know what to expect. 

A few months later, reflecting on my experiences so far, I have learned a lot about how to balance traveling and working. Today, I wanted to share a few tips for anyone considering a similar path. 

Have a plan for when you will work

When I arrive in a new place, my mind is more focused on the sites I want to see than on the work I have to do. It can be easy to get absorbed in a new destination, especially when you see all the care-free vacationers around you. However, it is your job that pays for you to have this amazing experience. I am lucky to love my role here at Kuvio, which makes it a bit easier to pull myself back to the laptop. I still find it helpful to plan out what hours I will work each week, and I make a very big effort to stick to that schedule. Then I can plan all of my sightseeing activities around it and find balance.  

Try to adapt to the culture, in a way that works for you

One of the best things about traveling to a new place is that the culture will likely be different from what you’re used to. However, this can also interrupt your normal ways of working, making it harder to get things done. For example, I am currently in Latin America, where it is common to spend two hours at a restaurant for lunch. This is something I originally pushed back on. Lunch was eating up my day, and I hated working late into the evening to make up for it. However, I then began to embrace this change and started waking up earlier in the morning, so I could do more work then. I now find that when I enjoy a more leisurely lunch, I come back feeling refreshed and have reduced my usual afternoon energy slump. This is a great example of how embracing different cultures can improve your work and life. 

Invest in a hotspot

At this point, I can pretty much dive into work and focus anywhere. However, the wifi available doesn’t always cut it. There is nothing more stressful than needing to do work, being ready to do it, and then not being able to connect. A hotspot is an investment that will give you peace of mind and will also let you use your travel time more effectively. 

Learn to say no

When traveling, you can have so many amazing experiences every single day, combine this with a full-time job, and all the planning that goes into travel, and you may quickly find yourself overwhelmed. No matter where you are visiting, you will never be able to do and see it all, but that’s ok! Learning to turn down activities was hard for me when I first started traveling. But, when you are gone for months at a time, there may be a day when you just need to chill and watch Netflix, and that is ok!

Take vacation days

Working remotely means you can do a lot even on the days when you are working. However, there are some days when you truly will not be able to be a productive employee, and it is fairer to everyone if you take that day off rather than trying to work through it with subpar results. For example, later this week, I am headed to a remote lodge in the Amazon rainforest, where I know the wifi will be spotty. Rather than keeping my teammates waiting for work and wondering where I am, I took time off. This will also allow me to enjoy my trip without being stressed out. Kuvio’s unlimited vacation policy makes this very easy, but even if your company does not offer that, try to be thoughtful about when you will be able to work and when you won’t. This will manage everyone’s expectations and lead to more productivity when you are committed to working.  

These are just a few of my findings as I work to strike a balance between travel and remote work. I love that working remotely has given me the flexibility to pursue my passion for travel. Now, I can do the same job that I love, but my free time has improved exponentially. Do you have other tips for traveling while working remotely? Let us know on Twitter, @kuviocreative

Kuvio Creative is a 100% remote web design and development agency. Our employees love using our skills to help our clients pursue their passions. Learn more: www.kuv.io  

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