At Kuvio we work remotely and that has given several of our employees the opportunity to take some longer trips around the world. For example, in a few months I will be leaving my home in Boston to live in Latin America for four months. Travel is one of the most exciting parts of our remote structure and our team loves to talk about it, so we have shared our experiences with and compiled a list of tips for anyone who is considering heading out on a remote work travel journey.
Speaking from personal experience, when heading out on a trip, especially a long one, you may feel the urge to pack a lot of stuff (like maybe three suitcases full). But, in reality they likely sell everything you may need at your destination so if you forget something it is not the end of the world. Avoid the hassle of lugging around too much and the crazy airline baggage fees, by editing down your belongings. Pull out everything you would like to bring and then see what you can remove. This is one of my favorite packing lists to reference for long trips.
Another suggestion is to allow yourself to bring one “silly” item and to not feel bad about it. Maybe it’s your lucky snow globe or an impractical pair of shoes. Let this be something that brings you comfort if you begin to miss home.
Finally, think about what you are packing your belongings into. A friends suitcase recently ripped open only hours before her flight and she ended up shuffling all of her items with her in trash bags until she could buy a new one at the airport. If your luggage has been through a lot, you may want to upgrade. When doing so, consider the weight, size, and any special features you may want, like a built in battery pack.
Invest in the tech you are bringing
Before you leave, you want to ensure that your technology is in good working order. When you are at home, it might be easy to interact with tech support or pop down to the Apple store when your laptop stops working. However, while on the road this is sometimes a bit more tricky. Before you leave, do an audit of all of your technology and make any necessary repairs. Depending on where you are headed, you may also want to invest in some new tech like, for example, a personal hotspot.
If you are heading out on a solo trip there are many ways to connect with people in the places you travel. There are online communities to connect digital nomads who want to meet up around the world. Additionally, joining a co-working space in your new city can help you make connections with locals.
If you are nervous about traveling alone, there are also travel programs, like Remote Year, where you travel with a cohort of other remote workers. This type of experience may cost more than doing it on your own, but the networking opportunities and new friends you make could make the journey worth it.
Set a budget
When you are traveling it is natural to want to take in all the food, drinks, sites, and shops of your new home. However, if you aren’t careful this could add up to monthly spending that is much higher than what you are used to back home. Setting a budget before you leave can help you keep unforeseen purchases in check. When setting your budget, consider where you will be located, for example prices in Latin America will be lower than in Europe. You may also want to breakdown the budget into categories for things like food, fun, housing, and side trips so you can remain focused on how much you allocate to each.
Consider time zones
When planning your itinerary, consider what time zones your coworkers are in and how often you will need to meet with them. If your whole team is in EST and you plan a trip to Asia know that you may need to be a bit more flexible with your working hours than if you travelled to the U.K. Depending on the company, this may or may not be a major factor for you, but it is something to think about. When you arrive in a new time zone, it is helpful to let your coworkers know. Slack has a tool that allows you to set your current time zone so that members of your workspace can see it.
Do your research
There is nothing better than the spontaneity that traveling can bring. However since you will be working during your trip, you will want to do some research on your destinations to ensure you are able to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Plan where and how you will connect to wifi and decide where you plan to do the majority of your work. You may also want to create a “bucket list” for each destination so you can prioritize your free time in each location.
Whether you are traveling or not, sometimes life throws unexpected challenges your way and you want to be prepared for this. Travelers' insurance is a good way to protect you and your belongings. While you may be traveling on a budget, this is a fantastic investment considering how quickly bills can add up in a medical emergency or other unforeseen circumstance. Do some research into different companies and types of plans and choose the one that matches your needs depending on the length of your trip and the level of protection you prefer.
See a doctor
It is recommended that you see a doctor before you depart. In addition to a regular physical, they can consult with you about any vaccines that may be recommended for your trip. Plan to have this visit at least 6-8 weeks before you leave so that you have time to get any follow-up dosages you may need.
Before you leave, you should also have a plan for how you will obtain your prescription medications while traveling. Similarly, if you wear contact lenses don’t forget to bring enough to last the journey or create a plan for how you will get your preferred brand on the road.
Get things done
Full disclosure, living in an amazing new place can make it very tempting to let your work slide so you can spend more time exploring. Creating a schedule of when you plan to work, and sticking to it, can help ensure that you are dedicating enough time to your career.
We hope these tips are helpful if you are traveling as a remote worker. Do you have your own favorite travel tip, trick, or gadget? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative. Safe travels.
Kuvio Creative is a remote, innovative web design and development agencies changing the way new websites are built with creative designs and custom development. Learn more at www.kuv.io.
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