Work while traveling (or the so-called working vacations) has become increasingly popular. More and more people are embracing the trend of digital nomadism and combining work with action and adventure. Working overseas enables us to see more of the world and spend more time away from our desks or offices. But can you turn your adventure into a part of your work, and the Earth into your “office”? Read below for some useful tips on how to do it better!
The reality of working while traveling
You love traveling, but at the same time, you have to work. And not all kinds of jobs allow you to work while you are on the road. But if you work a job that allows it, you can enjoy a unique opportunity to travel the world without some essential limits.
However, although working while traveling looks very attractive, it is not as simple and romantic as it seems. Probably you have seen photos of bloggers or IT specialists sitting with their laptops on a fantastic beach drinking some exotic juices.
But I can assure you- most of these photos are fake. It is not impossible to work on the beach, but it is much more difficult than you think. Anyway, you still can work while traveling, but there are much better and smarter ways to do it.
Today, there are a lot of jobs allowing travel. Not just that, some jobs require you to travel (and for some people it can be even more exciting). They can be divided into several categories
These jobs allow you to use your manpower and skills anywhere. They include language teaching or other classes, various kinds of serving, caring for pets or disabled people, etc.
Although you can do these jobs in various countries, cities, villages, or other places while you travel, they have some limits. They are proper only for slow and long travel- you can’t go on a 2-week journey around a country staying only a day or two in one place and teach English. In most cases, they require staying in one place for at least a week, a month, or even a year. And you still have to do these jobs only in certain places (a classroom, a hotel, a farm), not wherever you want.
This type of jobs is literally to work while you are on the road. Examples of moving jobs are musicians on cruise ships, tour guides, or just long-distance drivers or sailors. If you are a musician or other worker on a cruise ship, you get on the vessel and travel on it to the exotic destinations included in its itinerary. And while the vessel floats, you work: play guitar in a band, work in the vessel’s restaurant or even clean the floor. They pay you and you travel to see the world.
Or, if you are a tour guide, you guide a group of people on a bus, talk to them various facts about the destinations they visit entertainingly, and take care of their needs. Again, you can do it on a cruise or a liveaboard tour. In this case, you can even work as a scuba diving instructor. Or, if you guide an adventurous expedition, you can guide them through jungles or mountains and even teach them some survival skills.
A special type of a “moving job” is to be a scientist (or just an assistant of scientists) on a scientific expedition to the harshest places on the Earth. You can travel by ship to Antarctica or some isolated islands like Bouvetoya or Kerguelen.
All of these jobs can be very exciting, but they also have their limits: you have to follow a certain route and itinerary. And probably you have to do it multiple times. It can easily turn into a routine and lose its exciting side.
This is the main type of jobs of the digital nomads. They are software developers, web designers, or just data-inserting clerks. All they need is their laptop- this is their working office. Armed with a laptop, they can almost unlimitedly travel around the world. Or, they can stay at home?
This is a great opportunity for freedom. All they need is some electricity and internet. But it can be a limit. It would be easy if they travel only to “civilized” destinations. However, if they want to go on an expedition in the Amazon or Tibet, they would be in a problem. Yes, there are some solutions (like sun batteries and satellite phones), but it is still difficult.
And finally, their jobs are not travel-related, so they can easily neglect traveling while working on their laptops.
Real travel jobs
Finally, there are jobs where you literally turn your travel into work and work into travel. In other words, your job is to travel. And you travel as a way of working. You can travel without limit and you know that your travel is meaningful, bringing value.
Who works in this way? They are travel bloggers, travel vloggers, travel photographers, travel writers, journalists, or travel influencers. Most of their trips are their own choice- they choose where to go, how long to travel, how to travel, with who to travel, and when to go. Yes, there are exceptions (for example, when they have to present a travel product from a client company), but most of the time they travel freely, and they make money from it to travel more.
Anyway, even they need a balance between working and traveling if they want to turn travel into work.
Useful tips for work while traveling
Again, let’s back to the photo of the guy with a laptop on the beach. As I mentioned, it is quite different from reality. Why?
Imagine his or her time on the beach. Usually, he can work no more than 2 hours, because the laptop’s battery will be drained. At the same time, the sun is strong and it is too hard to see the monitor.
Yes, there are some solutions- he finds a shadow and electricity from a nearby café. And there would be a lot of disturbance around. Can he enjoy the beach? If he wants to go swimming, he has to leave his expensive laptop somewhere in a safe place. Unless he is with a friend who can keep an eye on it. Yes, somehow he can resolve all of these problems, but again, his work would never get the convenience of working in a quiet room.
Anyway, if you don’t want to be limited just in a hotel room with electricity and WiFi, take a look at some tips below.
Make the most of technology
Technology has fuelled a rise in work trips abroad. If you plan to work while you travel, it’s important to take advantage of the tech.
Download apps that will enable you to work remotely seamlessly and use tools to prepare for your trip. If you’ve got a laptop or a Mac, for example, and you need to free up space or improve efficiency, look for the best options for storage cleaners and update existing apps and programs.
Connect with colleagues and clients via social media, email, teleconferencing, and video calls, and use apps to streamline your schedule. If you’ve got everything you need, you can explore a huge range of destinations, including those that are off the beaten track.
Get the best electronic equipment
Use portable chargers to keep devices running while you’re out exploring. You can do some of your tasks only on your laptop, but other tasks can be done on your mobile, so optimize your tasks and schedule! Leave the mobile-friendly tasks for outdoor time. And to do this, equip yourself with a power bank and a cable.
Finally, as mentioned above, your trip can be highly adventurous, like going on a wild expedition in the Amazon, Congo rainforest, Papua, the taiga of Siberia, or Greenland. There is no electricity or mobile signal in most of these areas.
But you still can do your work. You just need a power source, and the best option is to use solar batteries. Another option is a cooking charger- you charge your device with the electricity produced by the fire. And you cook your food at the same time.
Also, buy a satellite phone. Yes, it is a bit expensive and satellite internet is expensive too, but you can do your job.
However, you also need a time balance.
Manage your time
There’s no point in taking a working vacation (working by traveling) if all you’re going to do is work on your laptop. One of the most crucial tasks to undertake before you travel is to manage your schedule. Ideally, you want to have time to discover different places and enjoy activities, experiences, and excursions.
Organize your time so that you can complete work-related tasks and capitalize on opportunities to try different activities and immerse yourself in the culture. If you work in the mornings, for example, you can spend your afternoons exploring different places or going hiking, climbing, mountain biking, or proceeding on your expedition route.
Use local knowledge
Planning an itinerary for a vacation usually involves reading travel guides and guidebooks, checking online reviews, and getting tips from friends, relatives, and colleagues. If you’re keen to avoid tourist hot spots and you want to embrace adventure and steer clear of popular sites, it’s incredibly beneficial to use local knowledge.
Get to know people where you’re staying, use social media to connect with others, and ask for recommendations. You can enjoy hidden gems, escape the crowds and ensure you discover the best the region or area has to offer. As well as getting great ideas for your trip, local insight can also help you to avoid tourist traps.
When you think about work by traveling, it’s common to conjure up images of chic city-center cafes, but you don’t have to be in a bustling metropolis to work abroad. Technology affords us the chance to get off the beaten track and experience adventures away from tourist hot spots.
If you’re keen to escape it all, or you want to combine working with discovering hidden gems or trying new activities, there are ways to make it work. Make the most of modern technology, manage your time and capitalize on local knowledge.
So, if you want to travel and work, there are options. You don’t need to separate work from vacation, but you can combine both in an exciting way of life, mixing your hobby with what is valuable. And if this is your dream, it can be real. Just don’t give up and search, and you can find it.
Hi, we are Krasen and Ying Ying. Krasen is from Bulgaria, and Ying Ying is from China. We are passionate about geography and history, and we believe that the best way to experience it is by exploring the Earth in reality, not in a school, and not virtually.
So, we created this blog Journey Beyond the Horizon, where we share geographical knowledge, travel guides and tips how to experience it when you explore our planet, and a lot of inspiration.
And we wish you a happy journey, not just virtually, but most of all- in reality.