Freelancing is one of the fastest-growing means of earning a living in the United States. A 2017 survey conducted by Upwork and Freelancers Union suggests that there are now more than 57 million people making a living as freelancers. That accounts for about 36% of the American workforce.
There are a lot of things to love about freelancing, among them being the ability to work and travel simultaneously. Freelancers involved in sectors that primarily utilize computers and the internet to get things done are ideal candidates for this sort of life. For example, a freelance writer with a laptop and an internet connection can work from anywhere in the world.
The one downside to simultaneously traveling and working is the difficulty of staying focused enough to remain productive. Travel entails a lot of distractions that can easily steal a freelancer time. The good news is that freelancers don’t have to be controlled by those distractions. With the right strategies in place, they can remain productive while simultaneously traveling and working remotely.
7 Strategies for Maintaining Productivity While Traveling and Working Remotely
If you’re going to travel and work remotely at the same time, you need to have a plan in place. That plan should include a number of strategies that will keep you from being distracted when you’re supposed to be working. Seven such strategies are listed below. Remember an old adage as you read them: failing to plan is planning to fail.
1. Establish a Base of Operations
Avoiding distraction is a matter of setting boundaries. As such, one of the first things to do is establish a base of operations. Whether you’re working remotely overseas or just in the next state over, a base of operations is a workspace separate from the rest of your environment. It gives you a place to go where you can concentrate on work.
2. Establish Defined Work Hours
Your decision to work remotely and travel should not translate into less time spent working unless you’re capable of still generating the level of income you need to pay your bills. To avoid working fewer hours than you should, clearly define the number of hours you need to work in a given week in order to meet your obligations and generate sufficient revenue. Then stick to those defined hours.
3. Invest in Technology
Freelancers who know how to work remotely while continually keeping clients happy also know enough to invest in technology. It’s worth spending extra on a good laptop, a good smartphone, and the software necessary to do what you do. Also, make sure you are connected to the right platforms including Skype, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. They are your lifeline to communicating with current and future clients.
4. Establish Multiple Payment Options
One of the most difficult aspects of freelancing, especially when you’re working remotely overseas, is ensuring you get paid in a timely manner. You can help your cause considerably by establishing multiple payment options your clients can choose from. Payment services like PayPal and Google Pay are good options. You can also work with clients to arrange for electronic fund transfers (EFTs) directly to your bank account.
5. Make Use of Goals and Milestones
With every new project you take on, establish a series of goals and milestones that will act as a guide to get you from start to finish. Goals and milestones will keep you on track even when the allure of your remote location is tempting you to ditch work in favor of play. If you attach payments to your milestones, you’ll have even more incentive to stay productive.
6. Keep Your Ideas in One Place
Many freelancers are pursuing a self-driven creative career. Ideas, pictures, videos, articles for inspiration are some things that come out of your journey. It is best that you try to be more organized by keeping those inspirations and brilliant ideas in a single place with any productivity apps and add-ons of your choice. Choose an app that syncs data in your storage on multiple devices. This tip can help you stay creative and productive.
7. Use Layovers to Your Advantage
Rather than trying to have a back-to-back connection of each flight through your journey, try to embrace some time gap in the layovers instead. If another flight departs immediately as you arrive, you might think you’ve shortened the time spent between flights, but you’re more likely to get into a big mess.
It’s recommended that you give yourself a good 50-60 minutes following each segment of your flight. You’ll see that you’ll not only give yourself time in case of delays, but you will provide yourself with a good amount of time to ‘focus’ on work. You’re not going to complete your work at one sitting, but 50-60 minute sessions might be sufficient to actually focus and get some tasks done.
The Best Warm Places to Live and Work
Freelancers who work remotely and travel at the same time have a tendency to seek out the warm weather. As long as you’re going to travel, you might just as well travel to places with whether favorable enough to allow you to enjoy getting out and doing things on your off time. To that end, aside from these top and well-known cities to work remotely, here’s a list of some of the best warm places to live and work:
Koh Samui, Thailand
Koh Samui is the second largest island in Thailand, Chumphon Archipelago. It is located off the east coast of the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand. Koh Samui boasts plenty of sunshine, pristine beaches, and ocean breezes. It is ideal for freelancers because it is a very budget friendly island with plenty of accommodations at multiple levels.
Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, Spain
The Canary Islands are known for their stunning beaches and warm climate. Las Palmas is the capital of Gran Canaria island and the fifth-largest Spanish city by population. Though it can be difficult to find English speakers in Las Palmas, freelancers can get by with a Spanish dictionary and a few introductory phrases. You’ll need a good data plan as free wi-fi can be sketchy.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Kuala Lumpur is Malaysia’s official capital, so you know it is a modern city with all of the amenities you need to be productive. It also features a tropical climate. It offers plenty of sunshine and warm temperatures throughout the year, though the summer months include daily rainstorms.
The lone U.S. city on our list is Tampa, Florida. Tampa sits on the Gulf of Mexico and is one of the most up-and-coming cities in the country. There is a lot to love about living and working here, including excellent nightlife and an abundance of outdoor activities. Also, note that Florida has no state income tax. Even if you stay more than three months, you’ll only be paying federal taxes on your income.
You now know a little bit more about how to work remotely without losing productivity to your desire to travel. If you are a freelancer capable of working anywhere you can find an internet connection, you might consider doing some traveling while you develop your career. Simultaneously traveling and working is a great way to see the world while you’re earning a good living as a freelancer.
Do you work and travel at the same time? Any tips you would like to add to our list? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.