There has been a significant rise in the number of self-employed or remote workers that are choosing to pack their bags and work abroad. What might be startling for some, is that more employers than ever are accepting or even actively encouraging this new style of working. This means that there is a significant part of the workforce that can be more flexible with their schedule , living and working from the comfort of their own home. For many remote workers, this gives them the opportunity to spend more time at home with their family, reduce the time spent commuting to work, or indeed, travel while they work.
Packing up and jetting off to an exotic location for an unspecified amount of time sounds like the stuff of fantasy for most of us, but in reality there are many feasible ways to achieve this and reap the rewards of working remotely. Nonetheless, as well as being incredibly organised and self-motivated, you will also need to have realistic expectations and a pragmatic approach to the new environment you find yourself in.
If you have considered taking a more nomadic approach to your work life, then you should understand what this might mean for you. Of course, there will be many personal factors to consider before you make the decision to pack your laptop into a carry-on and board a plane, but there are also significant arguments that should be considered before you make this move. Below we have listed several of the main benefits of working abroad, as well as some of the things you will need to consider and watch out for.
Benefits of Working Abroad:
You can explore wonderful destinations
The thrill of exploring new places is one of the biggest reasons people choose to travel while working remotely. You can decide to work from wherever you like (taking into consideration the time zones), and with the world more connected than ever before, moving around and staying in touch with people is so much easier than even ten years ago. Working abroad or even in a different city gives you the opportunity to get a feel for a place which you wouldn’t be able to do if it was a holiday.
A learning curve
Immersing yourself in another culture is a hugely enriching experience which will provide you with an understanding of humans and sociability that no other experience could give to you. You will meet people from all kinds of backgrounds who will be able to impart some of their world-views to you, and you will hopefully be able to do the same for them. Learning about other people is one benefit of travelling, and you will also find yourself becoming more resourceful and capable of dealing with a wide range of often unexpected situations.
Saving on your travels
Working when you are travelling means that you can have some of the benefits of a holiday or sabbatical, but you don’t have to feel the same economic pressure.. Unlike many travellers who use their savings to get around the globe, you will not have to worry about a diminishing bank balance as you can pay your way through various cities or countries. Indeed, you may even find you save money, particularly if you spend time in countries with a lower cost of life. The money you spend on commuting, lunch, coffee etc, is likely to be much less if you are living in, say, South East Asia, for example. Another bonus, and money saving hack, is choosing to wear whatever you are most comfortable in, or dressing appropriately when conferencing.
Better balance between work life and personal life
This is true if you can switch off from your work. Giving yourself a plan that you stick to will help you to structure your work/life balance. The good thing about working while you travel is that, if you stick to a good working routine, you will be able to spend more time doing the things you like and visiting the places you want to go to. Getting to decide where you will work from is a huge plus, and means you can work around your own interests and hobbies.
Things to Consider:
Prepare for the worst
Having poor wifi or a stolen laptop will make working that day very difficult indeed! Get good insurance and an understanding employer! If you work for yourself, you will probably have more flexibility, but there may be other people relying on you or deadlines that you have given yourself. Additionally, making sure you are aware of your tax requirements and deadlines, and are keeping on top of this with the help of an accountant at home, will make things so much easier for you. Even if you are an incredibly organised and resourceful individual, you are likely to find yourself in a situation that puts a stop to your work. If your work requires you to meet deadlines or be online at certain times during the day, then you may have to consider only travelling to places that have reliable internet access and carry a smaller electronic device such as an I-Pad.
Adjusting may be hard
When you don’t have to go in and out of an office setting it can be difficult to set yourself clear boundaries when it comes to your working hours and your hours. If you are a workaholic, it can be all too easy for you to work long or unsociable hours when your desk is wherever you want it to be. This may mean that you will not enjoy your travels as much as if you had a better routine with clear cut working hours or if you simply took a holiday from work where you could better engage with the travelling experience. Only you know what works for you.
When travelling from place to place, you will have to go through the process of finding a new home each time or staying in a hostel or a hotel. This can often be quite stressful and may make it difficult for you to properly settle or feel comfortable in this new environment, which in turn may impact your work. Renting a property is an excellent way to avoid the repetitiveness of hotel rooms, particularly if you are staying in a city or country for a longer period. Fortunately, It is easier than ever to find accommodation wherever you are in the world, using property rental websites.
Keeping yourself safe
There are a lot of potential dangers to watch out for when you are travelling, particularly when you are taking electronic devices with sensitive information on them. You need to consider if your job is suitable for work on the road and if you or your employer can risk having things lost or stolen. Certain countries are more dangerous than others, and if you are a solo traveller, you need to be aware of potential risks and take suitable preventive measures to keep yourself safe. Always let someone know where you will be travelling to, and providing them with an address of the accommodation your will be staying in for your personal safety, and ensure that your laptop or electronic device you carry with you is password protected and cannot easily be hacked or stolen.