Most of us have barriers that stop us from traveling the world. For a start, there’s money – we need money to get live, after all. Then there’s the responsibility of having a career, a home, car payments, and everything else. While it can usually feel like a choice between working and traveling, there are plenty of people who are now managing to do both. The ‘digital nomad’ lifestyle means that people are able to work for themselves, forge careers while still being able to see the world.
While it sounds like the ideal compromise, working while traveling is not easy. There are a lot of lessons to learn, and you’re going to need a lot of help to make sure you get it right.
Think the nomad lifestyle could be for you? Here are some top tips to help make working while traveling work for you.
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Get into the habit before you depart
Not everyone is suited to the freelance lifestyle. It takes a lot of discipline and bravery to make the leap and unfortunately, not everyone is cut out for it. If you want to know if freelancing is right for you, then try it at home first. Give it some time alongside your current job to see if you can establish clients, develop good habits and make it work. It’s better that you feel confident and capable as a freelancer before you set off to travel the world.
Use planning tools to help you stay on top of your workload
Once you’re out of the office environment, it can be difficult to stay on top of things. With nobody there to make you accountable, it’s up to you to keep control of your workload and make sure that you hit your deadlines. To help you stay on top of things, you could try using online planning tools to help you stay on top of your calendar, tasks and appointments. When you’re on the move, organization is key, and these types of tools will help you work out everything you need to do and keep it all under control.
Communicate regularly with your clients
Working while traveling can be tricky, especially because of the difference in time zones. It’s important that you communicate regularly with your clients so that you can keep them informed of progress and let them know when you’re going to be unavailable. While part of the fun of traveling should be spontaneous, it can be difficult when you’ve got to work too. Planning ahead can make it easier to manage client expectations and make sure you’re in control of your workload.
Decide on your working pattern
Sticking to a working pattern is one of the most difficult things about working for yourself, and it’s even more difficult when you’re traveling. It’s up to you to decide on your working pattern, but setting regular hours could help you settle into a routine, no matter where you are. Getting an early start is a good way to get things done. By the time everyone else is up and ready, you’ll be able to get on with the rest of your day knowing your work has been taken care of.
Try working in a cafe or somewhere quiet where there’ll be few distractions. This will help with your productivity so that you can get ahead and not have to deal with last-minute deadlines!
Don’t make it all about work
The beauty of being able to work while traveling is that you get to travel without having to worry about money constantly. But it’s easy to let work take over and stop you from enjoying the fun elements of your situation. Switching off from work is easier said than done, especially when you’re freelance, but it will become more natural eventually. Once your work is done for the day, put your out of office on and enjoy yourself. There are so many fantastic experiences to enjoy when traveling, so make sure you make the most of them.
Separate your finances
Managing your finances while traveling is difficult enough, it becomes even tricker when faced with freelancing and your income too. To help you keep control of things, it’s better to separate your finances. Set up an account for your freelance business which all of your invoices are paid into, and then pay yourself a reasonable salary from what comes in. By not having it directly in your personal account, you’ll be less tempted to spend it and can make sure that all of your taxes, savings and other business expenses are taken care of.
Get clever with your invoicing
When you first start out as a freelancer, knowing how much to charge can be difficult. Once you’ve agreed on your hourly rate, you’ll need to establish what’s fair to bill people. Working out the time spent on different projects can be an easy way to manage this. A tool like a time clock can help you establish how much time has been allocated to different clients, allowing you to bill accordingly. Check out the 10 best time clocks for small businesses in 2020 to help you find a suitable tool. Remember to invoice on time and with clear payment terms for your clients to help you avoid delays and problems with your cash flow.
Keep on top of your expenses
While working away from home might seem like it incurs few expenses, you could be surprised at how quickly your business expenses pile up. The cost of your equipment, software subscriptions, insurances, etc. can all mount up, so make sure you track your spend ready to file your tax return at the end of the year. Take a look at some apps that help you scan and log receipts to help you keep track of all of your business spending.
Learn how to live with less
Even though you’re working while traveling, you’ll still need to stick to a budget. Freelance income can be sporadic or irregular, and while one month you could earn a lot, other months could be very quiet. It’s better to learn to live with less so that any additional money you have come in is a bonus. Some simple tips for reducing your costs when traveling include:
- Booking flights and accommodation in advance to save money where possible.
- Fill up on breakfast and take advantage of supermarkets and street food for cheap lunches.
- Take a look at local deals to see if you can find a bargain at a recommended restaurant.
- Take water with you, and look up places that could help you fill up as needed throughout the day.
- Research travel cards and other discounts such as city tickets to help you save money on regular travel and attractions.
- Speak with the locals, they could help you find some amazing spots that are off the tourist trail and therefore cost a lot less.
Being able to work while traveling allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds. You’ll be able to keep up your career while moving from place to place, experiencing everything the world has to offer. While it can be a struggle to manage both, there are plenty of people out there making it work. It’s the perfect antidote to stressful office life and means you can travel comfortably without being worried about your finances. Think you could live life as a ‘digital nomad’? Start looking into it, and soon it could be you making a living while seeing the world!