So, you’re a freelancer – or maybe you want be one. If you’ve ever looked at my Instagram feed (@fictionallyfree or #twowanderlusts), you’ve probably noticed that I travel. A lot. At least a three-day trip to somewhere I’ve never been, once every two weeks, and almost always involving rock climbing.
In my opinion, the freedom to travel whenever and wherever you like is the ultimate perk to freelancing, and one that freelancers really should take advantage of more often.
But there are tricks to the art; here’s how to get away with an impromptu excursion, without losing your clients or spending all of your “vacation time” working.
Upgrade Your Phone Plan to Include Hotspot
I put this at the top because I think it’s arguably the most important to freelance-travel-sanity.
Whenever you’re on the road or heading to a new place, you never know when your next internet opportunity is going to pop up, and while cafe-hopping can be fun, only being able to work while in a coffee shop or library can not only suck your time, but your wallet dry as well buying all those lattes.
Freelancing is all about having flexibility, so make sure you actually have the freedom to work whenever and wherever you are by upgrading your phone plan to include a hotspot. That way, whenever you have a spare moment, simply turn on your cellular and work away until it’s time to move onto the next fun thing on your trip.
Don’t forget to bring car chargers and give yourself plenty of hotspot data on your plan!
Plan Your Working Times
When I first started traveling, I can’t tell you how many times I made big plans to stay on top of my workload, only to fall victim to the enticing fun of going on adventure after adventure, before I finally looked up and realized just how behind I was.
And cramming like its final exams all over again when you’re in a beautiful vacation spot, is not fun.
If you’re gonna work on the road, you need to be able to do just that: work literally in your car, on the road, as you’re driving to your next destination (only if you have a spouse or friend to drive for you, obviously). Not only does it utilize time that would otherwise be spent scrolling on social media, but it greatly prevents you from missing out on the actual trip once you get there.
Traveling solo? Block out a couple hours each morning or evening – depending on when you work best – to get your work done, distraction free. Seclude yourself to your hotel room or a cafe if you have to, but the point is to bust out as much work as possible to free up the rest of your day for adventuring.
Schedule in Advance with Your Clients
Depending on the type of work you do, a bit of scheduling might be necessary before you hit the road.
First off, always be sure to let your client know that you’ll be traveling over the next few days, as they can then have the opportunity to either extend or lessen your workload, or are slightly more prepared in the face of any unforeseen emergencies that might arise (I’ve had my car broken into once while on the road, and the thief made off with my phone, wallet, and laptop, setting me back on work for a couple days until I could find replacements).
Secondly, be sure to alert them that while you fully intend on continuing work while you’re gone, communication might be a little more spotty than usual. If necessary, schedule dates that you know you’ll be in a town or hotel for deadlines and phone/video calls – that way both of you know exactly what is expected and when, cutting out the annoying middleman of extra communication that can be tricky when traveling.
Lists, Lists, Lists
If you’re a scatterbrain like me, then work and entering the relax zone of travel, do not mix – especially when you leave the focus-driven atmosphere of your home office, where all your usual business tools are at your fingertips.
Before you hit the road, make sure you write out a comprehensive work to-do list for yourself including deadlines, notes on the project needed, client information, even the occasional email screenshot for working offline.
Believe me when I say that there’s nothing nicer than smoothing that transition from work to play when on “vacation”, while giving yourself that extra focus boost can go to save you time that could have been spent exploring.
Utilize Your Surroundings
I’ve always found that my best work was that done on a hotel balcony, driving in the car with my husband while rocking out to John Mayer, or typing away to the quiet of a campfire’s crackle under the stars.
As long as you’re focused on your work, traveling in the meantime can be just the thing to inspire you to greatness!
Pay attention to what happens throughout your day, and take notes on what you want to remember. Let your interactions with the new people you meet fuel you into your work later, or even introduce a bit of light networking into your conversations and the places you go. Blog about your experiences and get excited over them!
Traveling is a great way for you to connect with new people, learn more about yourself, build new audiences, and reclaim your passion for your business and your life. So, don’t be afraid to utilize that fully towards your freelancing advantage!