If you’re lucky enough to be able to travel long-term with your children without having to work, that’s awesome! But for the rest of us, we probably need to be doing some sort of work on the road. Because of the type of business I have, I’ve done everything from accounts, building websites, Zoom meetings, managing staff, editing videos and everything in-between, all while traveling.
Here are my top 11 tips for remote working while traveling with kids.
- Decide. Are you on holiday, or are you simply working in a different place? I.e. is travel your main priority and can your work suffer as a result? Or is work your first priority, and then you’re fitting some travel around that? If you can decide first, you shouldn’t feel guilty. If work is your priority then you won’t feel bad about not seeing absolutely everything in the place that you’ve gone to.
- Wherever you go, get good internet. This is absolutely crucial. If you struggle to get connected you’ll be stressed out with work and won’t even enjoy the trip. Make sure that there’s good Wi-Fi wherever you’re staying, or that you can get good mobile signal for a hotspot. If you’re using public networks I’d recommend a VPN for security.
- Make sure you can get some sort of focus time away from the kids, in a quiet space. I have been known to use a large closet, and even a bathroom, just to get some peace and quiet while drafting an email. Cafes are good. If nothing else, headphones also work.
- Don’t ignore your posture. If you’re still seriously working, make sure your workspace is suitable. The classic picture of a remote worker lying on a beach with a laptop is the worst. The glare of the sun is terrible on the screen, and you’ll have a bad neck in no time. Use tables, boxes or whatever else you can find to make sure the screen is eye level and that your separate keyboard and mouse are at a comfortable height.
- Back up everything regularly. Don’t rely just on online backups, use an external hard drive as well. Be ready to work even when offline, and be ready to switch devices in case something happens.
- Your equipment will get a beating. Travel isn’t that good for laptops, keyboards or anything else. Get the best protective cases or bags that you can.
- A time zone change isn’t necessarily bad. You can be more productive when everything has to wait a few hours, and if you’re in the complete opposite time zone you get to enjoy your day with your kids.
- Having less time to work means more prioritizing. You’ll be forced to work on what really matters and you’ll quickly lose anything that was just filling time.
- Set colleague’s expectations before you leave. You simply won’t be as responsive as you normally would. Make sure they know that there may be a delay.
- Be careful not to try to do everything on the road. I find travel hugely inspiring and I always have lots of great ideas while doing it. But the key is to focus on what you can achieve right now. If you have a great idea, write it down and start it when you’re back in the office. Don’t start anything new on the road.
- Take is slower. Settle in to each place you visit. You’ll feel more connected, it’ll be easier to work and you’ll enjoy it more.
You do get used to working on the road pretty quickly. Sometimes I still miss my proper stand up desk, but the benefits far outweigh being stuck in an office.
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I wrote a book on how to travel with kids: https://bit.ly/twkbook