Work While You Travel: 6 Tips on How to Become a Digital Nomad

Thanks to how flexible and adaptable current working environments are, the millennial generation has seen the rise of “digital nomads.” These are people who can earn from virtually anywhere they are currently at, as long as they’re equipped with a laptop and internet connectivity. Indeed, there are currently many types of work that can be done remotely even while one is traveling for week-long, month-long, or even year-long periods. These include content writing, blogging, graphic design, photography, virtual assistance, transcription, computer programming, and web development. It’s also easy to maintain consultancy services or to run an ecommerce store, all from one’s laptop or phone. Freelancers and business owners can get pretty creative about their work arrangements when they want to satisfy their wanderlust!

If your dream is to travel around the globe and take your work with you, the digital nomad lifestyle awaits. This could be your chance to grow your career at the very same time that you grow your cultural horizons. The secrets to being successful as a digital nomad are foresight, preparation, and a readiness to adapt to your surroundings. That said, here are six tips that will make it easy and comfortable to work while you travel!

Pay Attention to Your Money Matters

Your personal finances should be among the first things you attend to before you go jet-setting to other places. After all, you still have personal bills to pay and income streams to manage—in addition to traveling, accommodation, and food expenses. How will you ensure that your personal funds are accessible all the time, even where you’re a good distance from the nearest bank?

Filipino fintech company Maya has an all-around online payment suite that you can use wherever you are in the Philippines or the world. If you regularly remit money to your family members, you can keep up the habit while away from home using Maya Send Money. To continue to pay your home utility or telecom bills on time, there’s Maya Bills Payment. And for foreign transactions made through VISA or MasterCard, you can use Maya’s Virtual Card or link your physical card to the Maya app. If you’re in an establishment that allows you to pay through QR code, you can also use Maya’s Scan-to-Pay QR code scanner.

Just be sure to keep track of your finances and be aware of any additional fees that you’ll have to pay. Otherwise, managing your money remotely will be a breeze.

Stay Connected Everywhere You Go

Even though a digital nomad aims to work virtually anywhere, and from any place, they will need one thing to be able to do so: connectivity to the internet. Without a means to connect, there’s no way to upload your work or send emails to clients or business partners. It’ll also be hard to keep in touch with loved ones outside of work, or to stay up-to-date with what’s happening in the world.

To make sure there’s no gap in your connectivity, you will definitely want to find reliable means to access mobile data or Wi-Fi in the places you’re traveling to. Luckily, there’s a lot of planning for this that you can do ahead. You can call your hotel or hostel to inquire if they have in-house Wi-Fi and to ask how far it reaches or how much of the property is covered. If it’s not free, you can ask them how much the service will cost you and calculate how much you will have to spend. For some added convenience, you can also rent or buy a pocket WiFi device. In some countries, these are readily available at the airport or in local shops. Alternatively, you can also rent one of these devices online and have it delivered to your place before you leave.

Pack Light—Bring Only the Things That Matter

When balancing work and travel, you have to be both extra mobile and extra adaptable. You’ll have a hard time moving from place to place, settling down, and packing up all over again if you bring too much stuff. That’s why it’s important to uphold the minimalist traveler’s philosophy of always packing light.

Plan what you’ll need to bring for work, leisure, and everyday use. You can start by assembling a small, but complete workstation that you can take anywhere you go. Pack other accessories that will help you stay powered, like a universal travel adapter and power bank. Bring clothes items that you can reuse often, are easy to wash, and conducive to the weather of the places you’ll visit. And lastly, pack all of these in a luggage that’s hardy, secure, spacious, and easy to transport. Doing all of these will certainly level you up from the novice digital nomad you currently are to the ultimate jet-setting digital professional.

Put Some Structure into Your Work Schedule

Back at home, you may have been conditioned to be productive around certain schedules, environments, and routines. You may have worked from 8:00AM to 5:00PM from your own desk in a corporate office. But free of all the things you originally needed to get the job done, will you still be productive?

The answer is, you definitely can be. Just add a little bit of structure to your work routine in the way that works best for you. Designate certain hours in the day just for work and assign log-in, log-out, and break times for yourself. Find a place to set up your mobile workstation, like a café or quiet corner of your room, where it’s easy for you to concentrate. It’s often hard to get used to working while traveling, and at first, you may feel disoriented or distracted by your new environment. But once you get the hang of it and establish a new work rhythm for yourself, you’ll be able to accomplish everything you need to.

Be Prepared for Any Emergencies That Can Happen

Keep in mind that it isn’t always smooth sailing when you’re out traveling. You may be on the receiving end of a logistical nightmare, or you might get sick or injured. These problems are already rather frightening to deal with when you’re on a regular employment basis in your home country. So what more while you’re a digital nomad?

If you’re traveling to another locality in the Philippines, touch base with a friend or family member who lives in the area. Ask them if they can be your emergency contact in case anything happens while you are away from home. The same goes for if you’re traveling to a foreign country and you have contacts there. If you don’t, compile important numbers and addresses like that of your hotel or hostel, the nearest hospital and police station, and the Philippine embassy.

It could very well be that nothing disastrous will happen while you’re out traveling. But it will do much good for your peace of mind and for your productivity if you are prepared for the worst.

Plan Around Both Work and Fun to Maximize the “Digital Nomad” Experience

Finally, remember why it is that you chose a work-and-travel arrangement. You probably wanted more opportunities to relax, get to know new places and new cultures, and have fun even while managing your career.

That said, make good on your promise to have a work-life balance and to enjoy things you wouldn’t be able to enjoy at home. Make time in your work schedule to hit the mountains or the beach, to visit cultural landmarks, and to socialize with locals and other travelers. This will bring you the fulfillment you were looking for all along.

Safe travels to you while you embark on the journey to becoming a digital nomad. May the lifestyle keep you productive, happy, and excited for new things!

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