Over the past few months or so, I’ve had the luxury to work and travel at the same time, and it’s become clear to me how important it is to make sure it is balanced. Managing life and work while at home is hard enough, with my to-do list often longer than I’d care to admit, so managing it while traveling abroad is something of a fine art. Luckily, today’s technology makes it easier than ever to stay connected to your inbox, your social media, as well as your loved ones when you’re exploring the world. With just a smartphone and a Wifi (or 4G!) connection you have an office wherever you are in the world.
So, the next time you travel, try out these tips to enjoy a healthy work/life balance.
First, the practicalities.
Take Advantage of Free WiFi.
As a group of bloggers who need to constantly be updating our social media, snapchats, blogs etc – while in Costa Rica as a Piz Buin sun ambassador we became experts at seeking out free WiFi. 3G was non existent, so finding restaurants, bars, coffee shops and hotels with WiFi became second nature. So have your emails pre-written and your Instagram posts already edited, so you can click send and publish as soon as you’re connected.
This one is crucial if you’re a blogger or work in social media. Scheduling apps like Hootsuite, Buffer and Hopper are crucial for keeping up your consistency across social medias when travelling – you don’t want to be worrying about keeping your twitter updated while trekking or sunbathing!
Use Apps to Stay Connected.
While it’s lovely to escape when you get away, it’s also important to stay in touch with people you love and care about. Downloading good communication apps like WhatsApp and Skype are great ways to keep connected with friends, family and co-workers, while also saving money – just as long as you are using the free wifi!
Set up your iPhone for International Use.
Thank the lord – we no longer have to have our phones set to ‘Data Roaming Off’ throughout the duration of our travels for fear of roaming charges – as long as you’re careful. You can have your cellular data off, and use WiFi when it’s available without having to pay roaming charges, and there are also a load of options available from different networks. I’m with Vodafone and I can set up Eurotraveller when travelling in the EU – it’s £3 a day and means I use my 4G and calls and minutes just like I do at home. Other networks like T-Mobile have plans that offer free roaming and international data from dozens of further afield countries.
Other Ways to Find WiFi.
If you aren’t having much luck finding WiFi around you and need to get work done, you can use your phone as a WiFi hotspot. Make sure your phone plan allows for tethering, which is what carriers call using a smartphone to connect other devices to the internet. Most iPhones let you do this easily with the ‘Personal Hotspot’ – in fact, i’ll be using it to publish this blog post as I’ll be a WiFi free zone while on safari for a couple of days. Roaming on your phone can be expensive though, so an alternative would be to rent a hotspot – pay for an unlimited data plan for the length of your trip and you can get online anywhere – even on top of Table Mountain or on the beach!
Establish A Routine
Creating a schedule for your day and establishing a routine while travelling is important if you want to manage your time, and ensure a happy work/life balance. Personally I find it hard to relax knowing I’ve got a ton of things to do, so I usually set my alarm for early in the morning (around 6 while on holiday) and take my laptop to the balcony or hotel lobby (WiFi dependant!) and enjoy watching the sun come up while I slurp on coffee, and ensure my posts and emails are on track, ready for the day ahead. By setting aside office hours such as first thing in the morning and perhaps an hour after lunch, it lets you create a schedule, stay on top of tasks, and let your coworkers back home know when they can get in touch with you.
Make Time for Yourself.
Arguably the most important! Travel is incredibly enriching, but it can turn from a relaxing experience into a stressful one very quickly when you add work into the mix. By establishing your routine and working hours, you should have made time to give yourself some TLC and reduce the stress. Using the hotel gym is a great way to shake off any stress, or better yet, get outside and explore your surroundings with a walk, jog, bike ride etc.
Schedule your Offline Time
And remember, the world won’t come to an end if you don’t check your inbox / instagram notifications for a day or two! Just like your 9-5, scheduling your offline time means that when you’re not working, don’t work. You don’t need to make excuses – everyone is entitled to their time off! Set an out of office letting people know you aren’t able to check your email or get back to them for a little while. I like to make mine personal – let my OOO explain where I am. And it’s OK to admit you’re staying in an Eco Lodge in the middle of Gondwana, South Africa with no 4G or WiFi – people that rely on you will appreciate your honesty, and if you don’t check in, they will know why.
And that is it! Managing work and life while travelling the world is easy once you’ve established a good routine and are using your resources. Making time to enjoy your surroundings is more important than ever when you’re travelling, so hopefully with these tips you’ll be able to balance work and life on your next trip. Bon voyage!
In This Post I’m Wearing…
Hat by ASOS
Dress by French Connection
Sunglasses by Quay
Sandals by Accessorize
These photos were taken at the beautiful Ellerman House hotel where we spent our first few nights while in Cape Town.
Do you have any tips for working while travelling? Let me know in the comments below!