Work While Traveling Abroad
Is it possible for me to do my work that remotely?
YES—very possible. If you have a profession, job or skill that is currently being performed on a computer or telephone, then you are a good candidate for the life of a nu nomad. (But don’t start packing your laptop and toothbrush just yet.)
First of all, you need to prepare yourself. You should have already established a service or work record that you could build upon. [See Traveling with your Established Source of Income.] If you are fresh out of school or have a dead-end job that cannot be performed by computer, by phone/telephony, or taken with you, then it is very likely that you’ll need to re-train yourself. [See Professional Possibilities.] If, however, you’re skills are in place and you just need to land a new gig, check out our Working Remotely Jobs page.
So, you have an established source of income that can be taken mobile? How do you begin to make your dream into a reality? Here are some preliminary tips to start having adventures while you continue to support yourself:
- Remember that the more time spent in preparation up front, the less time you will spend in anxiety when your trip happens. Begin early – preferably more than 6 months if you’re planning for a long voyage – in planning as many details of your mobile office as possible.
- Start small. If you have never worked from the road before, do a couple practice trips first. Take a 1/2 week vacation within your country of origin. Get a feel for what equipment you need/don’t need, how to find internet connections on the road, etc. Also get a feel for how you need to prepare your clients for your mobility.
- Keep in mind peripheral activities needed to maintain your income. For instance, you will not only need to service your clients, but you will also need to be able to bill them, pay your own bills, maintain any licensure requirements, etc. If you are providing a professional service such as coaching or counseling by phone or internet, consult your insurance provider to understand their policies for practicing out of state.
- If you intend to stay out of the country for an extended period of time, learn about tax requirements in your country of origin as well as in your hosting country before you go. You are on the cutting edge of a new workforce trend. Policies may be unclear.
- Will you travel alone or with others/family? If you intend to travel with others, think about what they will be doing while you work. Do you need to set up child care? What will your spouse do with their time? You wouldn’t expect your seven-year old to sit in your office while you work all day – it won’t be different on the road.
The presentation of your travel plans to clients will be important. Be sure to send a message of reliability and consistency. Clients will want to know that you will be as accessible to them as you have always been and that they will receive high quality service. If you have already been serving them via the internet or telephone then your own travel should have a minimal effect on their experience. However, if you have been serving clients in person, the transition to telephone/internet will be more difficult. Consider transitioning to these methods first to establish your reliability for some time before you begin traveling.
Your Mobile Office
The bottom line
Take advantage of 3 things:
- The ability to telecommute via the Internet
- The fact that you are coming from a well-paying country, work that can be done away from the expensive city.
- The lower costs of living abroad in developing countries or rural areas.