Posts Tagged ‘telecommuting’

Working While Traveling

Wednesday, August 19th, 2009


I am lucky to be a telecommuter. I can work wherever I am, which is completely awesome. I moved to Buenos Aires, but decided to skip the winter and spend summer in California with my Mom. We drove up to visit my brother and drove back. And I’ve been working the whole time. There are some things I’ve learned about being a digital nomad, as it were:

  • Paper doesn’t need batteries. While traveling from place to place, it’s a good idea to have important phone numbers, confirmation numbers, etc. on paper. I love technology as much as the next person, but while you might feel clever by emailing yourself everything, iphones can go dead, you can forget power cords, and wifi connections can go down. A 3×5 card is super efficient.
  • Remember the plug adapters. Your computer will be rendered useless unless you can plug it in and charge it. So write a big note on your forehead.
  • Have a back-up plan for Internet access. Many hotels say they have wifi online, but don’t when you show up, especially in South America. Have a back-up plan. In Buenos Aires, this isn’t typically a problem, because there are plenty of cafes with wifi and locutorios where you can pay for access by the hour if you are really in a pinch.
  • Have web-accessible email, and email yourself copies of everything. If something goes wrong with your computer, you can salvage a lot of data if you have emailed it to yourself through Google mail, or some other such service. They haven’t lost tons of data yet, and I doubt their data is as vulnerable to emergencies as mine.
  • Be prepared for variables such as heat and noise. If you are used to working in a comfortable quiet environment, don’t take it for granted when you are going to work somewhere else. Bring layered clothing, earplugs, or at least earphones to put on some music.
  • Plan to rest. Don’t assume you will be able to get into a hotel after a long flight and work a full day. Schedule in time off to catch up on your sleep. You are going to be less productive on travel days, so plan for it.

Those are all the important tips I can think of. I would love to hear from others who work and travel as well. What works for you?

Julia Evans wrote this article for where she blogs about her life as an expat.  She also writes a personal blog Evans’ Gate about living as an American expat in Buenos Aires, where she lives with her husband.  Comments on both blogs welcome!

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