• Advice, Lifestyle

The traveling freelancer: tips for working on-the-go!

Your bags are packed. Your passport is in hand. And your project is due in three hours.

Many freelancers find themselves called upon to work as they travel – but with distracting logistics and temptations involved, it can be hard to focus. Below are a few tips for those who work even as they move!

Do Double-Duty

Unless you are traveling via long-distance run – and if so, we are all super-impressed – odds are you’ll be spending a lot of traveling time sitting down: on planes, on trains, in automobiles. Some of that time is wisely spent staring out windows, looking at beautiful vistas or chatting with travel companions! Don’t cheat yourself of that time.

But when you’re rattling away on a Greyhound bus at night, or stuffed in an aisle seat while flying, it’s a good opportunity to get some work done.

It’s very easy to get tempted away from work by an in-flight movie, or a cheap Bloody Mary paired with airline peanuts. But Bad Boys II will still be around after you land.

Regarding traveling perks as REWARDS really helps to get freelancing business done. If you take some (not all! All is for humorless robots! You are also allowed to enjoy yourself!) of your travel time as an opportunity to be productive, you get to treat yourself!

Use being stuck in a two-foot space on a cramped metal tube as “enforced focus” – stay away from electronic and snacky tempters until you can really enjoy them.

All that motionless sitting time can get you pretty far, if you make space both for work and for relaxation.

Invest in Connectivity

I hate, hate, hate paying exorbitant fees for web service on airplanes. And yet I’ve done it, in times of need.

You needn’t be connected constantly while traveling – that adds a lot of unnecessary stress to any voyage. But occasionally investing in connectivity is good for both your freelance business and your peace of mind.

I have a “travel laptop” that I use when working on-the-go or remotely; it’s light, portable, and super-speedy. I was hesitant to buy it when I had a perfectly usable (albeit clunkier and older) laptop at home, but the additional connectivity and convenience has paid for itself many times over.

Now, I’m NOT saying you should run out and spend a lot of money on new tech – I happened to have a bit of extra cash at the time, and was traveling frequently enough so a smaller laptop was worth it. But it’s worth spending a bit of time, energy, and (possibly) funds to have some plan for how you will be able to connect to clients, check your inbox, or send your project. It’ll save you stress in times of need.

Inform – but don’t over-inform

Should you tell clients that you’ll be freelancing while traveling?

Eh, it depends. If your availability will be really skewed by a trip, then you should indeed inform a client. If it’ll affect your connectivity, let them know when and how they can reach you. Don’t feel guilty or weird about it – as a freelancer, you have the right to work where you like, and set reasonable boundaries on scheduling!

But a word of caution: don’t over-inform. If you will indeed be working WHILE traveling, don’t create trouble for yourself by telling a client every nitty-gritty detail. They don’t need to know that you banged out their very important proposal while some woman snored next to you on a bus. They shouldn’t be informed that you finished that project while battling hours of jetlag.

Whether or not it’s fair, some clients will automatically resent your-less-than-1000% focus on their work – even if you are, in fact, more focused on a plane than in your own home. Turn out quality work (as I’m sure you do), and it doesn’t matter if you’re traveling or stationary!

Now go, go, go!

Kate Shea Kate Shea lives and works in New York City, where she consumes an inordinate amount of Sriracha daily.