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How to Become a Productive Traveling Freelancer
Working as a freelancer has grown exponentially with the advent of the Internet and this trend just keeps on going. Being a freelancer means you have the ability to choose where you work. Whether that is at home, at a coffee shop or a co-working space, being productive is a common goal of every freelancer.
Many freelancers have adopted a digital nomad lifestyle which allows them to work online and travel the world at the same time. This type of lifestyle has many benefits and is becoming increasingly popular among freelancers.
Working while traveling the world not only allows you to meet people from different countries and visit beautiful locations, but it also gives you an opportunity to save money by living in places with a significantly lower cost of living, learn new languages and boost your creativity and productivity.
However, to make the most of this lifestyle, you need to take these six basic steps which will ensure you become a productive freelancer who works online and experiences the world at the same time.
1. Think With Mobility in Mind
If you have been a freelancer for some time, you probably have a desktop computer in your home office. You may love that computer at home, but it's completely useless when you’re traveling.
To stay mobile, you will need a laptop and preferably a tablet. You might use your laptop for most of the day, and switch to your tablet when you're on the run or in case your laptop fails for some reason.
There are flash drives and specialized computer programs that can give you the power to use data across all of these platforms in a seamless manner. That spreadsheet on the laptop can be accessed on your tablet with the right software involved. Don't forget to backup your data with an external hard drive or specialized apps so that your data doesn’t get lost.
2. Gather the Proper Accessories
Outfitting your devices is just the beginning of being productive. You’ll need the right travel accessories too. You'll need a laptop case at the bare minimum, which can hold your computer and any additional devices.
If you plan on taking shorter trips, try to purchase carry-on luggage that can hold up to four or five days of clothing. This bag can be placed in the overhead compartments on a plane while you keep your laptop case under your seat. Being productive includes skipping the checked-luggage area that takes considerable time away from your trip.
Make sure you also invest in a pair of sneakers that you’ll feel comfortable wearing when you run around the airport or go sightseeing at your destination.
3. Download the Right Apps
Nowadays, there’s an app for almost anything and many apps have been created specifically for traveling freelancers. You can download apps that can help you organize your trip, book flights and accommodation, remind you of your schedule, and find safe transportation at your destination.
If you’re traveling to unknown countries, or even planning on doing some outdoor activities for the first time, you will greatly benefit from packing apps. For example, if you are going sailing you will need to know what to bring on board and packing apps can give you a list of suggestions when you enter your desired location and activity.
Other apps can help you stay productive and organized in your work by allowing you to manage your projects, stay in contact with your clients and collect payments.
If you have limited data on your cell phone, download an app that helps you find local Wi-Fi hotspots. Being left without an Internet connection is entirely unproductive, and it might reflect poorly on you from a client's perspective. Mixing free Wi-Fi with your data can give you the necessary boost to stay on top of your work schedule.
4. Rely on the Cloud
Imagine if your laptop got lost or stolen during your travels. All of your data saved on the hard drive would be lost. This scenario happens too often, but you can avoid it by saving your data to the cloud.
Pick a cloud service that works for your particular needs. Backup all of your data to the cloud each day so that it's accessible from nearly any location. You might lose the hardware's value in severe cases, but your data can be replaced by simply visiting the local computer store. You simply need an Internet connection to work on-the-go.
5. Be Aware of Power Consumption
Your laptop may have an advertised battery life of eight hours, but that power is quickly siphoned off as you stream videos, download data or perform other complex functions. Don't pack away your power cord because you'll need it on those long flights.
Consider an investment in a portable battery charger. It doesn't matter if you're going on a road trip or a business flight, a portable battery charger or an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) unit will enable you to always have power while traveling.
Use this same concept for your tablet and smartphone. Both additional batteries and UPS devices are also useful if there's ever a power outage on one of your trips.
If your travels take you to foreign lands where electrical outlets are in limited supply, look for a solar-power option. Many battery manufacturers offer solar chargers for their products so that you can always be ready with a charged device. Traveling freelancers need to think out of the box to be successful anyway.
6. Keep Up With Your Budget
Concentrating on your work is critical, but you still need to take care of yourself.
Keep a variety of financial resources on you at all times. Credit and debit cards are perfect for city life, but always have some cash in your pocket too. Being ready for any financial needs is crucial when you're always traveling. Pay your bills on the road with mobile connectivity. Keep track of those bills and traveling expenses with an app built for the freelancer. Your budget will be easy to track as a result.
Utilizing the right technology and being organized will make traveling as a freelancer much easier. Keep up with the newest innovations so that you can be as productive as possible. In many ways, you'll get more done on the road than you ever did in your home office.
About the Author
Sean J. Tolliver is a personal trainer turned freelance writer and traveller with an affinity for sailing and scuba diving, and is always on the lookout for new destinations to visit.
An adventurous Californian, he prefers a nautical lifestyle, but when he's on dry land, you'll find him typing or planning his next big fishing trip, probably with a freshly brewed cup of coffee by his side.