Work and travel often go hand in hand. Here’s how to make the most of your next work trip.
Today, vacations often blur the line between work and play. In a world where you can get WiFi on even the most remote of islands, the days of booking PTO days months in advance are, in many senses, behind us. But time away should still be just that: time away. After all, as business travellers know, nothing’s worse than travelling to a city only to leave feeling like you never really even saw it at all.
But if you need to log on while taking some time off or simply want to try working somewhere else for a bit, balance proves key. Do it the right way — while also enjoying the sun and the sand, that new city, or the high peaks of the mountains — by following this guide.
1. Wake up early or stay up late.
From time to time, jet lag has its perks. And if you need to sneak in a few hours of work in a faraway spot, doing so before the rest of the world wakes up (or after they go to bed) is one way to do it without missing out on much. Renting a place along the Kona coast? Wake up for the sunrise, then enjoy your coffee while making your way through some of your to-do list. You’ll be done before you’d normally even start your day.
2. Pick a spot to work and play.
Consider the destination. For example, while jaunts to the Caribbean or the Tuscan countryside are wonderful, if you have work to do, you’ll likely be tempted to trade your screen for the ocean or the local wineries (not to mention, you won’t find many people working!). City getaways — say, Los Angeles, New York City, London, Milan — on the other hand, provide a chance to see the sights while not feeling out of place if you need to plug in for a little bit.
3. Be upfront with your friends and family.
If you’re not travelling solo, give fellow travellers a heads up that you’re going to be mixing work and play. You’ll want to give them the opportunity to plan their days around and with you instead of letting them down in the moment by telling them you have to take care of a work task before heading out. When everyone’s clear on expectations, the trip will be more enjoyable (and hey, maybe you can plan to travel with someone who also plans on working while they’re away).
4. Do your research.
In your head, you might see yourself typing away over a fresh espresso at a cute café in Rome, but before you get carried away with that vision, make sure it holds up. Do you have an international data package? Do the cafés you have in mind have outlets and/or WiFi if your current plan doesn’t? Does the hotel you’re staying at offer internet with your room rate? Is it centrally located near areas you’d want to explore and spend time working in? All of these questions are worth answering pre-trip so that you’re not scrambling around a new city for battery life on a deadline.
5. Book a program.
Want to be surrounded by like-minded people but crave a little bit of structure, too? Many companies, including Remote Year, Outsite, and Unsettled, curate trips around the globe for travellers to connect and collaborate with others, making time for both work projects and local adventures alike.