The pandemic changed the way we interact, work and travel in ways we never expected. But one of the most important changes that happened was that now it’s easier that ever to work remote .
Once the work from home protocols were applied and made mandatory, it meant that not only was there no need to go to school or the office anymore, but we could do all of that from the comfort of our home and still be productive.
And then my home became the world.
As I’m writing this I am in my two story bungalow on the island of Gran Canaria, in the Canary Islands, where i’ve done just that, moved here for the winter away from the freezing temperatures in Europe, to a beautiful tropical place with sun every day, being able to swim in the ocean, while working remotely.
I did the exact steps that I am about to share with you in this post, allowing me to fulfil my dream of travelling the world and not having to quit the job i enjoy doing.
What i am referring here is a situation where your study/work can be mostly done remote, from any location even when you are abroad.
While this scenario does not apply to all studies or jobs yet, it’s becoming more and more common.
If your situation is similar to the one I’ve just described and if you like traveling then there’s nothing holding you back from using the same method i’m about to describe here:
Traveling can be separated (mostly) in 2 categories:
- Short travel (your classic vacation/holiday type, etc)
- Long travel (digital nomads, remote workers, backpackers etc)
In this article I will show you how to do the latter in an efficient way.
I will not be referring to being a digital nomad, although one could use the term to describe it too.
For me the term “digital nomad” is more related to freelance working, where it’s understood you already have the flexibility that you need and are not bound by company and location.
Also when you study abroad is different than remote work. These terms can have different meanings depending on context.
1. Negotiate with your employer to work remote for long periods of time
This first step is crucial, because “if” you are an employee of a company that has not fully permitted remote work permanently, then having a discussion with your manager is crucial.
You wouldn’t want to go through all the hassle of arranging accommodation, flight tickets, etc., and then one and half weeks in, you are recalled to the office.
The most important thing is to be transparent and honest about it with your manager and explain to them, that when the work from home restrictions were in place, you could do your job just as efficiently as when you were in the office.
Make it clear to them that this will actually contribute to your overall happiness and satisfaction by reaching a favourable work-life balance.
Meaning a less likelihood of you changing companies.
One important thing that they will need to know however is for how long you are planning to be away (fully remote or for a certain period of time).
That’s entirely up to you and your specific situation. Give it a bit of thought before you bring it up with your manager.
And remember in the end it should be treated as a negotiation, so approach it with what in mind.
After (if) you get the go ahead, it’s time to start planning.
You can begin by checking my guide on how to travel the smart way to get some inspiration.
Usually, like with most travel occasions such as vacation or holidays, accommodation will play the biggest part in organising your travel plans.
Even more so when committing to a longer stay somewhere.
In this article we are assuming you will be staying for a few months in one place and then changing, rather than short hops of a few weeks.
The benefits of longer stays are the fact that it opens the door to different options that you normally wouldn’t have access to when traveling for a short stay.
If for a short stay(let’s say up to a month) you will probably be looking at hotels, Airbnbs (how to stay a more and pay less), couch surfing, etc.
For longer stays you can actually rent an apartment (villa/house, etc.) at the same prices as the locals do.
And almost always those prices will be significantly less than what you would find for short stays.
2. Finding the right accommodation for long term remote work
Because now you have the option to rent for medium to long term, i recommend you check with a real estate agent from the destination you plan to live in.
A Google search for the local housing sites and some emails will quickly get you in contact with plenty of real estate agents eager to find you accommodation.
So make them work for you.
Tell them what you want, for how long and then they will do the heavy lifting by searching, getting in contact with the owners and arranging the details for you to be able to move in, and for them to collect their commission.
If you want to go the “lone ranger” approach and not use the services of a real estate agent, you can search and contact the owners yourself.
This method has the benefit of you being in control of what you want and whom you get in contact with, but it also means more work from your side.
3. Live abroad on your own terms
After finding the perfect location, usually a rental contract will be signed.
The main thing to keep in mind here is to make the owner and/or real estate agent understand that you will be working remote and that means you will not be there indefinitely.
Quite the opposite you will be there for a precise amount of time, that can sometimes change from month to month.
Thus your main goal here is to have in the contract the minimal possible commitment of a time period, meaning you have to make it clear to them and push for this value to be as low as possible.
On your own terms
So if they want a minimal contract commitment of 6 months for example, you should always try to get less than that.
For example, try to half it to 3 months, or even 1 month ideally with the option to renew it with prior notice of one month, if you so wish.
This will give you the most flexibility when traveling to one place for longer periods of time.
You can make changes accordingly and tailor it to your situation rather than being burdened by a contract that you have to cancel earlier if need be.
And most of the time this will imply the loss of your deposit.
Speaking of deposits, they are usually necessary for longer stays as it gives the owner an insurance in case you decide to leave the next day.
Having that in mind try to avoid committing to a deposit of more than one month’s rent, as there is usually no benefit to that other than locking your money till the end of the contract.
This can be negotiated with the real estate agent or directly with the owner.
Bring it up in a polite and assuring way and most of the time they will agree. If not then, there’s always the next one.
Regarding additional expenses such as water, electricity, internet and other miscellaneous costs, try to have them included in the amount you pay each month.
This way you will not have to complicate yourself with setting up contracts and canceling them when you leave.
Again having this discussion with the real estate and owner, before signing the contract, on how to handle these costs is paramount, because it will save you frustration later on.
Speed test your connection
Since you are going to be work remote, a fast internet connection is very important.
Ask the landlord to show you the internet speeds, and decide if they are sufficient for what you need (150mbps is usually good enough for video calls).
Do not compromise on this because there’s nothing worse than arranging everything but then finding out that your connection drops every 2 minutes. Happened to me plenty of times.
If the accommodation is not up to expectations after you move in, be it either loud neighbours, faulty appliances, or hidden damages, then you must get in contact with the owner as soon as possible as this is their job to fix.
If no agreement is reached then most of the times the contract can be forfeited.
But make sure to add this to the contract in the initial discussions.
Taking care of these things up front will save you plenty of work later.
Although it’s a bit more organisational work in the beginning, to set up an accommodation for a longer stay than say just 3 clicks for booking a hotel or Airbnb for a week, the payoff will be much higher.
You’ll be able to just enjoy your time and properly get settled at your own pace and not have to worry about an upcoming flight back, or the end of your vacation.
There will be no end to the vacation, or should I say, remote work vacation 😉
See you soon!