Remote work

How to work remotely while traveling in 2023

by Barbara Jovanovic
calendar iconApr 29
clock icon12 min

In the aftermath of the pandemic, a quiet revolution has been taking place as people worldwide reassess their lifestyles. Are we living where we truly want to be? Do we enjoy the routine of an office, or the productivity of a work-from-home life? And does our wanderlust extend beyond the few weeks of vacation travel per year?

The collective response to these questions caused a surge of voluntary departures from companies that resisted remote work policies post-lockdown. It’s estimated that 46.6 million Americans left their job in 2022, which exceeded the pre-pandemic numbers. It's about more than just the convenience of working from home—it’s about the freedom to live, and work, on our own terms. In pursuit of this lifestyle, employees are now willing to switch employers in search of more flexible remote work policies, better pay and benefits.

This trend goes hand in hand with the shifting landscape of work in the post-pandemic era. Remote work has opened up opportunities across national markets, with wages rising at a fast pace and employers scrambling to offer more attractive benefits to retain talent. This employee-driven market has led to a record number of job openings, with workers finding that they can increase their earnings significantly by changing jobs rather than staying put.

Don’t be discouraged by the recent disruptions in the tech industry and numerous layoffs at major tech firms. This sector still offers countless opportunities around the globe. As Scott Dobroski, Indeed's career trends expert puts it, "every company today is a tech company." Engineers, developers, and designers find their skills in high demand virtually everywhere. For most roles, it’s a great time to be searching for a higher quality of life and more freedom.

How to find a remote job and become location independent

What type of remote work policies are workers looking for?

The ideal remote work policy varies depending on your industry and personal preferences. Whether you're happy working from your cozy home office, eager to embrace a hybrid model, or dreaming of a tropical escape for a few months each year without taking time off, having a flexible remote work policy is crucial. This freedom allows you to create the lifestyle you want, without the constraints of a traditional workplace.

You can achieve this in a few different ways:

  • Negotiating a more adaptable remote work schedule with your current employer, even if it's just for an additional day or two at home each week.

  • Seeking a new job that aligns with your desired lifestyle, whether that involves settling in a specific location or freelancing from anywhere in the world. Bear in mind that some companies may restrict remote work to certain countries, so it's essential to discuss the legalities with your employer. A lot of digital nomads choose to freelance because of this, while remote workers on a full-time contract have to strategically choose a country with a time zone that works with their work schedule and contract.

  • Starting your own business — there’s no better time than now. Location independence even allows you to set up your business outside of your home country, in search of lower tax rates and visas. Antigua and Barbuda is one of the popular choices for this.

Working remotely from outside of your home country

Navigating the complexities of remote work and international travel, however, remains a challenge and a large grey area. Many countries have strict regulations about working on tourist visas, with some considering remote work a violation of visa conditions. This is a significant downside and obstacle for digital nomads. Additionally, spending extended periods in a single country can have tax implications.

Fortunately, a growing number of countries are introducing digital nomad visas, which provide legal clarity and allow you to work for foreign employers without being taxed on that income. However, always consult your employer to ensure that there are no restrictions on where you can work. Even if you obtain the right to completely legally work remotely from these digital nomad hubs, your company might not be able to allow that.

With this in mind, the digital nomad movement is rapidly growing and they do, in fact, take advantage of the perks of being location independent. Digital nomads often find themselves operating in a legal grey area, working remotely from countries where it may not be fully legal to do so on a tourist visa. They navigate this uncertain terrain by staying in each country for short periods of time before moving on to their new destination, always making sure that their income is generated from sources outside the country they're visiting, and choosing to work from countries with more relaxed rules regarding remote work or those that have introduced digital nomad visas. This is not a great solution.

It's essential for digital nomads to be aware of the potential risks associated with working in a grey area. With the introduction of digital nomad visas in so many different countries, it’s best to travel where you are allowed to work remotely without risks. These visas not only let you work online legally, but they offer a longer stay than tourist visas and even certain benefits (opening a local bank account, renting an apartment for long-term, and more). This is an important part of respecting the local laws and regulations of countries we visit, and making sure the remote work community is working with the governments worldwide to create visas and agreements both benefit from.

A quick check-list for remote workers trying to choose a destination to work remotely from:

  • Do you need a visa for this country? How long are you allowed to stay there? Do they have a digital nomad visa you want to apply for to stay longer and gain clarity on working remotely from that country?

  • Is this country in a favorable time zone that aligns with your zoom calls or any other responsibilities you have? Do you have to use a VPN to access any resources you need for work?

  • What is the average cost of living? Is the infrastructure good enough for remote work (available Wifi or coworking spaces)? Make sure to find accommodation that has high-speed reliable Wifi. Many Airbnbs now disclose their upload & download speed, and some even market specifically to remote workers with fast Wifi and workstations. You can also consider joining a coliving space that has coworking on-site, and many cafes nowadays provide reliable internet connection.

What are the main benefits of being location independent?

  • Redefining the work-life balance

    Your life shouldn’t revolve around work. In a world where work often encroaches on our personal lives, location independence gives us a chance to reclaim our time. Remote workers can devote more energy to what truly matters—family, friends, and personal growth. Apart from cutting down on time wasted on commute, remote work often offers more flexibility in terms of working hours and the ability to adjust one's schedule to accommodate personal needs and preferences.

  • Escaping the cost-of-living trap

    The traditional workplace often demands that employees live in expensive metropolitan areas, where the cost of living can be incredibly high. With location independence, however, comes the freedom to choose a home base that aligns with your financial and lifestyle goals. For example, Portugal or Bali, as a digital nomad hotspot, will greatly differ from the cost of living in the United States. You can escape the expenses of a certain country and pursue a higher quality of life in a smaller, more affordable location.

  • Creating an ideal working environment

    Remote work not only affords the opportunity to eliminate physical constraints but empowers remote workers to create a personalized environment that fosters productivity. Whether you choose to work from home or in hybrid work arrangements, your workspace can fit your preferences and needs. Your daily routine is a big part of this, as well—maybe working from a coffee shop gives you space for creative ideas you struggle to think of in an office.

  • Travel & adventure Location independence allows people to replace sporadic, short vacations with extended travel plans to new countries. By immersing themselves in local cultures for longer periods, digital nomads can cultivate a deeper understanding of the world and its different cultures. This unique way of life enables remote workers to engage with the world on their terms, creating a sense of adventure and discovery in their everyday life.

How to find a job with a flexible remote work policy?

Full-time or part-time employment with a company There are several remote job boards you can keep an eye on:

Platforms that cater to specific job roles:

While the already mentioned job boards list specifically fully remote roles, don’t forget to check the tried and true platforms when looking for work: Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, AngelList, and company career pages.

For freelance or project-based contracts

Apart from familiar platforms like Upwork, Fiverr, and Freelancer, the location-independent workforce has different avenues they can pursue when searching or a remote job.

  1. Travel-related business or work

    Digital nomads transform their travels into valuable assets. While adhering to visa restrictions that prevent local employment, nomadic creators often collaborate with tourism boards, write travel blogs for various publications, and create engaging content for social media platforms. By leveraging their unique experiences, some entrepreneurs have managed to create several passive income streams—through affiliate marketing, ebooks, podcasts, and more—that support their nomadic lifestyle.

  2. Location-independent friendly job roles

    Remote jobs are expanding in scope and number. Most of these positions can be done asynchronously, which allows remote workers to choose their base in countries with lower living costs. This geographical flexibility allows them not only to enjoy a higher quality of life but access employment opportunities that may pay substantially more than their home country's average wage for a similar role.

If this is the lifestyle you’re looking for, consider some of these job roles:

  • Marketing (social media management, content marketing, SEO specialist, product marketing, etc.)

  • Online Teacher/Tutor

  • Writer/Editor

  • IT Consultant/Support

  • Video & Photo Editor

  • HR/Head of Remote

  • Customer Support Representative (Many companies are strategically searching for customer service representatives that live in different time zones to make sure their users can have support 24 hours.)

  • Project Manager/Creative Director

  • Web Developer/Designer

  • Graphic Designer

  • Content creator (podcasts, videos, social media content, etc)

  • Researcher (Remote researchers can work in various fields, such as market research or academic research, gathering and analyzing data from their chosen location.)

  • E-commerce Specialist (Manage and optimize online stores, handle inventory management, and oversee digital marketing efforts.)

  • Data Analyst (Data analysts can work remotely to collect, process, and interpret data to help businesses make data-driven decisions.)

  • Sales Representative/Account Manager

While several different factors have to align perfectly to achieve complete location independence—employer expectations, project requirements, and personal aspirations—finding a remote role might be a more attainable goal. Once you have that flexibility, you can negotiate or explore countries you can work remotely from. Take it one step at a time and clearly communicate your needs to your remote team and employer.

In this brave new world of work, it’s possible to thrive professionally without compromising your lifestyle choices and hobbies. A new age of location independence and work-life balance is here, and the only question that remains is: what will you make of it?

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