How to Stay Productive When Working While Traveling

The key to remember when working while traveling is you are still working. It is not vacation. Even if the two are combined, work is first. If you plan for the work, you can have both. And, enjoying the place you are in is the point of working while traveling. Here are 10 tips to keep you productive while making the most out of your travel.



1. Set & Follow a Regular Work Schedule

This is an area often forgotten. In order to travel or work well, you need a plan. If working while traveling is a regular part of your life, have two work schedules that are fairly similar. One when you are traveling and one when you are at your home office. Plan ahead to schedule time for working, sightseeing, and immersing in culture. Try to get the 2 schedules as similar as possible to help your brain transition and stay focused.


2. Have a Dedicated Space

Having a set space is equally important on the road as is at home. Bare in mind how you work best. Do you work well in a coffee shop or with surrounding noise and people? Or, do you perform best when in quiet? What tools will you need? Then, decide where you can create a space that helps you work best where you are. It may simply be the desk in your hotel room, or a co-working space. Maybe a coffee shop, the beach or pool. Get creative and remember this is work. You will want to be as focused as possible to get the work done. Stick with what already works best for you and plan ahead to know where that will be.


3. Minimize Distractions

Know how you work best and minimize what distracts you. Take noise cancelling headphones for noisy areas. Pick places with less traffic to set up shop. If you are tempted to people watch, skip the popular and crowded areas. Choose times of the day that are less crowed if working from a coffee shop. Schedule your work time in blocks and dedicate that time and space with the least amount of distractions (including your phone).


4. Keep Your Regular Wake-Up & Sleep Schedule

This is crucial for optimal performance and for getting the most out of any travel experience. You want to be recharged and refreshed and operating at peek. There is a temptation to sleep in or stay out late to “take it all in” or “live it up” and this simply does not work. Your body relies on a regular sleep/wake schedule for maintaining health, energy and moods. It’s even more important when you travel and other factors such as noise, time zones, travel itself, or unhealthy habits start to drain your body.


5. Maintain Healthy Habits

Try to think of traveling as home away from home. Assuming you are practicing healthy habits at home, carry those over to your travel. If you are keeping those habits simple at home this will be an easy transition. Yes, enjoy the local cuisine and look for healthy choices at the same time. Getting your exercise in can be easily attained with simple walking around town. And staying toned, simple body weight exercises will do the trick in a matter of minutes from your hotel room.


6. Internet Connection

Most work these days requires some form of internet connect at some point. Observe your actual work patterns and needs before travel and you will likely realize you do not “need” the internet connection as often as you may think. There is often off-line to be completed coupled with online work. Block your work to complete work that doesn’t actually need a connection to a time when it doesn’t matter. Then, use the connection when you are truly online. This will add freedom to your location choices.

When you do need internet connection, make sure to identify possible spots before connection is needed. Try the hotel. Seek out coffee shops or co-working spaces. Check the internet speeds. You can also do this ahead of your trip. Forums like Nomadlist can help identify what spots are best. You can also have your phone set with a hotspot.


You can do a quick download speed test on fast.com to see how fast the internet is in any place (you have to be there in person). Click on “see more info”to see the upload speeds.

Over 15 Mbps is considered “good” for download speeds and over 5 Mbps is considered “good” for upload speeds for remote work.

7. Embrace Minimalism

I can not stress this tip enough. This crosses work and travel. The less you take with you, the less you have to keep up with, sort through, and carry. Less makes it much easier to stay focused and know exactly what you need. It minimizes decision fatigue. It also simplifies logistics. Pack what you actually need, not more. This is true for your clothing and your work needs. Put out what you think you need for work. Then, look at each item and think of when you will actually need it while you are on the road. Don’t need it, don’t take it.


8. Gear

Minimalism is key and so is having what you actually need. You know your field of work best, what will you actually need? Likely, that will include a laptop, the charging cords (keep an extra), an external battery (power bank for when no outlets are available), plug adap