Traveling has numerous cognitive and emotional benefits, and it may even lower the risk of depression while increasing your happiness. Yet in our hectic modern world, travel can also be a double-edged sword. Those of us on a dynamic career path may feel that it’s essentially impossible to make time for even a weekend getaway, much less a full-blown vacation.
Yet there is hope for workaholics who long to travel: Studies indicate that taking a vacation can help you to be more productive at work, yet you can achieve the same goals by merging travel with work. Sound impossible?
The good news is that it’s easier than ever to accommodate a work and travel lifestyle, in 2020 and beyond. No matter the destination (or destinations) you have in mind, you can effectively prioritize traveling while still earning money.
Making the Choice: To Work Abroad or Freelance?
The modern gig economy provides ample opportunity for people to work from anywhere, and in nearly every industry. Whether you’re in business, finance, writing and editing, or another industry altogether, you’re likely to find contract or freelance positions that allow you overarching flexibility in location. Yet a work-travel lifestyle may require a bit more security than gig work can provide, and you may feel better knowing that your employer provides benefits such as sick pay and health insurance.
Fortunately, you have plenty of opportunity for success as a foreign worker. Companies all over the world want to expand their employee base by hiring experienced workers from all walks of life. For instance, Japan recently relaxed its work visa requirements, in an effort to help combat labor shortages. Prospective workers must obtain sponsorship from a Japanese company and pass a work visa exam.
Like Japan, many nations across the world have specific guidelines in place that are tailored to foreign workers. Thus, if you’re looking for a job as a full-time employee rather than a freelancer, make sure to do your research and learn the basics of the company in question, including worker expectations and policies. You also want to ensure that a potential employer’s mission and values are clear and align with your before you agree to work with them, especially if you’re traveling across the world to pursue a work opportunity.
Making an Informed Decision Regarding Destination
While research is, of course, paramount, you should also try not to let your imagination take over during your work-travel destination search. Many of us have a sort of travel bucket list in mind that includes dream vacation destinations. Some of the world’s most popular and coveted getaway locales include Orlando, Cancún, and Paris, each of which have plenty to offer the vacationer. Yet those prime vacation destinations may not be the most ideal option for business travelers.
For instance, Orlando is home to the Walt Disney World resort, meaning that local hotels may be full of loud families. City traffic is also notoriously unpleasant; in fact, a 2017 study found that Orlando traffic is among the world’s worst. You should always keep these types of considerations in mind when choosing a work-travel destination, to help maximize both your productivity and enjoyment.
Of the aforementioned destinations, however, it’s important to note that Paris is considered one of the best cities for staying connected. Paris is home to nearly 2,000 accommodation options with free WiFi, and an average speed of 24 mbps. Further, having Paris as your base gives you quick access to all of Europe, much of which is connected by high-speed rail. The city is rather expensive, however, and your budget is another crucial aspect to factor into your destination decision.
Travel, Flexibility, and Your Mental Health
In many ways, integrating business and travel is a no-brainer, at least where your mental health is concerned. You may find that your more relaxed lifestyle helps fuel your creativity. What’s more, working from an exotic destination gives you a much more nuanced perspective on your job and life overall, improving your happiness both at work and in your personal life. Finally, you may notice that your energy increases thanks to the change of scenery and immersive new cultural experiences.
To ensure that your work-travel lifestyle is sufficiently beneficial, you may want to consider alternatives to freelance work or traditional employment. Some travel buffs have successfully merged their career with global exploration with help from a flexible, year-long schedule. Rather than a fixed schedule, you could instead opt for a so-called locum tenens agreement. Popular in the healthcare industry, locum tenens means that you create your own schedule that’s customized to your needs and desires. Thus, you can use your downtime to travel without worrying about your job.
Of course, locum tenens may not be possible for every worker who longs to break free from the stifling 9-5. But myriad work opportunities exist that can allow you enough flexibility to realize your dreams of cultivating a fruitful work-travel lifestyle.
Written by: Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor