2020 has put us in a bind: wildfires in Australia, Hong Kong riots, and then COVID-19.
Our society’s landscape has drastically changed — from quarantines and face masks to massive influxes of people working from home.
Relying on apps such as Zoom, Skype, Slack, and House Party to stay updated with their work, both employers and employees have begun to realize they don’t need to be in the office to be productive.
Workers can get assignments done from the comfort of their home, another city, or even on the road!
However, walking out the door and traveling somewhere new is a daunting thought in the current climate. Even in “normal times,” working while traveling requires balancing when you have time to work with your travel plans. And now, navigating COVID regulations safely is harder than it looks.
But I think it can be done. Here’s how.
The Big Question: Is It Safe To Travel?
As the “dog days” of summer come to an end and cooler temperatures start to arrive, wouldn’t it be fun to take a cross country trip or a two-week vacation? Most of us have been on “lockdown” for the past few months, and a change of scenery would be nice.
But the real question is is it possible?
Chances are, you’re already working 40 hours a week on top of other responsibilities, staying healthy, and attempting to maintain sanity. After sifting through your busy schedule, you might believe fitting in a road trip is impossible, but it’s not!
Dipping your toe back into the travel pool won’t be easy, but it could definitely be worth it! Your mental health is essential, especially during a pandemic. Taking a trip (carefully) might be the best thing you can do for yourself.
First Things First
Every journey starts with a plan of action, and every plan of action begins with two crucial steps.
Your main objectives are to:
(1) ensure your plants, pets, and utilities are all taken care of, and
(2) find time every day to do work.
Do your best to stick to this plan, regardless of your style of travel. Allocating a few hours every day towards your tasks is critical for having a fulfilling time.
What works best for me is waking up early, even if you’re in a different time zone or deep in the woods with little internet connection. Getting up at dawn (or even the middle of the night) provides a 3-4-hour window to get a jump on your clients, find a local coffee shop, and maybe finish your daily tasks no matter where you are.
Imagine having most of your business completed by 9am, which means you have the rest of the day to spend time trekking across the land or staying on call with your clients!
When In Doubt Always Carry…
Depending on where you travel to, you might not always have access to Wi-Fi, consistently useful data, or a reliable, mobile hotspot.
If you travel through rural areas, for example, the chances of these problems occurring are high. So it’s important to plan your route in advance to avoid such places.
How do you mitigate against little to no internet connection?
The answer is simple… when in doubt, always carry a pocket WI-FI.
This is a portable wireless modem known as a “MiFi” that can connect up to 10 devices within 15 meters. MiFis have a more reliable signal than most mobile hotspots, allow you to pay as you go, and even have a built-in phone charger.
But what if you can’t get a MiFi?
Don’t worry about it — just make sure you have applications that work offline, such as Microsoft Word, Evernote, Pocket, Google Docs, Amazon Kindle, Salesforce, Trello, etc. When in doubt, you can save your projects while you are disconnected from the internet, then send it to your colleagues when you find a data connection. That way, you never lose a beat!
Another Important Note: Backup Now
It is better to be safe than sorry!
Your work will bankroll your adventure, so you need to make sure it’s all secure. Backup your information 2-3 times a week- something you should already be doing.
In case of an emergency, natural disaster, spontaneous human combustion, or a bear eating your hardware, you will survive. You will have complete confidence to fix the situation, no matter what happens.
Lastly, there are many ways to backup your data: cloud backup services, portable SSDs, time machines, and even USBs… I suggest you use all of them.
Pack & Sanitize
People are on high alert because of the pandemic. Don’t give them a reason to suspect a nomad of breaking the rules. Have good hygiene, bring SPARE MASKS, wipe door handles, sanitize counters, and make sure everything you touch is clean.
Be prepared. Let your friends, family, coworkers, and supervisors know you will be working on the road. Make multiple copies of your license and passport and hide them throughout your luggage. If one of them is stolen, you will always have a few backups.
Your vehicle needs to be healthy, too. Nobody wants to get 10 miles into their trip to have their car break down on the freeway. Check your brakes, oil, and other fluids, wipers, and tire pressure. Make sure you have a spare tire, and PLEASE get everything inspected.
Always carry an extra pack of essentials to be used in emergencies. I recommend two bottles of water, a few power bars, essential medicines, small flashlights, alcohol swabs, different cell phone chargers, towels, jumper cables, a battery boost, and extra cash.
Ever thought about hiding in plain sight? Wherever you end up — a motel room, a crowd, or even in your car — make sure you are prepared to blend in with your environment. You will have valuable items attractive to muggers and thieves, or even survival gear that will paint a target on your back. Remember, if you LOOK like you are prepared, the “wolves” might start trying to take your things by force.
Ready to hit the road?
Road trips are a blast, but any wrong move can cut your journey short. There is no way to minimize all the potential dangers and stay completely safe, but if you follow these suggestions, I hope you’ll be able to have an adventure you won’t regret.
Life is worth living, so go have some fun!