With the mobility that comes with web working, we can now afford to travel for leisure while taking our work with us. However, the nature of our work gives us very specific needs. We can’t just expect to open our laptops in the mountains of Nepal and start working.
Apart from tourist attractions, accommodations, and restaurants, there are several things you need to know about your destination.
If you’re a web worker looking to travel any time soon, these are the things you should look out for:
Internet connectivity. Are there several Internet cafes in the area? If so, what types of connections are available and how much will it cost you? If you can, book accommodations with free Wi-Fi access. I find that this is one of my main criteria when it comes to hotels, resorts, and pension houses. This is especially important for people who have unusual body clocks and prefer to work during times when most Internet cafes are closed. Just remember to keep your Wi-Fi sessions secure.
Sometimes Wi-Fi isn’t an option, but some establishments have Internet lounges or dial-up access (yikes). You can even use your mobile phone to establish a broadband connection, if your subscription allows for it.
If you want to do more research on your destination’s Internet connectivity, some helpful resources include the Wi-Fi Hotspot List and Hotspotr. You can also search for a Wi-Fi connection on the spot.
Cellular phone settings. You might need to send or receive emergency calls or text messages, so consider if you will be able to do that when you reach your destination. If you’re traveling internationally, check the required phone settings of the country you’re visiting. Those of you who have world phones are in luck, since most of these phones work with the major GSM frequencies used around the world. Plus, if your phone is unlocked, it can be used with any service provider.
Apart from your destination’s cell phone settings, you need to know the signal quality – at least in the area where you’ll be spending the most time. VoIP is an alternative way to call home, but not if you won’t have stable Internet access.
Banking. Are there ATM machines or banks nearby that can allow you to access extra funds in case of an emergency? If you’ll be away for a long time, are they ways for you to receive payment from clients? Many debit and credit cards are accepted in major destinations worldwide, but be sure to confirm this with your bank or credit card company. As a banking alternative, find out if there’s a Western Union branch where you can receive money if your bank doesn’t have a branch in your destination.
Electrical settings. What plugs are required? What’s the voltage setting? You don’t want to get these things wrong, as you might burn out some of the electrical devices you’ll bring. Sites like the World Electric Guide list the voltage, frequency, and plug configurations per country. Find the appropriate adaptors and bring them. If you’re going to a remote area without stable electrical access, such as a weekend spent camping in the woods, consider solar chargers for your portable devices.
Once you know these things about your destination, you’ll have more realistic expectations when it comes to carrying out your web worker duties during your trip.
Have you ever tried web working while traveling? What problems did you encounter?