How to Combine Travel and Freelancing (Without Losing Money or Clients)

This week, Diana Marinova reveals how to continue making money (and not lose clients) while freelancing on the road…

Freelancing while travelling

Where have you been? Image courtesy of Meliway Travel Movie Maker.

Assuming you’ve been reading Freelance Writers Online for a while, you’ll know it’s entirely possible to make money and keep working while traveling the world.

Kirsty sure leads by example on that, and she’s invited me to share with you a few insider’s tricks and tips on how to keep your income in tact when taking your freelancing business on the road…

(NOTE: This post is not about passive income streams. It’s about getting your work done while on the road, without interfering with all the fun you are set to have!)

1. Planning makes perfect

I know, I know – the saying actually goes, “practice makes perfect” but in our case, planning is the name of the game.

You need to pre-plan your work hours and leave enough buffer time so that you can be as flexible as possible. After all, you won’t always have a solid internet connection to rely on so you might not be able to accommodate those last-minute details, new gigs and so on.

2. Send a note to your regular clients

This follows on from the last point. With your regular clients you already know what the workload is and what type of work is expected of you – not to mention those all-important deadlines.

However, be sure to send each regular client a note that you are going away on a trip and that you may be slower than usual with email replies. Inform your clients you will check your email at a set time – each morning/every Monday and Friday/whenever – this way they won’t go crazy if they don’t hear from you for a few days.

3. Ask for assignments in advance

On the other hand, if you have clients who give you work from time to time only when the need arises, send them an email well in advance of your trip. This way you achieve two things:

  1. You ensure you won’t get any last-minute assignments with a super-quick turnaround time – which you may not be able to accommodate while traveling.
  2. You remind these irregular clients of your existence in case they want to send any work your way!

If you’re going to spend May making that Euro road trip you always dreamt of, make sure you send that email in late March. It can be something as simple as:

Hi, Jim – long time no see! How’s business?

You asked me to write new blog posts every now and then and since it’s been a while, I thought I should give you a heads up about some time away coming up.

I am planning to spend May traveling through Europe and will be on and off the internet during that period.

I will keep on working while traveling but wanted to ask if you have anything planned for me? I would love to hear from you so I can book some time for your project while on the road if needs be.

Thanks and speak soon,

Diana

Nothing too demanding, but it does the trick. ;-)

4. Only book accommodation with good Wi-Fi

When on the road, I usually book my accommodation via websites like booking.com. The great thing about a site like this is the huge pool of travelers’ reviews and feedback.

Check out other people’s comments about the internet connection in your preferred accommodation. Is it free or paid? Is it stable or constantly dropping off? Is it fast? Is it good in the west wing but not so good in the east wing of the building? Or maybe it’s excellent on the 1st floor and crappy on the 6th?

Do your homework – research the places you want to stay and don’t compromise when it comes to Wi-Fi.

5. Have a Plan B (You really need a Plan B)

I usually do one of two things in terms of a back-up plan. (Or both if I know I have a big deadline coming up and really don’t want any surprises!)

  1. First, research cafes with Wi-Fi. You can use the same approach as with the accommodation. Look at other travelers’ reviews. Visit Tripadvisor and see what cafeterias, restaurants or shopping malls you can find in the area you’re traveling to.
  2. Research local mobile carriers. The big telecom companies offer prepaid 3G internet packages suitable for a USB stick to be used on your laptop, tablet or smartphone. If you choose the latter, make sure your smartphone can tether to a laptop – you don’t want to be writing an article on your phone – no matter how smart it is!

6. Don’t get all worked up while traveling!

I have tested the above tips and tricks many times. They work – I promise. Not once have I missed a deadline because I was traveling.

But don’t work too much!

I read somewhere that travel is the only purchase that makes you richer. I agree 100% with that – and I’m sure you do too if taking your freelance business on the road is something you’re thinking of

And when you get back, be sure to share all those travel memories with your friends and family…

The Meliway Travel Movie Maker

My passion for traveling and desire to make travel movies with zero video editing skills led to the creation of a brand new product – the Meliway Travel Movie Maker.

If you’re a passionate traveler, head over to the Indiegogo campaign page at www.indiegogo.com/at/meliway. Please take a moment to check out the details and see the travel movies you could make – you may even like it enough to become a part of helping to bring this new travel tool to life. :)

We’re slowly reaching our goal but every dollar counts. (And every social share helps too!)

Above all else, happy working while traveling – and remember to leave any thoughts in the comments section below!

Diana Marinova is a freelance marketing consultant. Born in Eastern Europe, she travels the world and lives in various countries while working online. Diana believes there’s no reason to limit herself to a single work or living space. She has just launched her first product – the Meliway Travel Movie Maker – and blogs about freelancing and marketing for small business at www.dianamarinova.com/blog.

20 Comments

  • Susan Cooper

    Reply Reply March 4, 2014

    I couldn’t agree with you more about having a good plan. As you mentioned, it should include what we would do when things aren’t where you want them to be or if your travel plans or work/projects go awry. Keeping to a schedule is very helpful, otherwise work or play, or both, will suffer.

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 4, 2014

      Thanks for your comment, Susan! I have always been fascinated with the fact how easy everything could be – with proper planning. Working while traveling makes no exception :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Lorraine Reguly

    Reply Reply March 4, 2014

    These are excellent tips, Diana. I particularly like the one about finding internet cafés with WIFI connections.

    Nice to meet you, too, Kirsty! ;)

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 6, 2014

      Thanks for your feedback, Lorraine! I am glad you found this post useful…

      As for the internet cafes – it is not necessarily an “internet cafe”… Maybe it means something else on your end of the world but here we have cafes the purpose of which is just that – to browse the internet (some even have computers!) – a regular cafeteria as Starbucks or McCafe or any other local place that has free wi-fi can do the trick for you ;-)

  • Nell Casey

    Reply Reply March 5, 2014

    This is great! I’m travelling for seven weeks in July/August and I want to be able to continue working while doing so. This will be the first time that I’ll travel/work so I’m after all the tips I can get. Thanks!

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 6, 2014

      Thanks for your comment, Nel! It’s great you are making the first step toward not letting your work stop you from traveling :)

      These tips will help you be on top of your work while on the road. 7 weeks on the road, huh? That should be fun! Drop by if you encounter any issues – i would love to help with more tips :)

  • Johnny Bravo

    Reply Reply March 7, 2014

    Great tips Diana. Traveling and working can be a bit of a stretch sometimes but with the above steps it can go much more smoothly. Planning is key as you pointed out. Surprise are almost always going to happen but as long as you’ve tried to prepare for the worse case, and hope for the best case, you’re in a much better position.

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 8, 2014

      Right, i love the saying “plan for the worst and hope for the best”… You are right things almost never happen as you plan them – but planning and being prepared helps you adapt when circumstances change. Well, being easy-going, not a control freak and not a perfectionist also helps but… we learn as we go, eh? Thanks for your comment, Johhny :)

  • maxwell ivey

    Reply Reply March 8, 2014

    Hi Diana; Very good work here. It got me to thinking about when i was still traveling with my family’s carnival and also trying to get my business going. I was using a data card for my internet. But there were still some towns why the card either wouldn’t work or it wouldn’t run fast enough to upload changes to my site. more than once my site was erased because of this and i had to be driven to the next town so i could a strong enough signal to reupload it. last year i went to my first festival since having gastric surgery and stayed in a motel instead of a travel trailer. I was pleasantly surprised to find the motel’s internet was actually three times faster than my 3g connection at home. one other thing that i think helps a lot for bloggers is to plan articles in advance and preschedule posts so they will go out even if you can’t go online to publish them. And with so much work don before you leave that would gig you more time to have fun. I’m hoping to someday soon travel for my business. and i am also considering an indiegogo campaign to fund it. so I would love to hear more about your experience with that. thanks for the wonderful suggestions. Take care, Max

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 13, 2014

      thanks for your comment, Max – i admit, i am a bit spoiled when it comes to internet because in my home country we have one of the fastest and highest quality internet connection in the world; so it is always hard for me to cope with crappy internet connection, on the road or not.

      But i think 3g is by default worse than lan or cable connection you can get, anywhere. i may be wrong though :)

      And thanks for the addition – it IS helpful to have rescheduled posts on your own blog (i always do that) – but with freelance work it is not always possible. so then, use the above tips ;-)

      I would love to share what i’ve learned from my first Indiegogo campaign – stay tuned!

  • Debra Yearwood

    Reply Reply March 11, 2014

    Hi Diana,

    Glad to see you’re still writing. What a wonderful lifestyle choice and you make it seem so easy. I think it’s one I’ll have to investigate once my kids are a little older. :)

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 13, 2014

      hahaha, thanks for your comment, Debra – it IS a fun lifestyle indeed. It gets easier when you get used to it but it is in no way easy, per se ;-) it’s fun either way! When you decide to go down this road, let me know if i can help in any way! :D

  • Jeri

    Reply Reply March 12, 2014

    I tend to bring work with me when taking short trips, but typically don’t get much done. I’ve decided I’m better off keeping vacations and working separate as much as possible. Though I can recall some camping weekends where I sat at a picnic table and graded papers, but it wasn’t so bad since it was sooooo nice outside.

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply March 13, 2014

      i am surprised, Jeri – i am never bringing work to the short trips i take. the longer ones are those that “make” me work while traveling. :)

      Imagine road tripping across Europe for 1 month… or like Kristy right now – trotting through India, then Australia, then Singapore, Thailand and i don’t know where else for 6 months – how can you not work??? Girl, i wish i am that rich to be able to travel for months and not need to work LOL

      Good for you you are trying to keep work and play separate, that is a very important part of staying sane and finding work life balance :D

  • Rhyannon Yates

    Reply Reply June 18, 2014

    I can’t wait to put this into practice. Now I just have to find a good list on how to travel the world, while working, with two little girls in tow. That’s totally doable, right? ;)

    • Kirsty Stuart

      Reply Reply June 18, 2014

      Sure Rhyannon! I can’t speak from personal experience but I see road-trippers and backpackers with kids on every big trip I go on.

      • Diana Marinova

        Reply Reply June 18, 2014

        like Kirsty, i too cannot say anything about traveling with kids from experience but… i have come across some pretty cool blogs about that. Just google “travel the world with kids” and you will be on your way to book the first leg of your world trip ;-)

        It’s totally doable – and you can even start blogging about your experience and make some extra cash while doing it :D

  • Waqas Masood

    Reply Reply December 3, 2014

    Hey Diana,

    You know what? You’ve put my ideas into words. I was seriously planning to visit hilly areas for snow-falling with the same strategy. Regarding internet, I’ve some reliable portable devices.

    Since my birthday is coming a day before Christmas, I might be a crazy freelancer celebrating it amidst the Fairy Meadows :)

    Thoroughly superb post!

    • Diana Marinova

      Reply Reply December 7, 2014

      Hi, Waqas – I am glad you enjoyed the post and even happier that you fully enjoy the freelance lifestyle! Happy birthday in advance – may all freelance forces be with you :D

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