Location Independence Through Travel: What You Need to Know

With remote work becoming a reality for millions of people seemingly overnight, the idea of location-independent work is becoming more appealing—and perhaps more realistic—to workers everywhere.

According to the employment website Glassdoor.com, two out of three people admit that they work during their vacations. Though most people only vacation for a few days or a week at a time, others are beginning to explore a location-independent lifestyle. Being location-independent means being able to work anywhere there is a reliable internet connection. This lifestyle allows people to travel and explore the world, without sacrificing the fulfillment and financial advantages of having a source of income.

Choosing to be a long-term traveler can be enticing, but there are other factors to consider to make sure that it’s the right lifestyle for you. Even so, long-term travel is more feasible than most people think, especially with all the technologies available to stay connected and the trend of embracing remote work in general. If you are considering a location-independent lifestyle, keep reading for some helpful tips that that can make the switch easier.

Are You a Candidate for a Location-Independent Lifestyle?

Long-term travel is a big life change to make and it demands a certain degree of flexibility. A location-independent lifestyle can be ideal for people from all walks of life, but there are some ways you can determine if it’s a good personal fit for you. A location-independent lifestyle may work well for you if:

  • You have just finished high school. Oftentimes, students graduate high school and are unsure about their next step. Traveling abroad can provide great learning and life experiences. It also exposes you to different cultures and helps you develop a more global perspective. Working remotely while traveling gives a graduate a chance to explore their options before deciding if college or a job is the right move.
  • You have just finished higher education. If you don’t have a plan for your life post-graduation, long-term travel may help you figure it out. Traveling allows you to build skills that you may use later in your career.
  • You’re a working professional. It can be hard to see how you can change your lifestyle so drastically, especially if you’re already working. However, depending on your life circumstances, the change could be the boost you need. Whether you need a career change or just a break from the office, working remotely while traveling can give you new ways to utilize your skills while refreshing your perspectives.

Balance Your Career Goals with Your Travel Aspirations

Don’t jump into the location-independent lifestyle blindly—and especially do not quit your day job without a plan. Before you do anything, figure out how you’ll pay for everything. Will you save up money from your current job and then spend all your time traveling? Or will you be working while traveling—and if so, what will you do? Create a plan that will help you balance your work life and travel life and manage everything as smoothly as possible.

Many people who work while traveling will freelance as a writer, editor, translator, software developer, or graphic designer; others run their own online-focused business or use their professional skills to serve as consultants. Still others work in sales or other service roles—for example, as life coaches or teachers for online schools and training programs. Check out the remote work boards WeWorkRemotely.com, WorkingNomads.co., and Remote.co to see examples of jobs that can be performed from any location.

Even if you’ll be working while traveling, it’s still important to save up some money beforehand and create a budget. Make sure you have a safety net before striking out, and always be mindful of what you’re spending.  

You’ll also need to consider work-related logistics—this will determine where you can go. For example, you’ll need a good internet connection and maybe even occasional access to a workspace. This means you might be better served by establishing a long-term “home base” in a city and then planning trips from there around your work.

Don’t Neglect Other Important Details

The more important details like tax obligations, insurance coverage, and health care are issues that should be considered early on in your journey as well. If you plan on being out of the country, research the tax laws at your location so you don’t run into issues later. Hiring an accountant or tax professional can help you navigate bigger financial decisions and understand all the requirements.

A Location-Independent Lifestyle Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

The process of preparation is long, but it’s necessary when you’re embarking on such a major lifestyle change. Always remember to take your time and learn as much as you can about location-independent work.

Seriously consider hiring a travel professional who specializes in long-term travel—he or she can make the process easier for you. Talking to a pro will help you put your plans into perspective and give you insight that you might not find on your own. Whether you’ve been working for years and want to change the direction of your career, or you’ve just finished high school or college, independent travel can change your life for the better.