Digital nomad life: How to balance work and travel

As someone who has been living as a digital nomad for some time, people often get the impression that I barely work and simply swan around the world whenever I feel like it. This couldn’t be more wrong, and it took me a long time to learn to balance my work and travel. In fact, I often still find that I’ve become unbalanced and either let work slip or have been stuck inside and have barely seen a new destination.

Here are some of my top tips for balancing work and travel as a digital nomad:

Know your priorities

One of the things I learned quickly as a digital nomad is that you could be in the most beautiful place in the world, and if you’re stressing about paying your rent, you’re not going to enjoy it. For me, this means prioritising work most of the time, so that I can truly enjoy myself when I do get to travel. For someone who has built up a lot of savings, this may mean prioritising travel.

Set Boundaries

When you’re working for yourself, it’s crucial that you set boundaries with your clients. And most clients will be very understanding of your boundaries, as long as you know what they are. If you consistently respond to client emails at 10pm, and then get annoyed because clients expect a response, you haven’t made it clear that you’re not actually working that late.

For me, I’ve been getting better at saying things like “I’m in the United States right now and it’s the 4th of July tomorrow, so I’ll be away from my desk. If you need any edits on this, I can do them first thing the following morning.” Clients don’t have a problem with boundaries, as long as you’re clear with them about what they are.

Purchase travel insurance

This goes for any traveler, since you’ll need to be covered in the event of a medical emergency. But it’s also super important for digital nomads, who are usually travelling with a bunch of electronics. If you want your MacBook to be covered when you dump a glass of water on it in a hotel room, this is a crucial purchase. Don’t book anything before you compare travel insurance with Webjet.

Take a break

When you’re lucky enough to work from the road, work tends to be a part of most of your travels as well. But it’s crucial that you actually take a break and enjoy vacations so you can completely relax, refresh, and refocus. There are plenty of cheap holiday packages with Webjet available, so make it a goal to completely step away from work every few months.