How to combine the work of a freelance designer with travel

Original author: Carrie Cousins
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The life of a freelancer-designer is not always as charming as it might seem at first glance. It often happens that you just need to do a certain job, even if it intersects with a planned trip.

Sometimes you have to do freelance work during a trip related to work (another type of activity or another freelance), and sometimes it happens that you have to finish some work during an entertaining trip. And although we do not really like to discuss this, there are some tricks and tools that allow you to more effectively use your time on trips.

My personal story

Despite the fact that I write often, you will not find among my works a large number of personal stories. But today is a special case. I am a freelancer. In addition, I have a permanent job. And I travel.

So, most of the tips listed in this article are taken directly from my personal experience. Over the years, I have developed several techniques and discovered a number of tools and techniques that make it easier to combine work and travel. The best advice I can give you is not to work on trips during the holidays, weekends and holidays (take a break, finally)!

This is not always possible, but you should strive for it. If you travel by completing tasks related to another job, then understanding what needs to be done when you are not at work is the first step to becoming a freelance designer who travels.

Make sure you have internet access

Very few projects can be completed and transferred to the customer without an internet connection. Before you book a hotel or plan a trip, you need to find out what is connected to the Internet and whether there will be Wi-Fi access (there are still many “dead zones”).

Another option is to buy a portable hotspot and take it with you when traveling. In this regard, I like the Karma, a portable prepaid Wi-Fi hub (it actually eliminates most of the problems if you spend a lot of time traveling. If you are something like me, you probably also hate Wi -Fi and connection quality at airports).

Use remote access tools or cloud storage

Before leaving the city, make sure that you can access your documents at any time. This may mean storing information in a laptop’s memory, in the cloud, or in a configured VPN network that provides access to the files you need.

I'm a fan of Dropbox, but there are a few more options. Adobe Creative Cloud users get access to the work file and library repository almost automatically when they pay for a subscription. In addition, there are other companies providing similar services.

Stock up on cords and adapters

It is rather difficult to describe in words why it is necessary to make sure that you have cables for all occasions. If you are traveling to other countries, you just need a cable that will work anywhere throughout your trip (electrical outlets in different countries have different designs). The battery of your device (phone, laptop, or other gadget) will certainly run out before the completion of a large project. Always have the appropriate cable on hand.

Buying cables and adapters in advance at home will save you a ton of money. Cheap cables can be bought at airports or hotels, but in most cases at these points of sale they come with a huge margin.
Get a convenient case for trifles

Regarding technical issues, one of the things that every traveler simply needs to have with him is a solid suitcase. You need something light and durable, which allows you to protect things from mechanical damage. Most likely you need a larger suitcase than you think.

During my first trip as a freelancer, I took out a great laptop bag, which perfectly fit the laptop and charger. And that’s all. I had to stuff USB cables, a card reader and a mouse into another bag (not so perfect). Of course, this bag went into luggage, so I was left at the airport without tools that make work simple and enjoyable (I, of course, learned this lesson).

Create a travel order

Before the trip, think over the procedure for what and how to pack. Store things in strictly defined places and use the same procedure for collecting necessary things to reduce the likelihood of forgetting something.

Such an order will help you to feel calm and confident in your trip and work, and will give confidence that you have not forgotten anything.

Download all updates

Log in to all programs constantly - especially for Adobe Creative Cloud users who must be logged in every 30 days - and download updates, ping servers and check the activity and performance of accounts. If you work mainly with a PC and travel with a laptop, this is especially important.

Check all programs for performance. Make sure that all fonts and tools are installed and ready to use, and do not require a preliminary Internet connection.

Back up

Nobody wants to think that technology can be stolen or it can be lost, but the likelihood of this in travel increases. Make sure that you have backup copies of all your work in a place that you can immediately access if you lose your computer.

Personally, I prefer to carry an external hard drive. I create daily copies of all the information on my laptop and store it separately from the computer (for example, my laptop goes to a computer suitcase, and the hard drive to luggage or purse). A hard drive is relatively inexpensive, may contain an exact copy of your work and file system, and is easy to use in the absence of any other tools.

Take decent clothes with you.

If you travel for work, it does not raise questions at all. But what if you are on vacation?

It is always worth taking decent clothes with you, in case you need to meet a client. If you work as a freelancer, then you can meet potential customers everywhere. Do not miss the opportunity to impress and add a client (or work) to your portfolio.

Print a list of contacts and places

Despite the fact that most of your contacts and the travel schedule are likely to be stored digitally, print a backup copy and store it in your hand luggage or computer bag. Despite the fact that during the trip you will have access to the Internet, there is always the possibility that you will need information, but will not have access.

A printed copy will never let you down.

Such a printed list should describe all points of the route with all stops, addresses and contacts (if necessary). You should also have a list of all clients for current projects. A printed list can save you time if you need to call back or reply to a message while traveling.

Plan your working hours

The most important thing to do if you plan to combine freelance and travel is to determine the specific time of work. Put this time in the calendar, if necessary, but you must clearly know how many hours you need to complete the work, and plan them.

Working during a conference, business trip, or vacation can be especially difficult. Before leaving, you need to determine for yourself working hours. And consider the time zone shift, if necessary. You may need to work early in the morning or late in the evening to synchronize customer service.

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