Your Freelance Holiday: How to Take Time Off!

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A freelance holiday isn’t quite the same as a holiday for people with a traditional job…

Even those freelancers planning a full-on “tech detox” usually need to keep half an eye on what’s going on with their business – which means Wi-Fi connectivity is always a must!

In many cases, a freelance holiday is a holiday where there’s still some work to do, but with the nature of the work making it possible to do it from somewhere exotic or different. The ability to go and work from anywhere is one of the big attractions of the freelance life, and some people take it to the limit and live a truly nomadic lifestyle.

That’s not really what we’re about here at However, we do take advantage of being able to combine business with pleasure sometimes – and it’s always oddly motivating to work from a picturesque balcony or perched on a cosy hotel bed!

With all that in mind, here are some essential tips to help you choose the best destinations and make your next “freelance holiday” enjoyable and free of stress.

You just arrived at your destination – and your office for a few days.

Awesome sights and food await but your battery is running low. You need to charge your phone to send a quick email and do a bank transfer. Wait a minute. The socket in your room looks different – Uh-oh.

One of the major perks of freelancing for many is the ability to work from anywhere in the world. But –  before you fantasize about filling in Excel sheets while sipping cocktails by the pool on some exotic island, consider the points below.

There are a few things freelancers tend to overlook before traveling; information that can actually save us a lot of hassle and wasted hours. Read on to find out what you ought to check beforehand to guarantee your freelance holiday is a stress-free and efficient one.

FTwo different plugs in sockets

1.Electric sockets and voltage 

Failing to take account of electrical voltages can lead to you being unable to use your devices or worse, damaging them. Aside from the difference in socket shapes, you may encounter differences in electricity voltages. Unfortunately, there is no standard for socket shape and voltage across the world.

For a different socket, you will need an adaptor. For a difference in voltage, you will need a converter. The chances are you will be able to borrow an adaptor from your hotel or buy one from a shop nearby.

Luckily, most modern phones and laptops have universal voltage. This means they will work fine between 100-240 volts. Older devices and things like game consoles often only work with a certain voltage. Always check the fine print on your devices and chargers, and ideally have your own converter ready. These are harder to find the more remotely you travel, and always really expensive at airports!

You can find out about mains voltages by country here

PRO TIP: Get yourself a trusted universal adapter for your devices before you travel, and make it one less thing to worry about.

2. Internet Speed

Perhaps you’ve heard of beautiful island destinations where digital nomads drink fresh coconut milk on the beach whilst answering emails on their freelance holidays?

What you didn’t hear is that with the typical internet speed, you could actually have time to climb a tree, grab a coconut and split it open yourself before that email attachment sends!  

Find out ahead of time what the average internet speed is in your destination; If it is considerably slower than you’re used to, you can either mentally prepare yourself, or do the heavy duty work ahead of time (such as downloading big files and completing software updates), saving the lighter tasks for your trip.

You can check here for the typical internet speeds for mobile and fixed broadband, by country.

PRO TIP: Before booking a hotel or resort, have a good flick through the TripAdvisor reviews. You can be sure that if the broadband is notably bad, someone will have moaned about it. If you have a lot of work to do, it’s worth ensuring you stay somewhere where the connection is good – slow Internet can REALLY slow you down.

3. 24-hour Cafés

Imagine working in a quaint café and preparing for a client Skype call in 30 minutes.

You order a second cup of coffee, but when the barista brings it, they tell you that they’re closing in 15 minutes. This is the moment when you realize that the city or town you’re in is about to sleep – just as your clients on the other side of the world are waking up. Yikes.

Luckily, 24-hour or late-night cafes are all over the world now. Do yourself a favor and make a note of them ahead of time. It will save you the stress of looking for an open place at the last minute (and also save you from having to down a hot cup of coffee just before closing time!) 

You can also try this app or this site for curated cafes to work from.

PRO TIP: Join community groups on Facebook whenever you plan to be somewhere abroad for a while; Post questions about favorite late-night or 24-hour cafes – locals and residents will always be the most helpful and useful sources. 

4. Co-working Spaces

Co-working spaces are the world’s answer to the growing population of digital nomads. As a result, such places are used to people coming from (and working with) different timezones. This means they are open longer than a country’s usual business hours or are open 24/7.

Fees vary and will likely be higher than the cost of a cup of coffee at a cafe with free wifi, but in return you’ll usually get more reliable internet speeds and convenient operating hours.

Here is a list of co-working spaces around the world.

PRO TIP: Co-working spaces often have meeting rooms or common areas where you can arrange to see clients – perfect if you need to do some global business on your freelance holiday!

5. Accessing Blocked Sites on your Freelance Holiday

If your freelance work involves social media, it’s essential to know that certain platforms are banned in certain countries.

For example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube are banned in China, and Reddit and Vimeo are blocked in Indonesia. Some people skip destinations with strict internet access but I say don’t miss out on potentially good trips! Just look for a VPN provider that will allow you to “spoof your location,” giving you access to any site, anywhere.

This list of the world’s best VPN providers will help you find a service to suit. You’ll also want to ensure that using a VPN is legal in the country you’re visiting.

PRO TIP: Splash out on a commercial VPN service. They don’t cost very much and are far superior to free offerings – many of which come with limitations or are operated by companies with questionable business practices.

Once you’ve got everything on this list ticked off, you can truly live that freelance holiday dream – just remember to switch off from the tech sometimes and see some sights!

You’ll find more articles on the freelance lifestyle here.

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