6 tips for how to crush it while working remotely abroad

digital nomad how to work remote abroad travel

Written by guest blogger Emily Holbrook

For the past year, I’ve worked remotely in 14 countries throughout Europe, Africa, and South America. During this time, I’ve not only amassed amazing photos, profound cultural experiences, and unusual sicknesses, but also the knowledge of what works and doesn’t work when … well, working.

The following is a summation of what I’ve found helpful in my travel/work lifestyle.

The Gadgets

Get a laptop stand and save your neck

The laptop stand has played a key role in my ability to work from anywhere without turning into a hunchback. It’s lightweight, collapsible, comes in an array of fun colors and is easy to stuff in a daypack. Though maybe not ideal for the casual coffeehouse work session, it’s has been crucial to my home and workspace setup.

Try these ones:

You’ll need a keyboard and mouse, too

When you commit to a laptop stand, you also have to commit to the requisite external keyboard and Bluetooth mouse. Both are lightweight and slim, making it easy to travel, and, of course, come in fun colors.

You can go high-end and spend close to $200 on an Apple mouse and keyboard or get non-Apple products for under $40 on Amazon. I chose the latter, and with the exception of my mouse not having Bluetooth capability (it’s USB-enabled), I’m quite pleased.

Try these ones:

The Apps

For work

Work Hard Anywhere is a fun little app that pulls up your current location and shows you cafes, coffee shops, libraries, and any other work-conducive space in your vicinity. Just click on an icon within the map and you can view how other patrons have rated the establishment’s Wi-Fi strength, number of electrical outlets, parking availability and seating comfort.

I’ve used this throughout Europe and South America. Keep in mind that some cities are more populated with this app, while other cities have no crowdsourced data just yet.

For play

Day Pass is another app that I truly love. Sometimes traveling, sleeping in various European brick-beds and working all hours of the night can take a toll on your body and your motivation. I use Day Pass to find a nearby spa or pool (or both!) to book a day to unwind and relax.

With Day Pass you can choose all-inclusive, beach, gym, pool or spa. Then choose your city and date. Similar to the Hotel Tonight app, results show with price, hours, amenities and photos. You can book your indulgence straight from the app.

The Necessities 

Don’t skimp on travel insurance

Travel insurance is no fun to talk about or write about, but alas, it is a necessity. As a freelancer, I am not covered under any big-name insurer from an employer, but I need protection against illness, accidents or lost luggage.

I chose World Nomads for travel insurance simply because the company targets exactly who I am – a world nomad. What’s great about this company is they also cover accidents related to more than 200 adventure activities. And accidents do happen. A fellow traveler recently broke her leg in three places while on a side trip in Colombia. She had to have surgery and physical therapy and her travel insurance covered almost all expenses.

Don’t lose your entertainment

Hulu and Netflix are not available in most countries outside of the U.S. For that sole reason, I’ve put Virtual Private Network (VPN) under the “necessities” category. With all the technical jargon aside, a VPN allows your computer to say you’re using it in the United States even if you’re in Cambodia or Cameroon. Thus, you may use Netflix and Hulu.

This may sound like an insignificant tip, but after a long day’s work in an unfamiliar country, it’s nice to relax with the comforts of home, however few you may have. Check out this guide for how to set up a VPN on both PC and Mac.

Emily Holbrook is the owner and head content creator at Red Label Writing, LLC. She’s currently writing from Medellin, Colombia.


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