Working While Traveling Overseas


Are you finally taking that trip to Europe or Asia? Making good on that cruise you promised yourself? This is excellent news. Still, if you’re the boss (or the person who keeps things running around the office) there may be an expectation that you will be checking in while you are away. Here are some tips on how to do that successfully:

Allow yourself to relax.
Remember that taking time away for yourself is critical to your well-being, and your well-being is critical to the well-being of your business. Complete whatever work you can in advance, so that you will be able to disconnect from business matters as much as possible while you’re away.

Set reasonable expectations.
If you feel you must check in daily, select a time (no more 30-60 minutes) when you can look over emails and respond to anything that requires your immediate attention. Choose a time period that is within normal work hours back home, and make sure everyone knows that you’ll be checking in (and when you expect to do so). Be sure to relay to them that you will not be handling tasks beyond simple email replies. (You are meant to be relaxing, after all.)

If you feel the day-to-day business operations can survive without a daily check-in from you, perhaps you can check in every few days instead. If you have a great partner or assistant whom you trust to monitor your emails and phone calls, you may be able to avoid firm check-ins altogether, and instead rely on them to alert you via text or phone call if something requires your immediate attention.

Be certain you can stay in touch.
Check with your phone service provider to ensure that you will be able to send emails and, if necessary, make calls while abroad; even today, this is not always possible everywhere in the world. Check with your lodgers (hotels, cruise lines, etc.) and see what their Internet situation might be. Some phones allow you to make calls over Wi-Fi, and that may come in handy (and/or prove less expensive than purchasing an international calling plan).

Have a backup plan in place.
It makes good sense to be aware of any business centers in hotels you are staying in, or nearby Internet cafes. Don’t bring your laptop, unless you’re on a writing retreat or the like. Ask ahead and see if you will be able to Skype from the business centers, if necessary.

If you lose your phone (or find that it doesn’t operate the way you planned), you might consider purchasing a “burner” phone in your destination country – something inexpensive that will work well in the areas you’ll be visiting.

Be sure you know how to log in.
Don’t forget to look up and memorize (do not write down) login information that you may need in the event that you must utilize a ‘burner’ phone, and/or the computers in hotel business centers. These days many of us are so accustomed to logging in with a ‘Touch ID’ or via browsers that have saved our passwords, we may no longer be able to easily recall vital login and password information.

These ideas are not meant to foster anxiety about what might happen, but merely help you plan for a headache-free trip. The main idea is, of course, to relax and unwind, and you won’t truly be able to do that if you’re concerned about work.


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