Preparing for travel

Workspace consistency: If you want to be productive while travelling, spend some time getting used to the workspace that you will have while abroad. Say goodbye to huge extra monitors, clicky keyboards and a large desk covered in loose papers and postit-notes! This means being very organized about how you track your work.


  • Before you leave, start practicing for your trip. Best to try this and sort out problems while you are still near home!
  • Work from a different part of your house, or work from a different location using only the equipment you packed in your bag. Work on whatever equipment you'll be taking with you. Notice what did not work. Fix it. Try again. Keep doing this until you can work routinely from any location near your home.
  • Keep track of what time each of your usual activities would be taking place at. Use this to help you intentionally establish rituals - Think about the rituals that you use to indicate the start and end of your workday. For example - Ethan puts on his shoes at the beginning of his workday, and takes them off at the end of his workday. John walks to nearby coffee shop at end of day. This helps mentally denote the workday schedule and can be used to establish familiar workday pattern while abroad, too.
  • Research connectivity and coworking spaces before you go. Check reviews on, Airbnb, etc. or look at yelp for coffee shops and internet cafes.
  • Some coworking spaces allow membership in other locations
  • Having a backup space in case your primary workspace falls through will reduce stress!
  • If you work for a US government project:
    • make sure you have access to the CivicActions VPN or a personal VPN. This may be required for security exams, etc.
    • Watch for rules prohibiting working "out of USA" or in certain countries. Similarly, watch for restrictions like "within this state" or "within New England region" (can sometimes be found in medical or state contracts).
    • Talk to your project manager and team. Are there tasks that will fall at an unpleasant time for you in your new time zone? Can they be handed off or can you trade tasks with another coworker?
  • Consider an international data plan or a local pay as you go sim card for your Cell Phone. Keep in mind project fi and T-Mobile automatically update for international travel.
  • Build in a buffer for travel time. Don't expect to be at work 30 minutes after landing in another country!
  • Think about outlets and adapters! Bring extra adapters that can convert to and from your home and travel locations. and complimentary power strips will save a lot of stress.

Medical help

  • Check your health insurance for coverage while traveling and
  • Bring paper copies of prescriptions if they will need to be refilled. Have doctor contact info
  • Do you need any vaccines to travel to your country of choice?


  • Check your country's visa restrictions. How close is your passport to expiring (must be valid for at least 6 months after your planned end-of-trip)?
  • How long can you spend abroad? Do you need a visa?
  • Tourist vs "Working" vs "business travel for meetings".


  • Tell your bank and credit card companies about new address - avoid fraud lockout
  • Have one Visa and one MasterCard (each cards have different fraud protection rules in different countries)
  • Photocopy passport and put in different location, with a spare credit card and some cash


  • Pack your copy of John's book "Distributed Teams". Kindle copy is easier to carry (and available for free to all at CivicActions!)
  • Pack some fun stuff to help you rebalance. Some people upload copies of their favorite movies.
  • Schedule recurring zoom calls with close friends for pure-social reasons. Meet in person while you can, and debug any setup issues (helpful if some are not techies!). This will make it easy to keep in eye-to-eye social contact with friends. This helps you keep in touch with close friends. They'll also be happy to be invited into the ongoing video that is your nomadic work life!