Working Remotely Abroad with a Family: How to Choose a City

Working Remotely Abroad with a Family: How to Choose a City

Where to workation
Leaving for New Zealand. We arrived 32 hours later.

Here are the top factors we consider when planning a workation. These tips are for workations abroad, but this woman does a great job talking about her family’s decision to take a workation in southern California (I don’t know Becca, but she’s a fellow Midwesterner so I’m assuming she’s awesome).

Do you have any personal connections there? Our first workation was in Barcelona where we had friends who were extremely generous in letting us live with them and work out of their office. Since my Spanish major from college has faded, they also helped with cultural/language questions and logistics like renting a car, hiring a nanny, etc.

So, do you know someone who lives in a great location?

Maybe you can’t move in with them, but could they give you recommendations on good neighborhoods, kids activities, coworking locations, etc.?

Put out multiple requests on your social media channels to ask people if they have connections in the places you’re thinking of (your workation isn’t someone else’s priority, so put out a few reminders that you need help!). When we decided on London, it turned out that a friend’s friend gave us a great recommendation for an affordable nanny agency.

Do you have any work connections there? Does your employer have an office abroad or in another state? Could you work out of it? Does the company you work for have a partner or subsidiary somewhere else? Could you work on-site for a customer for a few weeks or months? We decided on London for our spring 2017 workation because my husband’s employer has an office there, which makes it easy for him to stay connected with his work/systems, and even build out some new relationships in the company.

What’s the currency exchange? There’s a huge range of what you’ll spend on a workation, but housing and child care services will likely be your biggest in-country costs. Do a bit of initial research and figure out average costs for the major expenses:

  • Housing (e.g. via an AirBnB search)
  • Coworking space
  • Childcare (e.g. look at 2-3 nanny agencies if you have young kids)

Then factor in the exchange rates to figure out where your U.S. Dollar will stretch the farthest. (here’s a link to Google’s currency converter)

Is language a factor? I love the excitement of traveling in a country that doesn’t speak English, but when dealing with as many logistics (especially kid-related logistics) as we do for a workation, I love going to a country that speaks English because I don’t have any doubts about what’s being communicated! Figure out whether the language matters to you and that can narrow your options.

What’s the time difference? When we worked from New Zealand for 6 weeks, the time difference (19 hours ahead) could be a killer – my husband had to get up regularly for conference calls at 3:30 a.m.

Know what’s realistic for you and think about how much flexibility you have to change your standing meetings/conference call times if needed.

The world’s a big place, but once you start prioritizing you can quickly narrow your choices. And then comes the fun part: Planning! In upcoming posts I’ll delve into the details of how to find housing, office space and childcare in another country.

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