The year’s end is just around the corner, and you, along with thousands of freelancers, are probably planning that well-deserved vacation to get 2020 off to a great start!
One of the nicest advantages of freelance life is that it offers you a lot of freedom to organize your calendar and take those trips you always dreamed about. However, your wallet isn’t always as flexible as your time, and it’s easy for a long vacation to leave you in the red.
Here are seven tips for globetrotting as an independent professional without hurting your work and your budget.
Take notes and let vacations become a part of your lifestyle—when and how you want them.
1.- Put a variable percentage of your monthly income in your vacation fund.
One of the most important things that freelancers who want to travel need to understand is that the budget for these getaways has to be counted as part of your fixed monthly expenses.
For example, if you want to spend three months per year away from home, you need to have a clear idea of approximately how much it will cost you in terms of plane tickets, other transportation, lodging, meals, etc. Having a realistic budget will help you know how much you have to save month to month to keep from finding your bank balance at zero when you get back from that tropical paradise.
If your income fluctuates a lot, you could also choose to establish a fixed percentage for the vacation fund. This percentage could even increase when you have a really good month. The important thing is that instead of spending that money impulsively, you set it aside for peace of mind for your vacation season.
2.- Invest in trip insurance.
If unexpected expenses are frequent at home, imagine the unexpected expenses that could come up while traveling. No matter how carefully you plan your itinerary, your plans could always hit a snag. Missing a flight, arriving at an AirBnB that wasn’t what you expected, getting sick, or having an accident are things that really could happen to you. If you aren’t protected by trip insurance, these unpleasant experiences could become even worse.
Traveler’s insurance in all its forms is a smart investment, especially when you visit a destination for the first time and face new situations, places, and people.
We’ve already mentioned the importance of freelancers having major medical insurance. la importancia que tiene para los freelancers contar con un seguro de gastos médicos mayores. Even if you already have a medical plan, if you go on adventures often, be sure your plan also has coverage abroad. Also, almost anytime you purchase flights or reserve lodging online, there are protection options for a reasonable fee.
3.- Plan and book ahead of time.
It’s much better to set aside a little time all throughout the year to hunt for deals and look for hip and budget-friendly destinations, rather than deciding in March to go to Italy in June. Planning ahead also lowers direct costs a ton, especially for plane tickets.
You can do this experiment right now: price a flight leaving this Saturday for your destination. Now price the same flights leaving on a Tuesday five months from now. You’ll see that the different could be more than fifty-five percent of the cost.
4.- Look for credit cards with exclusive travel benefits.
Many credit cards have special benefits for travelers. These tend to have monthly fees that are little more expensive, but if you’re a freelancer and part of your lifestyle is vacationing whenever you can, this is more of an investment than an expense.
From airline miles to health insurance and discounts or free nights of lodging, if you’ve taken advantage of these perks as much as possible, your earnings could translate into hundreds or even thousands of dollars by the end of the year. Don’t forget to always read the fine print carefully.
5.- Opt for longer trips and working part-time.
Although vacations are for relaxing and forgetting about stress, many traveling freelancers believe that, for traveling around the world, the best option financially is to plan long trips that allow you to settle for a few months in one place and continue generating income, even if you slow down the pace a little bit.
For example, you can go to the beach for two weeks, stay at a hotel, and not work at all during that time, or you can go for two months, rent a room in an AirBnB close to the beach, and only work two to three hours in the afternoons, balancing your time as well as your bank account.
6.- Live like a local.
Just as its cheaper to rent a small apartment or AirBnB than to stay in hotels for tourists, it’s also much cheaper to be a “local” consumer—shopping and eating out where the locals do.
You don’t have to eat out every day at an expensive restaurant to experience the typical cuisine of the area—in reality, it’s much better to ask the locals where the best and most affordable places to eat are. Furthermore, if you stay at the right place, you’ll also have the chance to prepare your own food with local ingredients, which represents significant savings.
7.- Let your clients know! (and find a backup freelancer)
Finally, to control your workflow a little better and accept only the jobs you want during vacation, it helps to let your ongoing or recurring clients know that you’re going to be less available. As another option, you could always form a partnership with a colleague whose work is as stellar as yours and whom you trust completely. He or she can be in charge of any projects that come up, while you focus on globetrotting with no worries.
When your colleague is the one traveling, you can return the favor and increase your earnings at the same time. It’s a “win, win” for everyone.
At Workana, we love the freelance lifestyle, and we know that work isn’t everything. So, if you’re going on vacation this holiday season, do it guilt-free and enjoy—always while making smart investments.
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