From Across the Pond: Tips for Working Remotely While Traveling Abroad

Originally posted on PRSA Detroit’s blog, September 2023

When you work remotely, your “office” can be just about anywhere; from your cozy home setup to your favorite coffee shop, or even another country!

Last month, I traveled to Ireland, the Emerald Isle, for two weeks. Prior to this trip, I’d never been out of the United States. I knew there would be a few differences, like driving on the left-hand side of the road, but I had to do some research before I flew out, especially since I planned to work during the weekdays. Here are some ways to balance working remotely and exploring a new country for any PR professional:

Getting set up

Some key items I always check my bags for over and over again are my chargers. After some research, I learned my typical Type A and B power plugs would not work with Ireland’s Type G outlets. While I could have bought some adapters once I arrived, I felt better buying some ahead of time. As a backup, I also brought some portable power banks for my phone.

Scout out workspace

Locate where you can work before you get settled in – look for outlets, reliable wifi, tabletop space, etc. Looking for spaces to work from other than your hotel room or lobby? Ask your front desk concierge for recommendations in the area. It’s also a good idea to have backup locations in case you face any technical difficulties.

My posh remote setup complete with a connected laptop and coffee for the day

Practicing transparency and communication with coworkers

Time zones

Normally, I work in the Eastern Time Zone. While I work with a global team, it was important to let my coworkers know I would be operating in Irish Standard Time, which is five hours ahead. Communicating with your managers and coworkers ahead of time allows you to set realistic expectations and move meetings if needed, so there aren’t any surprises for anyone.

Keep one of your devices set to your standard local time, or use your phone’s world clock in a clock app to know what time it is back home. Make it easy on yourself so you aren’t always trying to convert time in your head.

Calendar blocking

If you have lunch or dinner plans or need to block some time to balance your commitments, I recommend putting those on your work calendar in advance so your colleagues can schedule meetings with you during optimal times. This transparency helps everyone involved so that coworkers know when you’re busy in your temporary time zone while giving you much-needed time for meals and other important activities.

Making connections

Don’t forget to bring your business cards; you never know who you may meet!

Linda Trillhaase is a German musician I met during a casual walk in the park. I sat to listen to her play the accordion and violin. She even played a Norah Jones song just for me. Check out her music at www.lindatrillhaase.de.

I found out the hostess at my hotel’s restaurant is also originally from Indiana, just a few hours from my hometown. We talked about her studies and career goals and how we both ended up in Ireland, about 3,500+ miles away. It truly can be a small world!

Working remotely may not be ideal for everyone, but it can offer more freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere in the world. If you work remotely and have the ability and desire to travel, I highly recommend it. The experience was enriching, and I can’t wait to explore more countries.