By Hannah & Chris of Love, Play, Work
This month, we have set up our laptops in a beautiful condo in Mexico across the bay from Puerto Vallarta. So how do we manage to combine home exchanging with work?
How we got started
Since 2007, Chris and I have adapted the way we work to allow us to travel and run our business from wherever we like. What started off as a plan to abandon the UK for 2 or 3 of the dreary winter months has blossomed into something much more regular and long term. To begin with, we rented properties in developing countries where the cost of living was a bit lower. This allowed us to maintain our UK home whilst enjoying some winter sun. But in 2010, we stumbled upon HomeExchange.com and the way we travel was changed drastically for the better. Here are just a few tips on how to mix business and pleasure using Home Exchange:
Plan longer Home Exchanges.
We tend to look for Exchanges of a month or more; we’ve learnt that this is the minimum to allow us to settle, get on with our day job, and get to experience all that the new areas has to offer as well. You will never get to do any work if you go away for only a week!
Make sure the Home Exchange has wireless Internet.
Our lifestyle works for us because today’s communication systems mean that we are never too far away from our customers or our team. Most Home Exchange properties have a high speed connection, but we always make sure to double check before we agree to an Exchange. Internet access is our number one necessity when it comes to running our business remotely.
Look for Home Exchanges with inspiring office spaces and locations.
We look for homes which have great views, easy access to hiking or stunning scenery, and accessible amenities; these things help us work more efficiently than we would if we were stuck in the same place for too long. We can work in the morning and weekends, then go out and explore the area in the afternoons when the crowds have died down and everyone else is at work.
Combine a conference with a Home Exchange.
We combine events such as overseas meetings or conferences with Home Exchanges whenever we can. Not only does it save money, your experience of a foreign city will be much richer and more authentic if you’re living like a local instead of a hotel guest.
Choose a Home Exchange in a time zone which fits your work schedule.
Depending on what work you do, you may not need to worry too much about the time difference; in fact, a difference can be an advantage. Imagine going to bed having allocated tasks to a team and waking in the morning to find they have all been completed! However, if you need to hold regular calls or online meetings it may be more convenient to find an Exchange that isn’t more than one or two time zones away.
It’s more accessible than you might think.
Remote working or ‘location independence’ is a growing trend. For as many people who already do it, there are an awful lot more who could but haven’t quite realized it. Some people take off for a month each year, others choose to travel the globe almost permanently. Whether you’ve always wanted the experience of living a tropical beach life in Thailand or skiing a season in the Alps, thinking outside the home office makes it possible.
Do you have any questions about doing longer Home Exchanges or working remotely? Ask us below!
About the Authors
We are Psychologist Hannah and IT expert Chris and we’ve spent 5 years traveling the world whilst running our own business. Home exchanging has been a big part of making that happen! You can learn the 7 refreshing ‘get there quick’ shortcuts to creating your own location independent lifestyle from our loveplaywork.com homepage. You can also follow us on Twitter for updates