5 Ways I Balance Work and Travel as a Freelancer

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Good morning! I flew into New York yesterday from my quick weekend trip to Vancouver, and I definitely need a strong coffee to get through another busy day! I get a lot of questions from readers, friends, even my family about what I exactly “do.” So before I dive into today’s topic, I thought I would give a quick summary of what my LinkedIn would say – I am technically a ‘freelancer.’ “Wait, so you don’t have a real job?” Not true. “So you make your own schedule and am technically your own boss?” Yes, true!

When I moved to New York, I thought I would immediately dive into the 9-5, corporate ladder description. It just so happen that freelance contracts-with great opportunities kept presenting themselves, and I gained amazing experience, even better connections and most importantly, I was really happy. I started my career in editorial print magazines and then jumped ship back to digital media and fashion brands. So what is my job now? Glad you asked – I am a freelance stylist, freelance writer, proud blogger of this little website, and I’m also a fashion contractor. Let’s break that down because that’s a lot to fit onto one business card. 

I am a fashion stylist: I style editorial and commercial photo shoots, style runway shows and I’m also style personal clients. I am a freelance writer: I write for several websites and print magazines. I am a fashion contractor: I am contracted by fashion brands to help in various departments. I mainly work with creative/styling departments on short projects or busy seasons, but I’ve also worked with PR, merchandise and visual departments.

You’re probably thinking, wow that’s a lot. How do you manage everything, and on top of that – how do you travel? I decided to write about this topic today because I’ve been traveling a lot more lately, and I have created five tips that can help freelancers, bloggers, or even your busy 9-5 people have a productive, yet fun, vacation! Enjoy! xo

Organize, Plan and Schedule!

My schedule changes every week so I absolutely have to have an air-tight schedule. I plan out my days the night, or week before and break down my days into hour increments – from what time I have a photo shoot, need to go to the gym, to a meeting, an event, etc. Everything is scheduled throughout the day so I keep on track, or can easily move stuff around if needed.

I do the same for my schedule during trips. I know what days I have to schedule time to work or answer emails, what things I need to bring my camera to for blog stuff, and overall just make a game plan before going into a trip so I don’t get completely off schedule.

Work Ahead of Schedule

This one is a given, but I know sometimes I’m just so excited for a trip, or mentally checked out from work that I don’t plan ahead. I try and get my blog posts that will be published during my trip all done before I leave. I also anticipate any upcoming blog projects I need to start working on the week I get I get back, and I also try to schedule out a day and shoot all of my content at once so I can work ahead of schedule.

Utilize Your Time Wisely

This one is so important! No one really wants to work while they’re on vacation, but if you’re a freelancer, or have a busy work load – you can’t completely check out. About 95% of the time, I buy in-flight wifi so I can work without distractions while traveling. I use this time to answer emails I’ve been putting off, write up blog drafts, edit photos, or start working on more long-term projects. The only time I’m not working on a plane is if it’s a red-eye and your girl needs some sleep.

During my trip I stick to a loose work schedule. I always have my phone on me for any urgent emails, but I schedule time before bed to answer emails, or if there is downtime during the day (like your family is cooking at home, or you’re waiting to go somewhere). I also will post on social media during travel time or at restaurants so I’m not taking time out of my “family/friend or vacation” time.

Keeping a loose work schedule and maximizing the time you have, will help you from completely falling behind on work or having that constant could of guilt (like I do) from not working.

Create Work Opportunities 

Travel is a great opportunity for freelancers, entrepreneurs or bloggers. Where ever I end up traveling,  I try and connect with a local photographer to shoot blog content, I’ll research other local blogs to find great places to stay, eat and visit, and I’ll also do research about the place and if they have any festivals, events, or like-minded activities going on during my trip.

If you’re an entrepreneur, this would be a great way to pitch your product/service in a different local market (spend a couple hours during your trip on these meetings), or if you’re a blogger, create as much fun, unique content as possible.

Set Your OOO and Unplug

This might be hard, but you have to remember that you are actually on vacation so set your “Out of Office” and unplug. On a typical day, I’m glued to my laptop, I’m on social media every hour, and I’m always adding tasks to my to-do list. During trips, I stick to my small work schedule: in-flight work time, an hour here or there, and call it a day.

Also, make sure to schedule a touchbase meeting with your team when you get back into town so you can catch up on anything you might have missed while you were gone – or if you’re on your own, schedule a few hours when you first get back and settled to look through your calendar, due dates, emails, etc. so you feel back on track and ready for the week ahead.

Do you have any tips for balancing work and vacation? I’d love to hear your business hacks below in the comments!

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SHOP THIS LOOK IN THE LINKS BELOW:
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BANDANA | SHIRT | JEANS | ESPADRILLES | BAG

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SHIRT (C/O LADY DUKE) | JEANS (LEVIS) | ESPADRILLES (C/O REPORT) | BAG (C/O IMOSHION) | BANDANA (J.CREW)

PHOTOGRAPHY: SAM KELLY PHOTOGRAPHY

Thank you citizenM for collaborating with me on this post!

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