How to Vacation When You Travel For Work

I’ve lost count of the number of times that I sat down to write this article and then walked away. Not because I didn’t think it to be an important topic, in fact, I can’t think of many things that I advocate more strongly for than self-care and knowing when to take a break. Truth is, as the end of the year approaches, I find myself hitting a wall. The creative side of my brain has decided to check out for the holidays, while the logical side remains fully aware of my professional responsibilities and deadlines leading into 2018. It’s time I face the facts: I have a full blown case of Vacation Brain.

It seems a bit odd to talk about going on vacation as I write this from a coworking space along the sunny Red Sea in Egypt. And I imagine that other digital nomads and location independent folks feel the same. But even though I’m surrounded by divers and windsurfers, pristine waters and abundant coral reefs, I’m more often than not parked in front of my computer, not partaking in the same fun as the holidaymakers in my midst. This is the paradox of digital nomadism. Sure, you pick and choose where in the world you want to call your office, but when duty calls, it becomes just another place for your normal work routine.

So, how do you take a break from life when from the outside looking in it looks like you’re already on vacation? After conducting a very scientific study (AKA consulting with other location independent professionals on Facebook) I feel more than qualified to offer up some advice for those of you who know you need to take a proper vacation, but just don’t know how to separate work from pleasure. 

Hit up an all-inclusive

Whether it’s a cruise or a resort, sometimes it does your brain good to not have to worry about the minutiae of planning activities or meals. Just show up, lounge by the pool, hit up the gym and bask in the pleasure of being outside your element for a few days. You can even check in to a local hotel - all that matters is that you allow yourself to experience a change of environment and take a break from your routine.


We’ve already written about the benefits of doing a Digital Detox, and if you can’t squeeze a proper getaway into your schedule, you can find that taking a mental vacation can be almost as good. Turn your house into an electronics and work free space for a few days and clear your mind. 

Take a long weekend

Vacations don’t have to be super elaborate productions. Hit up your friends or family and play tourist for the weekend - do all of the cheesy things, take in all of the sites that a seasoned traveler like you would never typically be interested in and partake in all of the cliché activities. Do something out of your element like camping or go on a random yoga retreat and just BE.

Take a vow of silence

Maybe not literally (although, if you did, that would be kind of cool), but rather, allow yourself a day or two where you don’t communicate with anyone (at least, don’t answer those work emails) and simmer in all the glory that is you and your surroundings. Be still. Enjoy the moment. In our crazy, modern society, it seems as though people have forgotten just how healing and important silence can be.

When you work remotely, a vacation isn’t just about travel but rather knowing when to switch off. Mental vacations are just as necessary as physical ones. Break your routine, explore a new place or even the place where you live, and give yourself a much needed rest from your daily responsibilities. Repeat as often as necessary.