Take a freelance vacation without regrets with these 10 tips
When you work for an employer, annual vacation leave is something that is taken for granted as part of the work calendar, but when you have been self-employed for a while you realize that, despite the flexibility that this type of work offers you, you also need a few days off to replenish your energy and clear your mind; But in this case it is you who must plan your vacation as a freelancer .
Without a doubt, one of the great advantages of freelance work is the possibility of taking care of your personal and work affairs without having to request permission from anyone. But this does not necessarily mean that you have a lot of free time or that you spend it resting. On the contrary, sometimes freelance work can extend for more working hours per week . As a freelancer, you know what it’s like to work at night, early mornings, and weekends, even Sundays, when others rest. Furthermore, since you are at home, you usually also have a good part of the domestic workload.
Depending on the number of clients and projects you have, this can be really exhausting.
But you will also have noticed that there are times of the year when work is little . Those slow times can be the ideal time to take a few days off from work. Some days away when you don’t have to answer the phone or email, or stay up late working, or deal with changes or corrections that always arrive.
However, not being well organized to plan your vacation as a freelancer can ultimately make you give up taking days off. This, of course, is counterproductive, since we all need free time, some recreation and rest from the work environment.
Therefore, now we will give you some tips on how you can plan a well-deserved vacation as a freelancer without feeling overwhelmed or guilty for leaving everything for a while:
1. Identify a low work season
If you have been working freelance for some time, think about what times of the year you have less workload. Possibly, when companies also have vacation periods, many people take a few days off. For example, at Easter or at Christmas and New Year’s time. January is also usually a month with little work activity.
However, this depends a bit on the type of clients you have. Take some time to analyze what your last few years have been like in terms of the number of projects you receive and mark on the calendar when that time may be.
If you tend to always have a lot of work, you should think about a time of year when you can not take on some projects to clear your work desk.
Also, think about how long you can really be away: A week, fifteen days. This is completely up to you.
2. Choose a destination
If you have already identified an estimated date, the next step is to choose the place where you plan to take your vacation. This also depends a little on the number of days you consider you will have available. For example, taking a few days to vacation in your city or in a destination close to your home is not the same as if you plan to leave the country.
Be flexible about this, as you don’t need to go far if you’re short on time. You can locate good places to visit or see events and activities to do near where you live.
If you are thinking of staying abroad, it is important to also check the availability of hotels or hostels in the place you plan to visit, as well as the availability of transportation, such as flights or ground transportation tickets.
A good idea is to use hotel and flight search engine tools, such as TripAdvisor. Another option is to find a place to stay on Airbnb.
Next, note the availability of possible locations, transportation, and entrance fees to places you plan to visit and the fees they charge.
3. Do the numbers
Once you have a clear idea of your destination and the price of the services you are going to use, also think about how much money you may need for daily expenses: Taxis, food, event tickets, local purchases, etc.
Remember that many hostels offer accommodation and breakfast, but the rest of the meals per day are at your own expense. Write everything down and make a budget. Also, if you are going to take an extra day or two when you return from vacation to catch up before returning to work, write down your daily spending at home, because when you return you will want to have some cash available while you get paid for your next project.
To the sum of the entire budget, add an emergency fund for any eventuality.
4. Save money
When you have an estimate of how much everything will cost you, it’s time to start a savings plan. Don’t use the money you already have available to spend all at once. Remember that when you return there will be a few days in which you will have to work on progress on your projects to get paid again.
Calculate how much money you earn in the month and how much of it you can keep aside. Make a commitment not to touch that money.
5. Schedule your days away
At this point, you are clear about your destination, available dates, places to stay, and budget for the trip. It’s time to specifically schedule your vacation as a freelancer.
Make sure you have the required documentation in order. Then you can buy your plane or transportation tickets and reserve your hotel. Print and save everything in one place to have it on hand when traveling.
Also, prepare ahead of time what you are going to take on your trip. This does not mean that you already pack everything in a suitcase, but it does mean that you think about what things you can take and what not so that you are not in a hurry or forget something on the last day.
You can make a list of what you will need for your trip and check off as you pack.
It is recommended that you make your reservation 3 or 4 weeks in advance to avoid last minute surprises.
6. Ask for help if necessary
If you have something that will need some supervision while you’re away or if you have a last-minute project, consider asking a friend in the same area for help who can make progress on simple things while you’re away.
For example, if you have thought about taking a day off, but when you return you will need to work on a design for printing, you can ask someone you trust to start working on editing the images or converting them to CMYK. It all depends on the type of work it is.
Do this only if it is really necessary, and if so, you can agree on an amount for the fee with the person who will help you. Keep this in mind when you return, but try not to pay for it out of your vacation budget. Agree on a payment and a payment date.
If you don’t know anyone, you can outsource yourself to a freelancer to help you with specific things. SoyFreelancer.com has an escrow system and a work console for freelancers to place advances so that payment can be released upon delivery on the agreed date.
7. Tell your clients that you will be away.
If you already have everything ready, it’s time to notify your clients that you will be away and what days they will be. That way, you don’t run the risk of them calling you without knowing and believing that you have changed your number or that you didn’t want to respond.
Start by notifying your most important clients or those with whom you have the most communication and leave the rest for last. But don’t leave anyone out.
8. Put a signature on your email in advance
Even if you have already done the previous step and notified everyone, it is highly advisable that you modify your email signature by adding an announcement that you will be away.
The recommended is one or two weeks, depending on the time you will take off. If you are going to be away for two weeks, it is better to give enough notice.
To do this, go to your email settings and add the notification to the signature reminding you of the days you will be away. That way, the last few days, the people you come into contact with will know that you won’t be available for a few days.
9. Add an autoresponder to your email
Two days before you go on vacation, create an “out of office” automated response . Some emails already have one configured so that you only activate it, but you can customize it with the message you prefer.
If you have left someone in charge, you can tell them to contact that person or call a specific number. If not, just indicate the date on which you will be back again.
Don’t forget to turn off automatic reply when you return.
10. Remove email notifications from your phone
This is something that not many will tell you, but it is necessary that you do it if you really want to feel like you are resting and enjoying your vacation as a freelancer.
Turn off email syncing on your phone. Don’t be tempted to quit “for whatever reason.” Remember that the idea is for you to relax and disconnect from everything.
If you have a fan page, also leave an automatic response and deactivate page manager notifications. Also, from any professional social network.
In fact, it is preferable that you deactivate all notifications from your social networks and dedicate yourself to enjoying the trip. The idea of taking vacations as a freelancer is not to have more time to look at your phone. It’s not working from the beach either. The idea is to enjoy a change of environment. Break the routine.
Remember that recreation and rest are essential for every worker, not only permanent, but also freelance. That way, you will have more energy and fresh ideas for your next projects.