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Lisette’s ultimate recipe for “work holidays”

work holiday is where you leave your home and travel to a new place – with the intention of both working and exploring the world at the same time.

This recipe is not for the traveler who is always on the go, or for the person who only works in one place. It’s for those of us who are exploring the world while working. It’s the ultimate experiment in work-life fusion!

Over the last few work holidays, I’ve put together a recipe for working on the go. And of course, I’m still experimenting and improving.



  • Work Holiday setup1 table (at least 1×1 meter). When 2 people are going on a work holiday together, there should be 2 separate rooms with 2 tables.
  • 1 chair (preferably with a cushion – or a pillow)
  • 1 power converter for the country of travel
  • 1 stable, fast internet connection (ideally). If you’ve been promised stable, high speed internet? Ask for a speed test. If you’re staying in a hotel – check out Hotelwifitest.com!
  • 1 phone. You may be able to rely on Skype for communication, but check the tariffs for how much phone calls actually cost. If the Skype connection is bad, it can be worth it to pay for a phone conversation.
  • 1 headset


  • 1 external monitor. Ideally, it should be able to fit in a backpack or suitcase (Pro tip: get a light-weight monitor whose base can be disassembled).
  • 1 external keyboard
  • 1 extension power cord (you never know where the nearest power sockets will be)
  • 1 power strip (ideally all-in-one with extension cord)
  • 1 extra mobile phone – can be used as a mobile hot spot
  • Extra lighting. Sometimes you’re working in a dark room – or at night. That monitor glow isn’t always flattering. I’m looking forward to trying Chatlight!
  • Whatever you need to be well rested and in your routine for work. For some it’s a coffee mug or a favorite tea, for others it’s a travel pillow.


Pack light! Keep it simple, but don’t economize on technology. Bring the best equipment for the job you need to get done.

Getting set up for productive working can take time. Plan for it.Work Holiday Offices

Privacy considerations:

  • Are you able to have business conversations without other people overhearing or being bothered?
  • How early/late will you be working? Is it socially acceptable to work the hours you want to?
  • Do you need it to be quiet? Is it quiet?
  • Can you work there all day?Lisette Sutherland
  • Will the walls be thin?
  • Can you lock the door?

Location considerations:

  • Will it be blazing hot? Cold?
  • Do you need lighting? Will it be dark?
  • How large of a space do you need?
  • Do you need to look professional?
  • What does your background look like?
  • Are amenities accessible? For example, how far away is the grocery store?

If you’re staying with others, recognize that remote working is weird to most people. Introduce what you’re doing gradually (don’t start with robots). Play well with others. Share your resources. Offer your knowledge. Clean the dishes. Be sociable.


Work Holiday Lisette SutherlandExperiment and establish a routine that works for you.

Most importantly, don’t forget to enjoy where you are – and plan your workload to maximize enjoyment and exploration. For example, don’t attend a conference the week prior to the work holiday. Chances are, you will be tired and will already need extra time to catch up with work, and follow-up with the new people you’ve met.

Make sure you give yourself the space to play.

With good planning and a healthy amusement with the absurd, work holidays have the potential of being the ultimate balance of work-life fusion!

And thank you to Florian for being the ultimate fun life partner.

Have I missed anything? What have you tried? How would you alter the recipe?

10 thoughts on “Lisette’s ultimate recipe for “work holidays””

  1. Lisette, thank you for the inspiring post, that can be used as a checklist “before-you-go”.
    A few more ingredients for a good working vacation for me are:

    – sticking to your workout routine and topping it up (i.e. jogging early morning, but enjoying hiking after work, hence you are in the mountains)
    – attending local, interesting meetups, if in a city
    – adjusting to the timezone quickly by sleeping with open curtains and eating/sleeping like in the new timezone on the plane
    – letting your co-workers/partners know which timezone you are at by adjusting your Skype message for example
    – using a noise cancelling mic like this (e.g. Logitech Headset H600)

  2. Great tips Andrea. Thanks.

    I especially relate to the sticking to your workout routine. I feel better when I do that.

    Florian makes a point of going to local meetups about language and technology. Great way to meet people and see new things.

    Good point about using a good headset. At home, it’s quiet, so I can get away with the cheapies. But when you’re on the road, sometimes the background noise can be loud. In that case, a good headset will be very appreciated.

  3. Hey Lisette!
    Such a great article 😀 I shared it with my co-workers. We are all working remotely from different countries, but very few are traveling at the same time. I hope your article will inspire them 😀
    Thanks Andrea for the noise cancelling mic idea, because even in co-working places there can be a lot of noise.

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