A quick freelancer’s guide to planning a real holiday

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Although freelancing can give you the freedom to set your own schedule it can become a challenge to take any real time off. We offer some tips to planning your holiday if you have taken up a freelancing lifestyle.

According to the results of a survey by HoneyBook released in July 2019, 92% of U.S. freelancers work while on holiday and 60% of those do so because they feel they “have to”. Taking proper time off from professional duties is a requirement for staying sane and healthy so the statistic should be a concern for anyone who is self-employed. As it’s likely that freelancers from every part of the globe are not taking much down time, how can freelancers, wherever they are located, organise real time off without having to focus on work at the same time?

Plan your finances to make up for lost revenue

If you aren’t working, you aren’t getting paid. That’s how freelancer life works. So, you need to plan for how to keep revenue streams coming in while you are away or work extra before you go. You can do that by:

  • Notifying clients well in advance

Let clients know well in advance that you plan to take time off. Be clear about dates, if you can or can’t be reached during that time and how you can be contacted in an emergency. Ask them if they would like you to turn in work ahead of schedule.

  • Setting up an exchange with a trusted colleague

Depending on your line of work one way of completely unplugging while on holiday is to arrange back-up by a trusted colleague while you are away. They can answer calls, emails and perhaps even do some of the unexpected urgent work that comes up. You do the same for them when they need to go away on the proviso that neither of you takes on each other’s clients as your own.

Keep in mind that you might be on a budget when you come back

Along with saving for the extra spending that taking time off can bring, you’ll also have to remember that finances will be tighter once you get back from your break as your cashflow will be interrupted. The month after your holiday is when you will most likely feel the pinch. A couple of ways you can cushion that impact include:

  • Find alternatives to make your vacation more affordable

Making your vacation more affordable in the first place can reduce cashflow stress when you return and will mean you are more likely to take that much-needed break. Consider looking at housesitting or home exchange websites. Sign up and take your vacation while looking after other people’s homes and/or pets or exchanging your own home for somebody else’s. It’s a win-win for everyone involved and completely cuts out the cost of accommodation.

  • Take advantage of your business trips

Another option is to extend a business, networking or conference trip and tack your holiday on to the end. Travel costs are then part of your usual business costs – or paid for directly by clients if you’re fortunate enough – and any additional days are all that you will have to pay for out of pocket.

Despite all your best plans work might creep in. In the end the freelance life is what it is. You may have to answer the occasional urgent call or email from a client or end up finishing some work that was left over from before you left, but make sure it doesn’t take over your holiday entirely. Ring-fence time to deal with those small tasks and then get back to your main duty of relaxing.

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