One of the great advantages of being a solo entrepreneur is flexibility. You can work from your home office, from a commercial office, from the local coffee shop, or from your favorite vacation destination halfway across the globe—IF you have the right tools.
In my years as an entrepreneur, I’ve worked from many remote locations and I have found there are a few things that make working on the road easier and more productive. Today’s post is about the hardware and other tools I find useful; my next installment in this series will cover the apps I find most useful.
To work on the road and stay in touch with clients, colleagues and suppliers you’ll need a laptop, tablet and/or Smartphone. Which one (or ones) you need is entirely up to your working style. Personally, I favor my Chromebook and Samsung Galaxy Phone. Because I’m a photographer, I also carry a portable hard drive so I can download and back up all my image files.
Beyond a computer, there are three other tools you should carry with you.
You never know when you’re going to get low on juice—and there’s not much more frustrating than a dead cell phone or tablet. It’s not always convenient to plug in and charge, so having a power bank that you can use on the go saves all kinds of stress, especially one that will give you multiple charges before you need to recharge the charger.
Mobile Wifi Hotspot
When I travel I try to always choose hotels with free wifi, but sometimes they either don’t have it or the signal is so bad I can’t connect. The solution? A Wifi hotspot. While you can certainly visit any number of locations that offer free wifi, sometimes you want to be able to work where you want to work—and that’s where a Mobile Hotspot comes in. Mobile Hotspots are available through your mobile carrier or at Amazon.com.
Hotel room outlets drive me crazy. Either I have to plug something in in the bathroom, or I find myself reaching behind beds or on the floor to get enough places to plug in all my chargers. Or at least I did until I discovered a combination power strip and USB charger. Now I can use the one outlet that’s somewhere near a desk or table and charge all my devices at once. This also means I don’t have to worry about whether I brought the right charger for the right device. I just need a supply of USB cords—and I keep them with my power strip—and I am all set. An added bonus on my favorite power strip? It doubles as an international power converter and works in the US/UK/EU and Australia (though I haven’t personally tested Australia yet).
Notebook and Pens
Yes, the paper kind. Sometimes when you travel it either isn’t convenient to use your electronics or you’re out of range. I carry a small notebook and something to write with everywhere I go because I never know when I’ll need to jot down a good idea or someone’s contact information. And it has to be pretty because I’m a sucker for cool office supplies.
You don’t need a lot of complicated equipment to work on the road, but these few well-chosen tools will make sure that your travels don’t end up being all work and no play. And stay tuned for part 2, where I’ll cover my favorite apps for working on the road.
Do you take your work with you when you travel? What tools have you found to be indispensable for working on the road? Please share in the comments.
Good tips…I already use almost all of these being a lot on the road and often needing to do social media in the middle of vineyards or similar. So a power bank is always essential. Will look into the power strip though, seems like a good solution.
These are all super important. Wifi is the one that is in my mind the most at the moment as I am away with family and really struggling to get connection. Super frustrating. I am currently using my phone as a hot spot.
That is frustrating, Stacey. Being able to have that hotspot on my phone has been a lifesaver more than once. Not my favorite option for wifi, but every now and then it certainly comes in handy, doesn’t it?
Another great tip if you are travel worldwide is definite a data plan that works in many countries. Unfortunately not all countries have that.
Definitely. I hate running up against the foreign data issues or having my phone not work like it ought to when I travel to another country. A worldwide data plan–and a device that works with it is a big plus.
Maria – As a real estate professional, I am on the road ALL THE TIME. I didnt think I would learn anything new from your post, but so glad I read anyway! I had no idea Amazon sold portable wifi!! That is so awesome! A true must have for a business person on the road – especially if you dont want to kill all the data on your phone plan – thanks!
Great list! I travel regularly so these are important. Powerful wifi at hotels and bed and breakfast places are what I particularly need when I am overseas. I have my power chord and adapters in a separate bag to make sure I have everything I need.
There is little more frustrating when we travel and work than having wifi that doesn’t do the job. If they don’t advertise wifi, I don’t expect it, but when they tell me I’ll have it, it’s hard when it doesn’t work. I always pack all my cords and cables and adapters in their own bag with my electronics too.
Love the power strip/USB charger combo! I think I need one of those.
Handiest thing ever, Carol. Now I don’t have to worry about remembering whether I brought the charger plug or whether the room has enough outlets. I just keep charging cables packed with my power strip and I am good to go.
Electronics essential and then WIFI, but it’s also nice to switch off for a day or two.
I’m going away end of the month for a week, was going to take my laptop, but have decided I’ll do the essentials from my phone, I need to switch off.
So true. On my last trip, we actually planned a few days that were pretty much off the grid–camping and hiking in some national parks. As much as I love my online life, I love to unplug and just enjoy life when I travel. If it’s vacation time, I make sure there are days with no work at all in there.
Thank you for this. I have to admit, it is a learning process to be on the road and in contact with our social media presence. Every time I travel, I find something else I needed to bring and did not.
Appreciate the time you took to post. Happy to share to avert others hassles when traveling.
You are most welcome, Celea. It is definitely a learning process. Every time I go, I think of new things that would be nice to have–and things I can leave at home on the next trip.
I always have these with me especially the power bank, it is a life saver especially when on the go. Thanks for sharing
I always travel with a power strip, but I think I may upgrade mine to one like what you showed here. That cuts down on some of the cables and chargers I would have to carry with me. I remember on a trip home from Europe, we got delayed and were the only people at our gate with a power strip. Guess who got all the free drinks that day? 🙂
An added bonus I hadn’t thought of, Jennifer. But yes, the power strips and chargers are definitely lifesavers on the road.
I take my work with me wherever I go for sure! Many times our multi-outlet charger/power strip has come in handy. Reaching behind the bed or under anything in a hotel is a not an option for me, lol! Investing in a power bank is smart, and I’ll look into that. Great list!
Yeah, I’m not much of a fan of digging around behind the bed either. I don’t want to know what lurks under a hotel bed–just in case. . .
I’m not familiar Power Strip Charger, might look if there is an EU one as it looks dead handy! I love the fact you added in the note book, it’s a great fail safe to have and I always have one with me.
I only got a power charger recently when I won one, I wouldn’t be without it now, especially since the kids keep using my phone for Pokemon Go!
Great round up of information.
Funny how we don’t realize how much we needed something until we finally get it, isn’t it, Melanie? I am sure they have the power strips with the chargers for EU. The one I have has the EU adapter with it–I actually bought it for my trip to Ireland and it turned out to be a lifesaver with all the USB ports on it. Now I take it everywhere.
I look forward to your article about the best apps to use. I had to laugh about paper and pen. I absolutely love using my paper planner to keep me focused and on track. I have my own extension cord and such when I travel to and it has saved me many a time. Such a great investment.
It’s funny how many people don’t think about the pen and paper anymore, but it’s still sometimes the best way to share information. I’ve used my notebook for reminders, ideas, to write down information and give it to someone while I’m out (try that with cell phone and no signal). Even with all my computer apps, I still have a paper planner too. It really helps me see how much I’m piling on my plate.
I too love the flexibility of being a solo entrepreneur and having the ability to work remotely! There’s nothing like it. I don’t tend to travel too much especially if I have to work while doing so, but I do enjoy working from home and know that I can still work if I need to travel. I’m a notebook and pen girl too! This would be a great article to re-purpose later and share on LinkedIn pulse! To flexibility!
Thanks, Geniece. I am thinking the same thing, especially since it will have a part 2 that will cover my go-to apps.
Great tips. I am on the road as we speak and wish I had The power strip charger
Of all the travel tools I have purchased, I think that one has turned out to be the most useful of them all.
Excellent article! I had most of the items, but love that converter with charging ports. Will soon be acquiring one!
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