Sitting by the pool, working online
Many people are working online in Australia, either remotely for an organisation, as a freelancer or entrepreneur who has set up an online business and/or as a digital nomad. Some are working at home, in a co-working space, in a local cafe with free wifi or from their vehicle as they travel. To be able to have a home office that is a portable office there are certain items you need. As a digital nomad myself, working and travelling around Australia, here is my list of digital tech gear essentials I think you need to have in your portable home office. Because I think, have home office, will travel Australia.
You certainly can’t work online without a computer. My main piece of equipment is my Apple MacBook Air. It is lightweight, durable and has a long battery life. Making it a great portable office item. Of course there are other laptops available including the Acer Chromebook and Microsoft Surface Pro, but my personal choice is the Apple MacBook Air.
Laptop Computer Stand
Being comfortable when you work on your laptop is a must. If not, all sorts of aches and pains can interfere with your productivity. As you travel you may change your office and to adapt to conditions I use a laptop computer stand. It allows me to work on the couch, while laying in bed and while sitting at any table. I simply adjust it to ensure I am comfortable and being as ergonomically-friendly as I can.
Wherever you are working you will need accessories to keep your laptop protected. A hard-shell protective laptop cover which is also water resistant and is padded is ideal for carrying your laptop to different places. I have the Mosiso MacBook Pro 13 inch case which is a perfect example of what you need to protect your most valuable portable home office item.
Chords, attachments and more chords – you have to keep them somewhere. I like to keep all my electronic accessories in my specific electronic accessory bag, this way I know exactly where everything is.
A phone is a must have. If you are taking your office on the road, you will definitely need a phone. Phones are so versatile these days, they can act like a mini computer so you don’t always need to have your laptop with you. I use many features of my smartphone, call and text, email, camera, and a number of apps that help make my work and travel more efficient. I travel with an iPhone X. I just love it for its versatility. It lets me do a lot of things to help my online business.
Powerbanks are wonderful items. They charge your electronic items when you can’t plug in to an electricity supply. Mine comes in very handy when I am working en-route to my next destination. Even though my electronic items have a power supply of around eight hours, I don’t want to lose valuable time because my devices have died. Powerbanks are an extra power source and vary in their power (mAh). I suggest one with about 20,000 mAH which will provide about 3 charges to your electronic items before it needs charging itself. I can highly recommend the Anker 20,100 mAh, mine has done me proud and kept my items charged.
To ensure I can use my electronic items in all countries and regions around the world I travel with a universal adaptor. This compact one I have not only has prongs so I can plug into electrical sockets but has USB ports making it easier to attach a number of electrical items at the one time.
Power Surge Board
You just can’t trust any electrical source, so I like to travel with a power surge board. Every accommodation is different and you just don’t know what their electrical wiring is like, add a storm or a really hot day that requires people to use more electricity than usual and you may encounter a power surge. And power surges are not overly friendly to electrical items. So my power surge board absorbs any power surge and saves my electrical items.
External Hard Drive
I know there are cloud based storage areas but an external hard drive is your key to ensuring your work is backed so it is not lost if your equipment fails. You can never be too safe with your work and personal digital files. The WD 2TB Elements portable external hard drive has a high capacity for storing your most valuable files. I use one to back up my files but to also to store my photos as they can take up a lot of room on my laptop. You can get them larger than 2TB, but at the moment, this is enough for me.
Depending on your online work you may or may not need to include good quality photographs. If you do you will need camera equipment. When I am caught without my equipment I rely on my phone to take photographs which, I must add, does take pretty good photographs. However I also have a small camera with a good zoom lens. But if you are a professional photographer or have a big interest in photography you will probably want more than I have suggested.
There are fantastic small cameras on the market that are built to take beautiful photographs. The Panasonic Lumix DMC-ZS100, Sony RX10 III and Olympus TG-5 are three compact, easy-to-use and affordable travel cameras. There are also the GoPros. The GoPro8 is pretty darn good and cheaper than the latest GoPro9.
Travelling can be noisy and when you need to work, putting on some noise cancelling headphones is a simple way to cancel out the distracting sounds around you. Those in zoom meetings and teaching English like them. I have some Bose Quiet Comfort 35.
To work online you need adequate light. Without adequate light you will only have your laptop screen as light and inadequate lighting can lead to squinting, eye strain and headaches. To aid lighting, I like the Ledlenser Ultralight light that I wear on my head. It may make me look funny but it allows me to do my work because it is hands-free, for obvious reasons. It also comes in handy if I find I am packing in the dark!
I just love my coffee and sometimes when I travel I do not have access to ‘decent’ coffee. So part of my home office that travels with me is my Wacaco Nano Express. It is a new addition to my tech list, and I wonder, what on earth I did without it!
Collapsable Water Bottle
Working online can be a thirsty business so if I don’t have a coffee nearby I like to have a sip of water. This collapsable water bottle is great to travel with. When empty it squashes down small and when full of water acts like any water bottle. I take it most places, hiking, walking around town, on road trips – it is very versatile.
A diary and a pen and pencil are the only non-electrical items I travel with. I know computers have diaries online and there are apps you can use to also diarise your life however, I like to write it down and be able to see it. And I can have it next to my laptop and see it without having to change screens.
Last, but not least on my Home Office, Will Travel Electronic must have to travel with list is my trusty backpack for all my mobile office items to be carried around in. I try to be an organised person, it just seems to help me work better and I also like to know where all my stuff is. Firstly, because, as I said, I like to be organised and secondly, some of this stuff is expensive so I don’t want to have to keep spending on items if it is my fault they get lost. So having a backpack where I can keep all my electronics, plus be able to charge items while travelling is one of my great investments. I have the Kopack Anti-Theft and Shockproof Backpack. The padded straps aid in the comfort and support as I carry everything to my next destination.
Now that you have all your portable home office items, it is time to get on the road. With this gear by your side you will be able to live, work and play where ever you like. Just like I do!