Becoming a digital nomad – a shopping guide

Becoming a digital nomad – a shopping guide

More and more people are choosing the freelance lifestyle and opting to work remotely. It’s a nice job, if you can get it, that allows you to work from anywhere, travel and, in many cases, stick to your own schedule. If you’ve just released yourself from the confines of an office and are keen to get on the road and travel the world in search of remote working adventure, you’ll be wanting to equip yourself with the tools and accessories of the trade. In your case – a portable device you can use to work from cafés, coworking spaces and hotel rooms around the world. Here’s a handy guide to your options, as well as things to take into account when choosing what to buy.

Laptop, netbook, chromebook or tablet?

If there’s one thing every traveller knows is that space and weight are at a premium. You really want to be carrying the smallest, lightest device you can get away with using. If you’re headed to certain destinations, you may also want to consider safety issues – do you really want or need to be carrying an expensive device that is likely to make you a target for thieves or robbers? Depending on your job, you may not have a choice but to carry a serious laptop with you, one that allows for programming, design, video editing or whatever it is your resource-heavy job requires. Other freelancers, however, can get away with cheaper, simpler devices. Don’t discount netbooks or chromebooks if your job is mostly about writing and editing text or spreadsheets. Cloud storage, such as that which is available with chromebooks, can help you keep your files certralised so that you don’t lose them if your device gets lost, stolen or damaged. Of course, the most compact devices you can use for work are tablets, which can fit into practically any bag and weight almost nothing at all. If you are put off by working on a tablet, don’t rule it out. There are actually heaps of accessories you can get that make them almost as good as laptops for doing many jobs. Check out these iPad keyboards from http://www.ithingum.com/ipad-keyboards/ for some inspiration on how you can convert a humble iPad into a mean working machine! iPads and tablets have a long battery life and are easier to charge than laptop PCs, as they can charge off many portable USB chargers and evens solar chargers. Handy when you want to work in a café where sockets are hard to come by!

Accessories

Apart from a portable charger already mentioned above (we can’t stress how important that is!) and any specific accessories you need for your particular job (such as Wacom tablets often used by designers, etc.) you will want to invest in a quality set of headphones, preferably of the noise-cancelling kind. You may not always want to use them – it’s nice to blend in with your environment, after all! – but they can come in handy when you’re trying to work and things become busy or noisy. These are also great for when you need to make Skype calls somewhere public, though you’ll need to ensure you get some with an in-built microphone if you’re going to use them for that purpose.

Another handy accessory is your own portable wifi device. While many places offer wifi, your favourite café may not. Alternatively, the connection could be of low quality or shared with far too many people. Your own device or a mobile phone with a data plan that allows you to tether your other portable devices can make all the difference between being able to work and sitting around feeling frustrated and annoyed. Make sure you do your research when it comes to local sims, data plans and restrictions. Some plans may seem tempting, offering what seems to be a good deal on a large amount of data, but check the small print – they may not allow you to tether and may block you or slow you down if you try! With a reliable personal data plan and a mobile wifi device, you’re free to sit and work wherever you want, without relying on the particular café’s connection. Now that’s what we call ultimate freedom to roam.

The bottom line

Most digital nomads need a minimum amount of equipment to be able to work from anywhere in the world. The key is to choose the smallest and lightest laptop or tablet you can get away with and ensure you are as self-sufficient as possible before you set off. All you need to do is figure out your personal minimum requirements for doing your job and take care of those needs.

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