Mobile Office Checklist: What you need to work from anywhere

With many innovations it is getting easier and easier to live and work form anywhere. I do a great deal of work travel and have learned many tricks to make working on the road easier. I find there are a few key items you need in order to operate in a travel office setting:

  • Internet Access
  • Telephone Access
  • Printing
  • Computer
  • Backing Up
  • Navigation
Internet access is probably the most important element of working while on the road. It allows you to access email, maps, travel information, and just about everything you need. You can operate off of a wifi signal such as one at a hotel or coffee shop or you can get a 3G USB modem. I like the 3G option as you have a lot more freedom to move around. If you get a SIM card based modem it can be unlocked and used worldwide on cellular networks. A third option is to have a phone that allows internet tethering to your laptop via a USB cable.

Telephone access comes in a lot of forms. The best is cellular phone which works when and where you need it. If you have a good enough internet connection you can use VOIP services such as skype, line 2, google voice, etc. A lot of these can forward to your local number as well. If you need to fax things I find that eFax or are good choices.

Printing can be difficult outside major towns or cities. When abroad I seek out an internet cafe where I can pay per page. I print very little so it is a lot more cost effective for me. I also do not wish to carry a printer and have to worry about buying ink. In the USA Fedex Office or UPS Store have great printing abilities. Many countries around the world will have some sort of print shop you can utilize to fill your needs.

Computer access sounds simple but it can be complicated. Laptop is always the best choice but you can also use internet cafes, a smart phone or pad, and netbook if need be. Security is a concern in an internet cafe but using your best judgment prevents security problems. Keep your passwords and data safe! If in doubt go without!

No matter which method you use be sure to have a way to back up to an external hard drive or flash drive. You can pair this with a free service such as dropbox that syncs files with secure online storage. Laptops (and especially hard drives) do break eventually so backing up your data is crucial. You should be able to connect your external backup to any computer and be back in business in 20 minutes or less. I recommend daily backups while on the road!

Navigation is the last concern. Maps are good but limiting. A proper GPS device is good if you already own one and have the local maps. If not a smart phone with map abilities will do. If you already have a local data plan you should be good to go. Getting around can be made much easier with navigation tools at your disposal!

Working on the road is not hard if you plan ahead and have all the devices and know-how to use them properly. I am nearly to the point where I can work from halfway around the world with little or no issues. This is part of my big picture goal of being completely independent of not only a salary but also a stationary office. I want to be able to live and work wherever I want!