Freelancer Road Trip: Essential Supplies

Road-TripOne of my freelancing resolutions is the separation of work time and vacation time.

I know this is one of my problem areas, but I do feel the need to work on a pretty constant basis in order to hit client deadlines. When the opportunity came up to head on a 15-hour road trip to the beach, I took it… with the caveat that I’d be working on the trip down and sporadically while at the beach. I loaded up my bag with the essentials to get some work done on the road.

I thought my list of goodies would help other freelancers gearing up for a road-trip-mobile-office.

My List for Working Remotely

Here is my list of essential supplies for working remotely:

  • Messenger Bag. I have a cool, vintage leather messenger bag with plenty of space inside and out. Make sure it’s large enough for all your gear and enough compartments to keep your stuff separated, preventing scratches and dents in your fragile equipment.
  • Computer. Of course as a freelance web designer, I can’t get any work done without my laptop. Make sure the battery has a strong charge, but just in case you run a little short on juice, you may want to purchase a power inverter.
  • Power Inverter. This little gizmo will plug into your car’s cigarette lighter and convert that into a power outlet that you can plug your computer into for times that battery power just doesn’t cut it. Some adapters even have USB ports for you to charge your mobile phone at the same time. Make sure the adapter packs enough juice to do everything you need it to do.
  • Cell Phone. Just because you’re in the car doesn’t mean you need to cut off contact via phone. Forward those business calls to your cell phone and try to convince the other passengers to keep it down while on business calls.
  • MiFi. As a web guy, I can’t get much work done without an internet connection. The MiFi from Sprint or Verizon acts as a mobile wifi hotspot, getting on the cellular data connection and turning that into a wifi signal for up to five devices. There’s similar cards that plug right into your computer, but the MiFi has the advantage of being able to be shared across a few devices. The access isn’t cheap at $60 per month, but if it helps you get an hour or two of work done, it’s worth the cost.
  • Notebook and pens. I work almost completely digitally, but for some tasks there’s nothing better than scribbling it out on physical paper with a real pen.
  • Bluetooth mouse. Mice are difficult to work with while in the car, but when you get to your vacation destination they’re much nicer to work with than a trackpad if you ask me. Go for a bluetooth mouse and avoid wires and extra dongles sticking out of your computer.
  • Headphones. A nice pair of noise-canceling headphones is great for blocking out other car noise that may distract you from your work.
  • Digital Camera. Just because you’re working on the road doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun too! Make sure you bring that digital camera and capture some of your fun moments on the road. You can even upload them to your Facebook from the car with all the other gear you brought along!

What About You?

What do my fellow road-tripping-mobile-workers take with them when they’re away from their normal offices?

Image by boboroshi