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5 essential items for working while traveling

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We know a little about working on the road. We’ve had to hold up in coffee shops for extended periods as we mooch wifi in Massachusetts, tarry longer than anticipated at host homes as we try to submit a story in Hawaii, use our cell phone hot spot to upload video from a tent next to a field of cows in Australia, and pull over on the side of the road to make an international call in New Zealand. We’re travel media; we don’t get a vacation. That means that even when we’re traveling–especially when we’re traveling–we’re working. But you don’t have to be a travel writer to be in a place where you have to work on the road. And when you do find yourself in this position–be it in an airport on the way to a business meeting or because you’re living in a van–these 5 essential items for working while traveling will change your life.

5 essential items for working while traveling

A portable power station can be a lifesaver when working on the road.

Portable Power Station

Something like this is a life-saver, especially if you’re working from your laptop and attempting battery-taxing activities like rendering video. Or maybe you’re just playing video games. In either case, If you’re on a road trip, camping for the night, or headed into the middle of nowhere, you can charge one of these portable electric generators at home before you go or in your vehicle’s 12V outlet while driving to make working while traveling possible. You can usually hook them up to a solar panel, too, if that’s your style. This one from Suaoki has 4 USB ports and two regular outlets so you can charge your laptop, your phone, and your camera batteries.

5 essential items for working while traveling

A power inverter lets you charge devices while in the car.

Power Inverter

Maybe you don’t need all the power of a portable power station. If your laptop or camera only needs to be charged occasionally, say if you’re only using it for text docs or light photo editing, a full-blown power station may be overkill. In that case, a simple power inverter might do the trick. You can obviously charge your phone and even some cameras through the USB charger you already have in the car (you do, don’t you?), but for a laptop or spare batteries, a power inverter supplies, well, the power. Plug it into your car’s 12V outlet while driving and charge whatever you need for working while traveling. It usually only works when your car is running, but it’s an invaluable thing to have to ensure your myriad devices don’t lose their juice. This one has two USB ports and two AC outlets.

5 essential items for working while traveling

A mobile hotspot keeps you connected wherever there’s a data connection.

Mobile WiFi Hotspot

Uploading to Insta? Posting to a blog? Need to email your editor a draft before deadline? Your phone’s data won’t always cut it if you’re trying to work from the road. The alternative? A hotspot. It works with a plan from your cell provider and offers the connection you need to get things done when working while traveling. This one from Netgear can connect with any network and offers 10 hours of streaming. Alternatively, almost all cell plans offer hotspots or tethering, you might just have to activate it as an option. That way, as long as you have data, even if there’s no wifi to be found, you’re golden. It will drain your battery faster if you choose to go that route. I can’t tell you how helpful this would have been on so many excursions!

5 essential items for working while traveling

A power bank or portable external battery charger is a lifesaver when traveling.

Portable Power Bank

This may seem like a given for any traveler, but I’ve been amazed at the number of business travelers and travel writer like myself who show up to a destination with the intention of taking photos, notes, or recordings with their phones only to drain their batteries faster than they can work and have no alternative but to retreat to their car or a wall outlet to recharge. Don’t be like them. This Anker offers multiple charges. To be sure, these have saved our butts on multiple occasions, whether it was while making a Google Hangouts call to a client or trying to find our way back to our couchsurfing host’s place at the end of the day.

5 essential items for working while traveling

An adapter that’s also a converter will let you power devices all oer the world.

Plug Adapter/Converter

This one’s only if you’ll be traveling abroad, but you should absolutely have a multi-purpose adapter and converter that allows you to plug multiple devices into a wall outlet in any country around the world. The keyword is multiple. We’ve long had one with only one socket because we were cheap and thought we could make it work, but not so much. Even if you travel alone, in our experience, you probably have multiple devices. So instead of having multiple adapters or running out to buy a special USB adapter specifically for European outlets like we did, do yourself a favor and just get one of these that not only functions as an adapter, but a converter and has multiple outlets and USB sockets so you can keep working while traveling.