Office in Your Backpack: Essential Tech to Stay Productive During a Workation
by Joe Frabotta
A workation is an opportunity to get out of your home environment while still retaining the ability to work remotely. It’s a chance to explore the world without losing any income. It can also offer a boost to your motivation and creativity. However, how can you stay productive during a workation?
The eight products below are essential items for this. Together, they create an alternative office that can be carried on your back. For the times when you’re not staying in a fully-equipped apartment like Anyplace Select, carry these tech essentials.
It can be difficult to find a suitable work surface when you travel. Coffee shops and airport bars often aren’t made to have a sturdy table that’s comparable to a proper computer desk. You can overcome this by carrying around a laptop stand, which creates a stable, height-adjustable platform for your computer.
These can be surprisingly lightweight, meaning one won’t take up much space in your backpack. In fact, it’s possible to buy a laptop sleeve that transforms into a laptop stand and mousepad. This gives you something resembling a desk to work from, without adding any extra weight to your luggage.
It’s becoming easier and easier to find WiFi these days. They’ve become standard in hotels, shopping malls, museums, and airports. This is what has enabled the work from anywhere lifestyle, with many people happy to rely on this public WiFi to help them work as they travel. However, this isn’t always the most convenient option.
A fast and stable internet connection isn’t guaranteed, meaning that you might struggle to work using publicly accessible WiFi. Furthermore, this connection is generally insecure, putting your data at risk. Instead, buy a portable WiFi device. This will guarantee you a strong internet connection anywhere in the world while maintaining the security of your information.
The outside world is a noisy place, full of distractions. Your aim is to be productive as a remote worker so you need to find ways to cut out this noise. Whether you’re on a plane, on a train, in a coffee shop, or in a hostel, it can be difficult to work when those around you are enjoying their free time. That’s why noise-canceling headphones might be the best investment you make this year.
There are some affordable ones on the market but the more you’re willing to pay, the more effective they’ll be. Noise-canceling headphones allow you to focus on your work and get into a flow state. This helps you do better quality work in less time, meaning that, hopefully, you’ll make your investment back quickly.
As you shift around the world, you’ll notice that power outlets change. From the three-pin plugs they use in the UK to the double slits in Japan, one of the most annoying parts of being a traveler is having the right adapter. Cut this stress out of your life and buy a universal adapter instead. This is one device that ensures you’re always able to charge your devices.
A universal adapter isn’t expensive, either. In fact, it’s probably cheaper than buying a separate one for each place you visit. Once you have the adapter you need, you’ll be able to travel around the world without worrying about your devices running out of juice.
As essential as a universal adapter is, it’s only really useful if you can find a plug socket. Unfortunately, many places in the world still don’t have as many as digital nomads would like. While on a flight – especially if you choose a budget airline – you often won’t have a power outlet, meaning your phone or laptop is rapidly losing battery as you try to stay productive on the move.
A power bank solves this problem. Invest in a hefty one with plenty of capacity. That way, you can charge your phone, laptop, and any other devices like cameras. If you just want to walk around town for a bit, you can ensure your devices are charging so you’re ready to get straight back to work.
Many people traveling light will often leave their mouse behind, instead choosing to rely on their laptop trackpad. However, a good mouse – especially one that’s ergonomic – helps you maintain your health as a traveler and, ultimately, leads to increased productivity. That’s because it prevents neck, back, and wrist strain, and helps you complete your tasks more quickly.
A computer mouse is a lightweight device that’s easy to travel with. Don’t worry about the space it’s taking up because the benefits far outweigh this. Combined with a height-adjustable laptop stand, this helps you maintain a good posture, regardless of the conditions in which you’re working.
Digital nomads tend to travel with a smaller laptop. This makes sense because it’s probably the heaviest item in your backpack. Carrying a device with a 13-inch screen rather than a 17-inch saves a significant amount of weight and space. However, these smaller screens can be harder to work on. They don’t show as much information at once and also force you to strain your eyes, creating fatigue.
A screencast device – such as a Chromecast – can help with this. It’s generally tiny and lightweight but allows you to cast your laptop activity onto a device with a much larger screen. You won’t be able to use it all the time but if you ever end up in a hotel with a large TV, then it gives your eyes a chance to rest. You could also use this to watch TV and movies, without having to be on your work laptop all the time.
With all this extra tech, you’ll need a way to keep it organized. If you’ve ever used packing cubes, then you’ll know how useful they are in organizing your belongings and making it easy to find what you need when you need it. There’s nothing worse than rummaging through your entire backpack in a busy coffee shop. Instead, buy a dedicated tech pouch to keep all your accessories together and protected, while ensuring you can find what you need straight away.
With the eight items above, you’ll have just about everything you need to stay productive during your workation. Of course, this means carrying a little extra weight and perhaps buying a bigger backpack.
Looking to Travel Even Lighter?
If you want to stay productive but continue to travel ultra-light, then consider staying in an Anyplace Select apartment. This new type of accommodation is built specifically for remote workers with a fully equipped office which includes everything you need to be productive: a standing desk, ergonomic chair, extra widescreen monitor, gigabit WiFi, and more. You can always opt for Select if you don’t want to worry about carrying all this equipment.
Where to next? Find flexible month-to-month rentals across the globe on Anyplace.
Joe Frabotta is the Director of Marketing at Anyplace. He's a part-time nomad, traveling + working throughout the year but also having a home base in the mountains of Asheville, NC. When he's not working, you'll probably find him playing guitar, doing a section hike on the Appalachian Trail, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen.