Since December 2014, I’ve been a freelancer—writing, answering emails, downloading Dropbox files, uploading transcripts, building posts for websites, and uploading videos from places far beyond an office server (or even my home Wi-Fi network). I’ve researched from campsites near mountaintops and riversides, written from Wi-Fi-less Amtrak trains, and—my personal favorite—met deadlines while ripping down highways, en route to a weekend getaway, with my partner (selflessly) at the wheel and my Slack status is still set to “active.”
The pandemic has taught us that’s possible for many, many people to work remotely—but my experience has taught me that “remote” means so much more than just sitting on my couch. The key is having a few essential (and low-profile) tools to help you take your work from home anywhere. Like, I mean anywhere.
The pandemic has taught us that’s possible for many, many people to work remotely—but my experience has taught me that ‘remote’ means so much more than just sitting on my couch.”
The true linchpin of a work-from-anywhere set up is an internet connection—aka a hotspot. I use my iPhone X. The key is to make sure your cellular data plan allows for heavy data use. I have the Start Unlimited data plan with Verizon (which is the most basic unlimited plan) and have never worried about overage fees. If you’re looking to connect to 5G (and spare no expense), Verizon also has the Get More, Play More, and Do More unlimited data plans that accommodate those needs.
After connectivity, the other critical component is keeping your devices alive. There is neither an easy nor impromptu solution, but it can be simple if you have a two key devices. First, you need a power inverter for your vehicle that can keep your laptop, tablet, and/or phone charged, which can turn your cigarette lighter into an outlet. I prefer a heavy-duty inverter that can handle using multiple AC chargers with laptops and cameras and still survive a surge, so we use the Nature Power 400-Watt Modified Sine Wave inverter ($55.49). It never leaves our vehicle. But for folks looking for a low-profile, super portable inverter that is under $30 and can charge a phone and your laptop at the same time, you can’t go wrong with the Nature Power 100-Watt Portable Battery Powered Inverter ($29.97). This small and mighty device can power up your MacBook or Chromebook and fit into your purse or bag when not in use.
Second, for the times when you don’t have a car battery to rely on, necessity calls for a portable charging device. The Goal Zero Yeti 200X Portable Power Station ($299.95) weighs only five pounds and is the size of a lunchbox—so you can pack it to the beach, the park, a campsite, or the car. And despite its compact size, it can charge your laptop up to four times (or a smartphone up to 20 times) on one single charge of its own. It features the latest charging technology, equipped with a high-speed power delivery port capable of charging USB-C laptops, tablets, mirrorless cameras, and phones in a fraction of the time of other charging bricks.
And just as impressively, you can charge the Yeti 200x with solar panels—yes, solar panels. That means whether you’re camping, in a place with no outlets, or your power is out due to wildfires/floods/alien wavelengths (it’s 2020, anything could happen), you can still charge your Yeti 200X and keep all of your devices running. The Goal Zero Nomad 20 Solar Panel ($179.95) folds up and fits easily into a bag or pack and fully charges the Yeti 200X in 12-24 hours—depending on the quality of sunlight available. Pro tip: if you’re looking for a deal, Goal Zero offers both the Nomad 20 solar panel and the Yeti 200X in a kit that saves you $30.
If solar power isn’t your thing, you can also charge the Yeti 200X by plugging it into a wall outlet (whenever you get to one), or in your car with the handy little Yeti 12V Car Charging Cable ($39.95)—which is specifically made for the Yeti station.
Together, a simple kit made of an unlimited data plan, an inverter, and a charging station can allow you to work from anywhere you want to go.
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