My first experience working remotely while in a different country was a big disaster: The ‘cosy’ rooftop apartment with ‘fast’ wifi was located underneath a never-sleeping four-lane highway without any wifi signal. I ended up working from a Chinese restaurant on the ground floor. Since then, I’ve got these five items in my backpack whenever I travel.
1. Original Cables
If you think this is too basic to mention, you have never tried to survive without an iPhone Lightning cable in a Malawian village. Keep in mind that your devices have to be charged, packed and unpacked more often on travels, and that you are forced to use bad outlets with diverse adapters. Your cables will break much faster because you might have to jam them between the wall and your bed to trick the loose contact of the only power outlet in the room you share with three other people. Beside that, most of the cheap cables you may finally find in the local shops or markets are incapable of meeting your needs. They charge your phone a lot slower than usual and most of them do not support data transfers e.g. between your camera and notebook. So, to make a long story short: bring enough original cables from home. It does not take much space in your backpack and you will be the happiest person if worst comes to worst.
2. Various Adapters
Ever since a simple silhouette of an apple started to conquer the world, we not only need country-specific outlet adapters while travelling, but also adapters to connect MacBooks with any USB device, like an external mouse or speakers, SD cards and much more. If you don’t want to go crazy, invest in an adapter hub with several plugs. That will ease your life a lot. You should also consider taking an adapter that allows you to charge two USB devices at the same time – some countries are not blessed with 24/7 electricity and have to deal with. Remember your USB adapter to use with the cigarette lighter of your rental car can be a big help to find the directions to your next stunning spot faster and to make sure you always have enough power to stream your favorite songs.
can be real life-savers. They put you throgh blackouts and ensure your safety while discovering foreign cities by foot or sitting in public transport. Do some detailed research before you buy them. Some do also have the power to charge notebooks and can recharge your device three to five times.
4. Hotspot / Second Phone
No matter what countries are on your map – never rely on finding aspace or a café with free wifi close by. If you travel outside of Europe the easiest way to have reliable internet connection is to use the local mobile internet. If available buy a bundle with about thirty GB and you don’t have to worry anymore. Even if roaming has become cheaper in Europe a few years ago, using foreign grids can still be very expensive. I made very good experience with just bringing a second phone, putting a local card in it and using it as a hotspot. This also has the nice side effect that you can use local services cheaply and easily communicate with new friends.
5. Wireless Repeater
The pictures in this post were taken during my time in Malawi, Africa. There I literally did online marketing for my customers from a mud hut. In fact, the patchy power supply was a bigger problem than access to fast, mobile internet. This means, every country is different and has specific challenges. More posts on that and how to set up your IT infrastructure software-wise will follow soon.
Photo & Video Copyright: Laura Jane Hoffmann