What is the right way to prepare yourself for working while traveling?
Do you know this idea of changing your place every week or two and get things done during breaks from traveling? I do. For some time I’ve been hearing about it a lot. I think that a lot of people around me felt in love with this idea, so I decided to try. This is a good piece of advice for everybody who wants to work during travel and be possible to do so.
Worth notice is the fact that I’m working as a graphic designer and front-end developer on a daily basis. This fact defines the tasks which I’m doing and do every time I’m abroad.
Wi-Fi and its presence in the public spaces and cafes
The first and most important is the lack of the Internet connection.
I know that we have a Wi-Fi nearly everywhere, but usually you would have to work in those few places where somebody forgot to turn Wi-Fi on.
Even if he did turn it on, you should be prepared that in 50% of cases, the speed of it is poor. That’s what makes you a huge fan of McDonald’s and KFC, who you probably haven’t been since those old days of Primary School.
The other quite interesting thing is the lack of space to work.
Do you like to work in a library? Usually, even if you find one, it probably doesn’t have Wi-Fi. If you thought about a cafe like Starbucks — a place in which you can order coffee and work for a while, sometimes you could be surprised. In Rome and Reykjavik, there’s nothing like Starbucks for some reasons.
Google it and look for places with good opinions, but as a person who spent two weeks on looking for some basic place to work in Rome with decent public transportation possibilities, I have to say that it could be tougher than you think. Finally, I found one place but it was too far from my place and I, fortunately, was able to do things at my friends place.
Okay, so what to do about it?
I strongly advise you to think in advance about all things which you would or could need. Today, external HDD drive costs about $50 for 1 TB and trust me this would be the best spent money in history of your adventures.
In my particular case I stopped counting on any possibility to synchronize with a cloud. Maybe that is the reason why I canceled my iCloud paid plan some time ago. But that’s not the point. The point is the fact, that if you want to take a lot of photos in raw formats and you have 128 GB hard drive in your MacBook like me, you would be disappointed sooner than you think without any external space in your pocket.
If you work as a front-end developer so you probably use some third-party frameworks and multimedia, at some point you would need the Internet connection. Without it, you wouldn’t be able to make the best out of your time. That’s why the idea of setting up a local server on your laptop and having all the needed part is so important. Simply, you cannot use Bootstrap if you don’t have Wi-Fi and its files on your laptop.
Obviously, there would be some opportunities to download things which are essential for you, so If you didn’t remember to download something, don’t worry you’ll make it.
What if you need some web resources while working?
Pocket seems to be very handy in this case. Ten years ago I would recommend to download a whole website which includes needed resources. However, today we live in the ending of “there’s an app for that” era and Pocket is my favorite choice. It is simple, have an extension which helps you to save website via one-click for al of the most popular browsers and offers a view of an original website as well as the simple text version.
Always have access
The next very important thing is having access to places which are important. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the whole verification process during the process of changing a password for things like Google Account (Gmail). So I prefer to have all the passwords, logins, hosts, ports and every other thing already prepared. It saves time and helps to be calm in critical situations. You can keep those things in 1Password. I usually keep them in some .txt file or somewhere else everything depends on my personal and my work’s security needs.
Think about the security of servers on the Internet as well.
Recently, my client has a server which blocked FTP access from IPs which try to connect from abroad. Fortunately, I discovered it before going to the airport, so I was able to find a solution to this issue and everything was well. Even though I would be pissed off if I discover it abroad and have problems with Internet connection. Everything is fixable but sometimes it’s not worth the time and problems, if you could do it while you were connected to the nice-speed Internet.
Services online — Probably, you should forget about them.
I’m not saying that there is no possibility to work in online tools like canva.com at all. But I think that it is the waste of time to fight with the Internet connection when you can switch to Figma, Pixelmator, Photoshop etc and use the network only to send the result of your work.
The same situation is with Google Docs, you can use them, but Pages, Sheets and Keynotes would be better without the Internet connection.
Finally, I totally recommend not to make all of your work during traveling.
For example, if I’m designing a website or coding it from a scratch I’m 5–6 times more efficient while I can do it without worrying about Wi-Fi and having two external monitors connected to my computer. So if you travel regularly, it is worth to make your work before the actual trip. In case you travel on a daily basis you should plan your work very carefully and take some time to find a place to work. As I said you probably would be able to do your work on 13’ MacBook but sometimes it’s better to spend 2 hours on research and commuting and save a few times more, just because you find the right place.
Wish you a seamless working abroad experience guys!