We are in the midst of conference season. And that means a lot of travel. If you are planning any trips for conferences, training, or even vacation, you want to make sure you will have everything you need to get work done – whether you’re at your cozy desk at home or not. These tips for outfitting your mobile office will keep you connected and allow you to work, even while on the go.
I recently wrote a post about how to prepare to attend a blog conference, and many of these items were on the list. But, these are also great if you are just a busy professional on the go. Here is my list of mobile office must-haves. You might not need to carry every one of these items with you at all times, but you will want to have them if you are going on a business trip.
- Great bag – Start with a great bag. You need one that is comfortable to carry with space for all of your gadgets. If you travel a lot, you might want to get a rolling case. This has been on my list to get for quite a while. I need to invest in one.
- Laptop or Netbook – If you need to pound out a post, type a long email or any other documents, or possibly show a presentation, you need a laptop. And the flurry of netbooks out now is almost as powerful as large laptops. I carry an 11.6” that does everything that I need it to do. Don’t forget your power adapter! And maybe a wireless mouse. I find it a lot easier to work on my netbook with an external mouse when sitting at a table. Or perhaps you prefer to travel with a…
- Tablet Computer – Yes, it is possible to use this as a laptop replacement within reason. I recommend still having at least a netbook with you if it is an extended trip. But, bringing along a Bluetooth enabled keyboard + stand for your tablet can turn it into a very functional laptop replacement.
- Smartphone – This is a given, but hey… it is worth a mention. If you have not yet upgraded your ancient cell phone to a smartphone, now is a good time. If you are mobile a lot, or you commute, being able to get to your email to quickly filter out the nonsense, send a quick reply, or mark those that deserve a lengthy reply later is a huge plus. Also make sure that you have your power adapter. But,iIt can be inconvenient to have to find a plug when you are on the go, so I recommend a portable charger such as an iGo Charge Anywhere. And take your bluetooth earpiece. You can talk on the phone while doing other things if you do not have to hold your phone with one hand, or with your shoulder. J Plus, it is the law in many places now that you HAVE to have an earpiece to talk on the phone while driving.
- Mi-Fi or USB Broadband adapter – If you have internet access with you at all times, you can work anywhere. There is no need to find a Starbucks, or other place with Wi-Fi if you your own. And, it is a great way to make new friends at a conference. But, before signing up, survey all of the popular services to find out which has the best coverage for your area.
- Portable Scanner – Ok, everyone might not need this one, but I love having the option. I have a portable scanner that I can use to scan signed documents that need to be emailed or faxed right away without having to find a fax machine or scanner. I can also scan photos, and more right into my laptop. And the scanner does not take up much room, or add weight to my bag.
- Point & Shoot Camera – Unless you have a cell phone that takes really awesome photos, you should keep a small pocket camera in your bag just in case you need to take photos for posts or other documents. Don’t forget the charger and memory card. J
- Surge Protector – Depending on just how many gadgets you have, having your own $10 surge protector in your bag can be a lifesaver. You would have room to plug in all of the things mentioned above, and maybe even help out a friend.
- Online Backup Service – Having frequently used documents and information “in the cloud” is a great way to keep you information at your fingertips no matter where you are. Google Docs is probably the most popular one that users turn to for shared documents and collaboration. Other services like Sugarsync and Dropbox allow you to sync to a folder on your computer that always stays up to date. This means that even if you are not online, like on an airplane, you can still get to your documents.
- Good Paper Organizer – Yes, we have all of this technology around us and everything above was based on it. But, it is still a good idea to have a pad, spiral notebook, or full organizer for jotting down notes and keeping important info. I actually have 2. I have a momAgenda desktop organizer that stays at home. And, I have a Daytimer leatherbound one that I can take pages in and out of with pockets for traveling.
I think that this list is a great start. And if you can keep all of these items in your bag or car, you will always have what you need at your fingertips to get work done wherever you are.