We've been on the go for what seems like ages and haven't been using our traditional home office. Although we miss our usual double desk set up with all the bells and whistles, we've done just fine without it — here's a few items that have helped out along the way.
1. Backup Laptop Battery: Even though most places have a spot to plug in or someone with an extension cord willing to lend a hand, we're more of a lone wolf and would prefer to be 100% independent of everything else. To date, it's been one of the best eBay purchases we've ever made.
2. Privacy Screen Shield: When you have to work on the go, it means the to-do list has to get done right then and there. There's no waiting to transfer funds in your bank account until you get home and not wanting to share information with strangers next to us (even if we're just reading other blogs) led us in this direction. It's simple to apply and keeps spying eyes in all directions off your screen. You can also apply it to your cell phone if you are wanting to cover all bases. We found this one online for just under $50 (on sale), though we've seen them in stores for less.
3. Wireless Mouse: Even though some have no desire to own a wireless mouse, we found ours to be particularly awesome when it came to doing more work than just typing out a few emails. When Photoshop or other larger programs are involved, it can save you time and multiple headaches for sure.
4. Proper Cell Phone Applications: It might seem silly to include cell phone applications in this list, but knowing we can do anything on our Blackberry that we can do on our laptop provides sincere peace of mind. If you have a phone with such abilities, make sure to research applications that help control email, internet, passwords and credit card numbers.
5. Converter Plug: For those who might be headed overseas, taking a universal adapter or plug for your electronics is always a good thing. If you're unsure of which one to purchase, you can wait until you arrive (check the airport gift shop before you leave) or read through reviews on Amazon, but a backup battery doesn't do you any good if you can't charge it when everything is drained of it's power.
6. Concealed Carriers: Though laptop bags are universal these days and many folks are toting their equipment back and forth to work, that doesn't mean there aren't those who aren't looking for an easy score. Before purchasing a laptop bag (or even camera bag) make sure the outside doesn't look like what is going inside. We use a laptop sleeve inside a typical Jansport backpack that doesn't look triple padded or even that it's carrying more than our lunch. Although carrying cases are becoming more sophisticated and able to carry more with extra pockets and zippers, sometimes it's best to find something more traditional that's a bit more flexible rather than something made specifically for the task (when it comes to safety).
7. Paper File: It doesn't have to be much more than an envelope with a strong clasp, but a secure place to put papers is key to keeping track of bills that might not be paid online or important check stubs or receipts that need to be used later on down the line when it comes to taxes. If you're away from home it's easy to start putting things in random pockets to keep them safe, but never putting anything in the same spot to be able to find them easily later on.
8. Silicone Pot Holders: This one seems a bit out of left field, but what is a girl to do when her lap board gets packed along with her other belongings and she needs to cool down her laptop while still holding it… well… on her lap. She uses a pot holder, that's what! We now keep two in our backpack at all times. They help wick away heat and keep things in place when we're on the go without the bulk of added products.
9. A Dropbox Account: So what if you don't have a home computer, or it's in transit with other items (if you're say moving?). When utilizing computers from your local library, it can be handy to have an account with Dropbox.com to stash all your files in without the hassle of a flash drive or other plug in storage device. It can hold everything from music to photos to files or important documents you might have scanned in.
Are you constantly on the go? What helps you out the most when working away from home? Share a link to your favorite product in the comments below!