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Thinking of buying a new laptop to take with you as you travel and work around the country, or around the globe? Whether you travel for work, or work remotely and can travel at will, the 21st century is pretty incredible.
Thanks to the internet and modern, powerful, fast laptops, we can be anywhere we want, earning an income, and living life to the fullest.
Traveling with a brand new laptop, and working on the road is getting easier and easier. As many as 10 million Americans are now traveling the globe as they work. With so many people paving the way for us, we are continually learning more and more about what works and what doesn’t work.
If you are preparing for your first trip, and want to ensure you keep your laptop safe, and running efficiently, then read our guide below and how to travel as a laptop user.
Buy the Right Computer
The most important thing to do to ensure you remain productive while you travel is to buy the right computer. Not all types of laptops are conductive to a travel and work situation. Here are some important factors when choosing a travel-friendly, business laptop.
Power and Speed
If you are buying a laptop that will enable you to travel the world, don’t skimp. It’s an investment in your career and in your life experiences.
You need a quality machine that will keep up with your fast-paced work and travel lifestyle.
Consider the work that you do, or that you plan to do. Are you going to be using resource-intensive software? If you are a photographer or videographer, editing software can be quite demanding.
If you are a programmer, you’re likely going to need a computer with lots of power as well. But if you offer digital services, work in customer service, or work as a writer, you might not need such a powerful computer.
When looking for a capable, fast laptop, the most important considerations are the processor (CPU) and RAM. The processor is like the engine of your laptop. It’s the biggest factor that determines how enjoyable your computer is to work with.
If choosing a laptop with an Intel processor (which most laptops have), choose one with a 10th or 11th generation processor with at least four cores. Apple recently released their new M1 processor, so any recent MacBooks have solid firepower.
As far as RAM goes, you want as much as possible. More RAM equals more speed, which is crucial for remote workers who live and die by the speed of their laptops. 8GB RAM is the bare minimum. For those whose livelihood depends on their laptop, though, 16GB or more is worth the extra cost.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is portability. You want your laptop to be lightweight and thin, so you can carry it around all day, right? Thinner laptops are easy to bring to a coffee shop or coworking space. They are easier to bust out on an airplane during that 11-hour flight to Asia.
When you carry everything you own in a backpack, you’ll want everything to be as light as possible.
Less weight and thin profiles often mean a more affordable laptop. The only problem is that portability is often at odds with laptop performance and speed. To have more power in your laptop, you need bigger hardware, resulting in a larger, heavier laptop.
Ultimately, you have to decide what’s most important and strike a balance that works for you.
If you don’t want to decide and want the best of both worlds, then check out Lenovo’s latest laptops. They worked with Intel to recreate the entire inner workings of their laptop, a processor included, to create an ultra-fast system that’s still razor-thin.
If you are keen to work on the Windows operating system, these laptops are worth strong consideration. Check out www.lenovo.com for all the details.
These Evo-certified laptops aren’t cheap, but remember, your laptop will empower you to live a life that most people only dream of. For the most part, the more you spend, the better your laptop experience will be (within reason, of course).
The bane of every digital nomads’ existence: laptop battery life. Batteries never seem to last long enough. This is especially true for faster, more powerful computers. The hardware simply uses more juice than simple, basic hardware.
It’s possible to find laptops with an 11 or 12-hour battery life. But don’t count on it. If you get a laptop with a solid processor, anything over eight hours is good enough. Just don’t leave home, or your hotel, without a power bank.
Get a Bag You Trust
If your laptop is the most important piece of gear in your digital nomad arsenal, then your backpack is a close second. It’s imperative that you get a travel backpack that you absolutely love.
It will protect all your prized possessions, and ensure you always have your belongings with you.
Choose a carry-on-sized travel backpack to avoid the hassle of checking luggage. As a full-time traveler, you can’t afford to risk lost luggage.
Carry-on backpacks can often accommodate up to 40 liters of space. If you’re intentional about what you pack, that’s a lot of stuff.
It also helps to have a smaller daypack with a laptop sleeve. That way, you can leave your bigger bag in your hotel room while you venture out to a cafe.
You can expect to drop around $200 to $300 for a quality travel backpack, and another $100 for a solid daypack. There are tons of great brands out there producing gear specifically meant for frequent or full-time travelers. Take time when purchasing your bags.
TSA Precheck for the Win
It’s always a hassle to go through security lines at the airport when you have a laptop in your bag. They make you take it out for safety reasons.
However, to save tons of time, you should invest in TSA precheck. With this certification, you can skip the long security lines at the airport, breeze through security without emptying your backpack or taking off your shoes, and get to your gate hassle-free.
Getting TSA precheck takes planning, however, as appointments are often booked months in advance.
Get Insurance for Your Brand New Laptop
Most of us skip out on protection plans for our laptops. But if you’re buying a brand new laptop and taking it around the world with you, you need a protection plan.
The likelihood of your losing your computer, or breaking it, or spilling coffee on it is much higher when your laptop is always on the go.
You might be able to get a protection or insurance plan with the company you buy from. Otherwise, your travel insurance company may provide coverage for your computer and the rest of your gear, which you’d be silly to deny.
Bring Your Own Wifi
Wifi is almost everywhere. But the problem is that public wifi is dangerous. Hackers know how to take advantage of computers that are connected to public, open wifi networks. So that airport or coffee shop wifi network could be putting your sensitive information at risk.
If you’re traveling full time, consider bringing your own wifi connection. Multiple options are available, but one of the most popular is the Skyroam Solis Mobile Wifi Hotspot.
It works in over 130 countries, and across the US. You get your own private wifi connection, and can even use it when other networks aren’t available.
So if you have your heart set on staying at the remote bed and breakfast in the middle of the jungle, this hotspot might be your only option for getting work done.
Accessories You Need
Along with a hotspot, there’s plenty of other gear you’re going to need to stay productive on the road.
A power bank is a must. These can be used as a backup power source when working away from home. You should get a separate one for your computer and your phone.
If you struggle to get work done on small laptop screens, consider a mobile external monitor. These are small and lightweight, and can easily be taken anywhere your laptop can go.
An external mouse is always a good option as well. A docking station will allow you to plug in multiple accessories at one time, such as your charger, a memory card, and a hard drive.
Invest in a quality tech pouch, which will help you organize all of your tech accessories in one place.
And make sure to have a cloud storage option that you trust. This could be Google Drive or Dropbox. You just want to make sure you have access to all your files and information, should you lose your computer.
Just Get Out There
Bringing your brand new laptop on a trip isn’t as hard or scary as you think it would be. As long as you have the right gear and accessories, it’s easy to keep your laptop safe and in good working condition.
Of course, there’s plenty more that could be said about traveling and working. But the best secrets are reserved for those who get out there and do it, learning first hand.
Looking for more helpful tech and travel tips like this? Be sure to visit the rest of our blog now to keep reading.