Nomadic Tech: Working Mobile in 2016

Laptop computer keyboard
A laptop computer is a key part of my technology gear

Living as a nomad has the potential to be considerably cheaper than living a stationary existence. Still, it costs money for gas, insurance, food, and other necessities. Unless you are retired or independently wealthy it is still necessary to earn an income on the road.

Fortunately, there has never been a better time to be a nomad. Modern technology not only makes it easy to stay in touch with friends and family on the road, but it also makes it easy to work or run a business from nearly anywhere.

A nomad needs only a basic technology arsenal in order to be fully functional on the road and accomplish almost anything that could be done in an office. The occasional situations that require access to printers or other technology can be easily managed by visiting a library, office supply store, or a mail handling business.

Smartphone

A smartphone is just about a necessity for many travelers, but it plays an even more important role for most digital nomads. Email, social media, travel and financial apps, maps, camera, text messaging, and even an occasional phone call make a smartphone just about indispensable.

Smartphones also offer another advantage, however, in that they can be used to create a mobile hotspot. Simply activating the mobile hotspot option allows you to connect your laptop or tablet to the Internet.

Mobile Hotspot

While it is possible to just use a smartphone for a mobile hotspot, many digital nomads prefer to use a dedicated mobile hotspot device. The advantages of a dedicated hotspot include conserving battery life on your phone and being able to talk on the phone while using the Internet. The biggest downside to a dedicated hotspot is the expense as it requires purchasing another device and paying for device access each month.

Cell Signal Booster

Despite the spread of mobile phone coverage across the country, there are still many places where the signal may be weak. This problem is especially noticeable in rural areas where many digital nomads like to camp, but is also sometimes a problem is urban areas as well.

A signal booster will help in many situations where a signal is weak. It is not uncommon to see a considerable improvement with a booster, often taking a marginal signal and boosting it to a usable signal. Unfortunately, sometimes the signal is too weak to boost effectively or the tower is overloaded and cellular data will still be slow or unusable. Still, most digital nomads find a signal booster to be an essential part of their technology toolkit.

Laptop or tablet

While some digital nomads have businesses that can be operated with only a smartphone, most need at least a tablet if not a laptop computer. The exact computer needs will depend on the type of work that is involved.

In my case, I am able to work with an inexpensive laptop that has great battery life when I am writing. Videography requires a more powerful laptop that consumes a lot more battery power, so I only use that laptop for video work.

Power supply

A reliable electric supply is essential for any digital nomad. Since electronic devices require frequent recharging, a reliable power supply is needed to be able to work.

Nomads who travel extensively may be able to recharge using USB charging ports and an inverter while driving. Rechargeable battery boosters can be used as a supplement to charge phones and tablets when not traveling.

Digital nomads who are parked more than they are driving usually need a house battery in their RV, van, trailer, or car to charge electronics without draining the starting battery in the vehicle. House batteries, of course, also need to be recharged.

House batteries can be charged using the alternator in the vehicle while driving, with a generator, or using solar panels. In many cases, nomads may use more than one approach to recharge house batteries.

Working Mobile

There are a growing number of jobs that can be done and businesses that can be operated remotely. This makes it an unprecedented time for people who want to see the world without waiting until they retire.