How I Work While Traveling

How I Work While Traveling

My family and I have been slow to get back into the “real” world after the pandemic. My husband works fully from home, and I am in the office two days a week. My daughter is still doing half of her classes virtually, albeit from her dorm room.

As part of the return to what is a new normal, we are starting to travel more. I made the drive to Green Bay twice (23 hours driving from southern Virginia each way) in the past two years, and have traveled for work conferences and weekend camping trips.

I never fully unplug, but I do change how I work while traveling. And by work I mean both my professional work, and writing.

Travel with Remote Work

Both times I went to Wisconsin I worked from there. Except for the time difference, which had me start an hour earlier by the clock, I was able to get everything done. Mainly this is because I use my computer to remote into the machine on my desk to work. In order to do this, I took the following:

  • My personal laptop. I have a company issued laptop, but I refuse to use it without an external keyboard. The Lenovo keyboard puts the left function key to the left of the control key, contrary to every other keyboard layout in the world. As a touch typist, I can’t use the keyboard, especially since the control key is used heavily in my work. Rather than hauling along an external keyboard, I use my personal machine, and have the benefit of access to all my personal files as well should I Need them.
  • An external mouse. Track pads suck.
  • My mesh wireless point. We use the TP-Link Mesh WiFi* system at home, which came with 2 extenders. I took one of the extenders with me, plugged it into my mother’s internet router, and stood up a network with the same name and password as the one at home. None of my devices had to switch connections with this in place.

Travel for Work

When I am sent on travel for work, it is for training. It is not client billable, and my company has a strict no-client-work-while-training policy. When I traveled to the SQL conference in Orlando last November, I didn’t take a laptop. I used my iPad instead. However, if I am traveling for client work, I take the following:

  • My work laptop. I may need to access software on the local machine, and that is only installed on my work machine. If I need something on my personal machine, I can remote in from wherever I am.
  • An external keyboard. Because of the keyboard layout issue mentioned above. I take a small sized keyboard* that fits in my computer bag.
  • An external mouse. Same reasons as above.
  • A surge protector. Necessary for hotels.
  • VPN software. This is used to protect me from whatever may be sniffing around the hotel. Even thought my connection to my work computer from my laptop is secure, I don’t want anything else picked up.


I try to make sure that there is no reason I would need to have to do work while we are out camping. Firstly because it’s the weekend, and secondly because cell signal is really spotty when I’m in the mountains. Even if we are at a campground that has a strong WiFi signal, I would still leave the computer at home. Instead, I rely on lower-on-the-food-chain technology to allow me to be productive. I was able to take notes for an entire week-long conference using this setup.

  • My iPad. I can do a lot of things on the tablet, from writing to designing coloring pages to brainstorming.
  • Foldable keyboard for the iPad. I take this foldable keyboard* with me anytime I am out of the house with the iPad. Because large amounts of typing on the tablet screen is difficult.

The Standards Wherever I Go

There are some things I always travel with, regardless of the destination:

  • My bullet journal. I like to journal every day, even if I am not following a schedule and task list.
  • My pencil case. In this case are a pen, pencil, highlighter, but also earbuds with requisite dongles and charging cables for my phone and iPad.

With this very simple set of equipment, I am able to work from wherever I am. I like having the convenience of having the needed tech with me – even if I choose not to use it.