March 18, 2019
If you are going to work while you travel (or if you are a digital nomad, in which case, traveling and working is a lifestyle), it is almost certain that your computer and your mobile device are your main productivity tools.
Many times, and depending on your craft, you won't have too many options in selecting the applications and tools that you will use, and you will have to adapt to the requirements of the software or tools.
But in other cases, you have some flexibility in the tools that you select. In many cases, like perhaps being a solopreneur and/or a freelancer, you have almost absolute freedom to choose the tools that you will use.
In the last case, the right selection of applications and tools can become a crucial aspect of your success (above those that don't have a choice in selecting their tools). Most importantly, nevertheless, if you work and travel, picking the wrong tool can cause you severe inconveniences, as many tools and services have not been designed with the location independent and/or digital nomad lifestyle in mind.
So when selecting your tools (if you have a choice, that is) these are the things you should look for in an application:
Mobile, desktop and web version with the same capabilities (or close), and overall experience
The tool that you select should be able to be used from your laptop, your devices, and the web because you never know when you will be able to be productive.
Although ideally, you will have your laptop or your computer to work from anywhere, that actually is not the case most of the time. Most of the time you will have your phone, for sure. Many applications and new services are treating mobile devices as primary devices now, and that is excellent, for the reasons mentioned above. So having the versatility of having our work, switched to a form factor that will allow you to see the screen better is actually a great asset overall.
Online storage and/or synchronization
If you want to be productive as a location independent worker / digital nomad and enjoy new areas, places and moments to the most, you will have to identify sites/times where you can actually do some work.
When these happen, you should be able to have any device that you have with you and do some work (ideally your laptop, worst case scenario your mobile device) and do some work.
And because you don't know, as you travel, which one is going to be, then you should have, then you should be able to have the same state in all devices. Primarily when you work and travel, it is imperative that you can continue with the progress of your current work, anywhere on demand.
Of course, for this to happen, you should eventually have Internet in all your devices so your work can be synchronized and updated across all your devices.
If you are part of a team it should also have collaboration support
Especially if you are part of a distributed company/team, you need to ensure that you can share your work and naturally get feedback and that this featured are not limited based on the device you use.
One significant advantage of having cloud-enabled tools is that, not only you can synchronize the work that you do, but that your team might have direct access to your progress.
Therefore, you can leverage the feedback of your team to improve on your products, works, current progress. So having a tool that provides that experience seamlessly and helps you (or your distributed company), harness this, is a crucial tool to have.
Offline mode with full (or close to full) functionality
If you work and travel a lot, you will find yourself in situations where you don't have the internet. And many times, these opportunities present an excellent time to do some work (in flights, either in the same plane or in the waiting terminal of a foreign location), on your way to an adventure to remote places in a bus, and others. Believe me, it happens a lot.
Therefore an application that needs constant online access becomes a tool that you cannot rely upon in those moments, and you need to be careful with that.
Note that not all offline modes are made equal. Some offline modes will allow you to do everything offline and will just perform synchronizations as soon as you get access to the internet. Other offline modes, will restrict specific actions.
If your application does not have an offline mode, well, you can make temporary progress elsewhere and then move it to your app/service. But knowing how your application will behave if you don't have internet is crucial.
No IP address restrictions
Some tools like Netflix, Spotify will change based on the location you are found. You have to make sure to know the repercussions of traveling in the software.
In the case of Netflix, for example, the selection of movies changes when you travel abroad. In the case of Spotify (although I am not entirely sure), you just will be able to listen to it for 15 days (not entirely sure about this).
So, most tools will not have any restriction about where you use them, but watch out for those that do, since, and especially, if you are doing slow tourism (and you are going to stay in a place for some time while running your business and/or doing some work). Not having certain services/tools might automatically put a stop to your business.
Two-factor authentication or safe / non-intrusive mechanisms for detection.
Most important you should have all your information at hand to be able to unlock your software, in case security flags are raised because of your traveling.
Many services will count as a red flag that you are traveling (especially if you move a lot), and that is for your security. The thing is that if you are going to be abroad for a long time, you have to be sure you know how to unblock your access if your services decide to do so.
A good idea is to use 2FA with Google authenticator for all those services that provide it. If you used your local line as security code make sure you leave your SIM in your home with a friend and more importantly making sure that your friend.
As a matter of fact, I recommend you to get a budget android device to use just as an authenticator device, and either doesn't take it with you (but give it to somebody that can help you gain access to your services on demand).
Ideally, your applications should get all of these, but if they don't...
Some many tools won't have all of these features, and you won't change them because you find them irreplaceable, or perhaps you have no choice, because the tool provides the features that you need and you just like working with it. In that case, you will have to focus in making sure that you have enough time under the ideal circumstances (in a desk with good internet, a good computer, or other specific software/hardware requirements are for your tool) to use them during your trip.
Should you change your tool based on your lifestyle? That is not a question that has one answer. But ultimately, the final solution should be found on the quality and quantity of your output vs. how they accommodate to your remote / distributed and location independent lifestyle.
At the end of the day, your ability to continue a nomadic life, in most cases, depending on your ability to make income to sustain your lifestyle; therefore you should always focus on that first... fortunately, things are shifting overall to provide the traits that we are mentioning, and bring you the best of both of those things.
But if you are serious about having a nomadic lifestyle, or you travel and work a lot like a work requirement, if you are looking for new tools or looking to replace the ones you have, then you should consider these factors.
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