I love to travel as light as possible, but there’s a certain amount of tech gear that I need to grow my freelance copywriting business and manage my projects on the road. Here’s a rundown of the exact software and tools I use to run my business and travel.
The tech gear I use to work and travel
To keep on top of your work game and stop you looking like a croissant at the end of each day – a laptop stand is essential.
Hours, days, and months of writing can take a huge toll on your posture. You’ll be dealing with more ridiculous table, desk, and chair set-ups than you ever thought possible when you’re living a nomadic lifestyle. Neck problems, back problems, and eye strain are all waiting around the corner for you – and they’re hard to shake once they set in.
Investing in a portable laptop stand is one of the best things you can do if you’re intending to travel and work remotely. There’s a lot of great stands on the market, but the Roost laptop stand is my personal favourite. It’s super light, sturdy, and folds into a handy stick shape that you can slide easily into your daypack or backpack. Mine’s still going strong after 4 years.
Now you have the stand, you’re going to need a separate keyboard too. If you try to type on your laptop keyboard when it’s up on the stand, it’s not going to be comfortable for you!
I chose the K380 because it’s small – but still big enough to comfortably type on, and ultra light. Bluetooth connection to your laptop means no extra cables, and the battery life is great. It’s compatible with both Windows and Mac, and you can connect it to 3 different devices. So if you want to use it with your laptop, tablet, and phone – you can!
A couple of years ago I developed some bad RSI in my mousing hand. And it turned quickly into excruciating shoulder pain. It was a fun time. I was in Mexico – so I had no proper diagnosis, but I’m pretty sure it was a frozen shoulder (thanks Dr Google!). My shoulder got so painful I could barely dress myself. This lasted for a full year, and it sucked.
Everything I read pointed to a rollerball mouse as being a potential solution for this whole mess. So I grabbed the MX Ergo and started to notice an improvement within a few days. While the shoulder thing seemed to take forever to go away, my RSI wrist problems stopped and haven’t been a problem since I started using this mouse.
You can use it at two angles to give your wrist a break during the day. It’s a little chunkier and heavier than I would like for travelling, but it’s totally worth it to have zero pain while I work.
This is the first Macbook I’ve ever owned, so I was nervous about buying it. My trusty ancient Lenovo took a dive onto a tiled floor and despite trying to stick the screen and hinges back together with duct tape, I knew it was time to get a replacement.
The only downside is that it has a single USB C port, so I had to buy an external Anker hub to plug my existing old USB gear into.
The digital nomad’s best friend. I literally would not have coped without noise cancelling headphones during my travels. Through airports, planes, cafes, co-working spaces, noisy hotels and Airbnbs – these have kept me calm and sane as I work. I weighed up between the Bose Quiet Comfort noise cancelling headphones and the Sony WH-1000MX4, and went with the Sony for its better musical sound quality.
Although my Macbook speakers are good – sometimes I need a little more volume and depth of sound. And it’s great to take to the beach and run off my phone.
It took ages to decide on the right bluetooth speaker, but the Flip 5 turned out to be a great choice. Since I got it, I’ve noticed that every second nomad I see has one of these – and there’s a good reason for that. It’s light, has excellent battery life, and it’s waterproof. Pretty much the perfect travel speaker.
Headaches, insomnia, dry eyes…the laptop lifestyle has its drawbacks. I was in two minds about buying blue light glasses, because there doesn’t seem to be much scientific evidence that they work. But since I’ve been using them, my headaches and dry eyes from working on a screen all day are now a thing of the past.
There’s a ton of choices and prices out there for screen glare glasses, but the Bossiers were my pick as they’re super light and stylish. And they make people take me more seriously on work calls 🙂
I have software tools to manage my daily tasks and goals, but pen and paper is still my #1 productivity tool. The Clever Fox was recommended to me a a few people, and the best thing is that it comes in a mini planner version which is the absolute perfect size for travel. It has blank dates which means you can start using it whenever during the year, and will keep you going for 12 months.
I’ve bought and lost a few of these in my travels! They’re an essential part of your kit for work and travel, as plugs and voltages are different all over the world. Dodgy power supplies can also seriously damage your laptop and electronics if you’re not using a universal power adapter with surge protection – so make sure your adapter has that feature if possible.
Client work, projects, photographs, and other important files are at the mercy of whatever happens to your laptop. Make sure you back everything up regularly with a portable flash drive! I carry two of these with me for double backup protection. One in my backpack, and one in my tech bag for extra peace of mind.
Seeing as I’d shelled out for a new Macbook, I thought I’d better get some extra protection in the form of a travel sleeve. These protect your laptop from damage, dust, water, and scratches as you travel around, and they’re a cheap investment for your most important piece of tech – so well worth it.
On the subject of travel sleeves, I also use this Roost keyboard protector. I’m constantly taking my keyboard in and out of bags, so I needed to make sure the keys don’t get damaged. This light, foam sleeve was the perfect fit for my Logitech bluetooth keyboard, and it was only $14.95.
A portable charging bank is a lifesaver when you travel. Sometimes your devices run out of power right when you need them most (like when you need Google maps to find your Airbnb, or you’re booking an Uber, or you’re just about to save that document you’ve been working on for hours). A portable power bank will ensure this never happens to you.
I bought this Anker hub as my Macbook only has a USB C port – and many of the other tech accessories I travel with haven’t caught up with USB C technology yet. The hub lets me connect my mouse and other standard USB devices easily to my laptop.
Want to be the most popular person at a cafe or co-working space? Then you need this wall splitter. You can stop being “that guy” that hogs all the power, and turn one power point into many with this handy adapter. It’s also great when you have a lot of devices, and two people that need to use them, but your hotel room only has one measly socket to plug into.
The software I use to work and travel
The most important software that most travellers forget about is a VPN. WiFi networks aren’t secure – especially if you’re using public Wifi at airports and cafes. Not to get doomy and gloomy, but people are really out there trying to steal your data and passwords to things like your email and bank accounts. And if they’re close to you when you’re working on WiFi with low security, then you’re in trouble.
VPNs are crucial to make sure you stay safe when you work and travel by providing you with ultra-high internet security whenever you go online. I use NordVPN – but there are other great solutions out there like ExpressVPN which was named best VPN service by TechRadar.
Bonsai is essential to help me manage my clients, projects, and invoicing. When I started freelancing, I tried to do everything manually. It was a pain in the butt, and took SO much time.
Using an all-in-one platform like Bonsai helped me save hours every week by automating my project proposals and contracts. It keeps all my client details in one place, and generates automatic invoices and reminders – which is my favourite feature.
Your laptop is one of the most precious pieces of tech as a digital nomad. Make sure you’ve got some sort of antivirus scanner on there. I use Avast on my Macbook, but there are plenty of other great security options out there.
Mailerlite is free to use, and it’s how I collect the names and information of potential clients…and other copywriters who stalk my website 🙂
Building a list is important to your freelance business, as it helps grow your authority as an expert in your field. It also gives you the opportunity to sell products and courses further into your career if you decide to.
If you don’t want to spend $$$ a month on email marketing software, Mailerlite is an ideal option.
Convertkit is another popular email marketing tool. I use this software for the blog you’re on now to send out newsletters to subscribers. Convertkit now has a freen plan, so I thought I’d try it out and compare it to Mailerlite.
This piece of software functions as my virtual brain. I use it to keep track of leads, clients, projects, tasks, and daily to-do stuff. ClickUp is free, super easy to use and has a ton of functions that can help you run your business more smoothly.
This is my go-to project management software when I work with clients and teams on projects. You can outline all your project timelines, share documents, and message your clients from the app. Nifty also makes you look super professional and organized to your clients. Which you will be once you start using this!
Streak is another project management tool. But I just use it to track my emails. This software plugs straight into your Gmail account so you can see when people have received and opened your emails.
This has become almost universal as a remote work tool since Covid became a thing. Zoom lets you make and record video and audio calls for free, so it’s an essential tool for remote work and travel.
Loom is a video and screen recorder. It’s free and easy to use. As a freelance copywriter, I use this tool to do video walkthroughs of my copy so that clients can more easily understand the how and why of their new website copy. It’s much easier to send this information via a video than a long, boring text document.
This is my preferred way to write articles and draft other forms of copy for my clients. It’s free, easy to use, and shareable – so if you work as a team, everyone can work in sync in the same document.
Slack is a popular tool for remote workers and nomads alike. I can communicate with my clients, talk business with fellow writers, and chat to other groups of nomads in remote work and travel channels. It’s the perfect tool to help you stay connected with other people when you’re living a location independent lifestyle.
Rachael is a full-time digital nomad and freelance copywriter for B2B and SaaS companies. She’s worked with brands like Unbounce, Biteable, Datacom, Viddyoze, and Owler.
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