For those whose work life takes place entirely in the on-the-go office, the struggle will be familiar. Strung out on espresso for more wifi codes, cursing the Airbnb apartment’s internet at every buffer, caressing your laptop like a baby for fear of damage; it can feel like the digital nomad dream is forever hanging precariously in the balance.
Every precaution is necessary to protect this brittle situation. Because if one card is removed, the house comes tumbling down. With everything pinned on fully functioning technology, it’s better to be safe than sorry. With that in mind, here are 5 IDEAL tech survival tips for digital nomads.
BUY A CHEAP BACK UP LAPTOP
Sometimes you’ve got the speculate to accumulate. Though the initial outlay on a backup laptop may put your monthly budget off-kilter, the promise of protection it offers is definitely worth the investment. Because when (that’s when) your primary device goes down, you’re going to need an immediate substitute to keep your work in motion. Laptops can take an unpredictably long while to get fixed abroad, yet you have to keep your own money making machine running. There’s no regular income of a boring ol’ nine to five here.
Best to have a backup then, even if it’s just a cheap-as-chips model. Asus do a host of reliable-enough tablet/laptop hybrids at around the £200 mark, and honestly, that’s money well spent in the long run.
BACKUP YOUR WEBSITE & FILES
Best to have a backup, then. Such sage words they bear repeating. True for tangible devices, as above, and also very damn true for your precious, precarious digital world. If you run your own website or blog, you should back up the whole thing, as often as daily, or at least ask your host to do so. You should give any important files the same treatment. Digital safety nets are so important when living the transient life of the digital nomad.
There are several ways to keep things secure; you should always travel with an external hard drive, as well as making use of the cloud or dropbox to manually keep files existing in the ether.
OPTIMISE YOUR HARD DRIVE
Potentially as damaging as a broken laptop is an operating system running at a slow, stuttering pace. Time is money for the digital nomad, and time spent staring at a rotating, rainbow coloured beach ball is time spent not earning money. Simply grinning and bearing it will be costing you big time.
Best, then, to optimise your computer’s hard drive to make sure everything is running at full potential. The best software for this in our view is Macpaw’s Clean My Mac, which can now be used for Windows, too. It has facilities to streamline your hard drive, as well as serving as anti-virus software, which offers vital added protection. A must.
HAVE A MOUSE & KEYBOARD
Back to basics with this one, but a necessary mention while we’re talking about optimising your systems. You’d be surprised at just how much time is wasted (and therefore, money made) by fiddling about on an unresponsive touchpad mouse and less than ergonomic laptop keyboard.
You want to do everything in your power to make things run smoothly and efficiently. So, get yourself an external mouse which glides, highlights and clicks with precision; the wireless, Bluetooth ones are particularly good for working in a cafe, as space is often at a premium. An external keyboard with bigger keys to aim for, a more manageable layout and better angle for your wrists is another purchase which makes a real difference in the long run.
OVERSEAS PHONE CONTRACT
Being in thrall to a wifi connection overseas which is as unpredictable as it is unreliable is a stressful state to be in when access to the web determines your paycheck. Another prudent investment, then, is a short-term, traveller’s sim card and phone contract containing unlimited 4G. In several digital nomad hotspots like Chiang Mai, Bali, Beirut and Taipei, such a contract won’t cost you much more than a tenner a month. Well worth it, we think, as you can hotspot and, as such, always have backup internet access at hand.