I’ve worked remotely since 2012, and during the start of the pandemic, started working remotely from our RPod-192 travel trailer. In my current role as head of strategy at a digital marketing agency, not only do I need to have the right gear for my role, but I also need to be connected with reliable internet.
Here’s a look at my current RV remote, “work from home,” office set up, and some of the tips and tricks I’ve learned to maintain efficiency (and power!) so I can embrace the nomadic lifestyle.
Internet can be tricky when RVing. I never rely on campground internet, I think out of the 50+ campgrounds we’ve been to that maybe 2 of them had internet that was strong enough to do a video call. So, bring your own. My go to is my Calyx Institute Internet T-Mobile hot spot. It’s truly unlimited (no throttling) and it works wherever there are Sprint or T-Mobile towers. Also, it’s about $33/month. If we’re in a good spot, I’ll get 50mbps download speeds and 10mbps upload speeds — and I haven’t upgraded to the 5G model yet. The 5G is even faster. Even where I am now, which has so-so cell service, my download speeds are 10 and upload 3 — fast enough for video calls.
I do have an unlimited hotspot plan on my Verizon phone, but I notice it throttles down once I hit about 30 gigs of data.
Additionally, we do have a WiFi extender. On the off chance that our campground has WiFi, it does help bring a stronger signal to the RV. We’ll use this to connect our Nest or Govee devices so we can take the HotSpot with us if we’re on the go — or connect to our Chromecast if it’s fast enough.
This is a given, right? It doesn’t matter if you’re a Mac or PC person (I am a former Microsoftie, so I never switched from PC), a laptop is probably your everyday work device. If you’re choosing a new one, I’d look for lightweight and long battery life. I also have a Lenovo Yoga, which can be used in laptop or tablet mode, and is nice for watching movies in bed.
Portable Monitor/2nd Screen
This is a must for productivity. There are a ton of brands of lightweight and portable monitors out there. I happened to pick up a Viewsonic standard for a screaming deal on Amazon. The picture quality isn’t the best, but it works well for my email/spreadsheets (I use my laptop for my color matching needs). It’s also very lightweight and connects to my laptop via USB-C.
I’ve tried to use the mousepad on my latop, and it’s just awful. It will work in a pinch, but I prefer my trusty Logitech silent mouse that I’ve had forever. It’s super quiet and I don’t annoy my husband with non-stop clicking. I also have the Surface Arc mouse and keep that in my travel bag for work trips, and it’s very quiet — but it’s triple the cost. It’s just not as ergonomically comfortable as the Logitech.
I still like to take notes by hand. I swear, if I take the notes by hand, I remember them better. A former company of mine was purchased and I ended up with hundreds of notebooks with our old logo — so that’s what I use. However, if I had to buy notebooks, I would always choose one that has a hardercover and holds a pen. Here’s a similar type.
Noise Canceling Earbuds
If you are in a small, enclosed space and not alone — you need earbuds. And even if you are alone, it’s likely your RV AC unit is super loud and earbuds will help you hear over the noise. I’ve been using my original Samsung Buds with noise canceling. I also have a pair of backup wired cheapie headphones just in case I forget to charge my Buds.
12 Volt Laptop Cord
We’re on shore power the majority of the time, but occasionally we’re not. We don’t have a solar package on our RV (though we do have a generator), so our standard outlets do not work on just battery power alone. I purchased an aftermarket 12volt to laptop USB-C cord so I can plug into our 12volt plug. It’s come in handy and then I don’t have to worry about charging in the Jeep, running the generator, or worry about the battery backup.
When it comes to batteries, there are a ton of different brands at different price points. You could go solar, or go big with a Jackery, etc. but I just went with a Halo. It’s powerful enough to get about two full charges on my laptop, though the Halo battery does take like 4-5 hours to recharge once plugged in. I just make sure it’s charged when we have shore power, or if we’re boondocking I’ve been known to plug it in when we’re stopped to give it a bit of juice. If budget and space were not an object, I’d probably invest in the Goal Zero Yeti.
Lastly, it’s always good to have good lighting for video calls. I don’t always use a ring light, but have for webinar or podcast recordings. You just need a small on that clips near your laptop camera — and it makes a huge difference. It’s compact enough that it’s easy to store, and it can also double as a flashlight if needed.
And if you’re more of a video person than a blog person, here’s the video version of this post:
Embracing the nomadic lifestyle while working remotely has been a challenge at times, but also an incredible journey for me. It’s amazing how a few well-chosen tools can turn my tiny dinette into a fully-functional workspace. If you have any work from your trailer tips and tricks – I’d love to hear them. Please drop me a comment below.
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