5 Things I Always Pack in My Traveling Work Bag
1. Notebooks, planner, 2 Muji pens
I’ve mentioned this time and time again, I absolutely love using pen and paper to keep myself organized. Not only do I have a weekly planner that I take with me absolutely everywhere, I also have separate notebooks for meetings/client work and personal work.
Having notebooks makes visualizing my plans and to-dos much easier. Plus, there’s nothing quite like the feeling you have when you cross off items from your list.
The Muji pens are totally a personal preference but seriously, have you tried these pens? They’re amazing!
2. E-Reader (I use a Kindle)
I love turning to a book when I’ve hit a wall or feel inspired to finish my work. I recently read this article about listening to your work needs. The whole point of freelancing is being able to curate your own schedule right? So why is it we always force ourselves to work strict 8hr days Monday through Friday? I understand if you’re collaborating with a company or working remotely but if you’re self-employed, why not structure your workday to suit your needs?
When you’re tired of responding to endless emails, can’t seem to get your code working quite right, don’t know what kind of blog post to write, TAKE A BREAK.
Plus, remember you can get virtually any book in the world delivered right to your e-reader! That means you can also get texts you need for work too! My partner, a master distiller in Slovenia, loves downloading food science books and cookbooks to take with us on the road. For her, being able to access research without having to worry about spotty wifi is a blessing and means she can stay up to date with her work.
3. Noise-reducing Earphones (and a very short list of podcasts)
I feel like this one doesn’t need much of an explanation. So instead, I’ll leave a quick recommendation. I use these Jabra earphones almost every single day, even when I’m just working from home. They have a sound-reducing option to keep out cafe chatter and help you get into deep focus. If you don’t like listening to music or podcasts while you work, they also offer white noise options so you can pretend you’re working on a beach in the tropics while you tackle your projects.
Re:podcasts, I have two, and only two, that I ever listen to and would ever recommend: My Favorite Murder and You’re Wrong About. If you’re into comedy and learning new things (like, oh I don’t know, about serial killers–just me?), these will absolutely be up your alley.
4. International Sim Cards/Local Sim Cards
Hopefully by now, you’ve realized how important it is to be able to connect to data at any point and from any point. If you’re like me and work both on website and/or social media, you’ve definitely felt the frustration of being unable to access your work or simply just post a story. GET A INTERNATIONAL or LOCAL SIM.
There are plenty of great international plans (call your provider) but I prefer to buy local sim cards. Yes it may not be the cheapest option, but I would rather shell out $20 once and know for sure that I’ll be able to do my work and get paid no matter what. Sure, you could just go to a bunch of cafes but sometimes you don’t get that lucky and the three cafes you’ve gone to don’t have wifi and you can’t get onto your maps to find another cafe that might have wifi so I guess you’re just done with work for the day. NOT TODAY, FRIEND!
5. A Downloaded Map with 3-4 Starred Cafes
Now, if you would really prefer NOT to buy a sim or if you like getting out of your room to get work done, make sure you download a map of the city you’re in (Google Maps is a great option for this) and find a handful of places you can work from. Most times Google Maps will also tell you if there is wifi available (not 100% reliable but still a great starting point) so you don’t have to worry about having paid for your coffee and croissant but being stuck without wifi.
My advice, find place that look appealing to you so you feel more inspired to work–no one likes sitting in a dark room on plastic chairs, right? Natural light and good snacks are always key.