Below is a guest post by Outdoorsy, sharing with you 5 hacks for working on the road. As someone who is still learning how to navigate working on and off the road - this is helpful post for seasoned and new freelancers alike.
For most people, traveling is a time to get away from work and spend time relaxing. Yet for those who love extended travel or want to take their work with them, working on the road has many advantages. Once you overcome the initial struggles of a mobile office, a whole new world unfolds before you. Working from an RV while on the road poses many challenges but offers even more rewards. These challenges can include finding space to work, gaining the necessary connectivity to the outside world and find work to do. Here are 5 hacks to help deal with these issues so you work successfully while on the road.
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UNLIMITED MOBILE HOTSPOT
Getting reliable internet access while on the road is critical for most jobs. It is also one of the most challenging things a worker on the road will face. One of the best solutions is an unlimited mobile hotspot. These differ from your standard cell phone hot spot connections in that they are not throttled back to unusable speeds after a certain GB of used data is reached. Finding one can also be tricky because most cell carriers do not offer them directly, or they don't make them obvious choices in their product lines. The trick is to look for pre-paid plans, where you buy the equipment upfront, pay an activation fee and then pay monthly in advance for the service. Generally, there is no contract or plan length requirements. Verizon offers a MiFi hotspot that is unlimited, but only under their pre-paid program. Other providers to look at include unlimitedLTEdata which sells prepaid unlimited T-Mobile hotspots. Unlimitedville also offers prepaid unlimited plans on Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint or AT&T.
Check the coverage maps before deciding what you are going to buy to make sure they will offer service where you plan to travel. When you are living and traveling in different places you will want to have extended coverage. With these services you can have good, reliable, and unlimited internet access for your work while on the road.
Wireless networking is a great technology for an RV when working on the road. Many RV parks offer Wi-Fi which you can connect into for free, or a small fee. The long, narrow, sectional designs of most RV vehicles do not make them the best spaces for wireless networking. The outside walls can also weaken the park's Wi-fi signal enough to make it unusable inside. This is where a Wi-Fi hub and booster comes into play. These units have better antennas to pick up weaker signals. The hub can connect to the park's wireless connection through its superior antennas and then devices inside the RV can connect to the stronger signal sent out by the hub. This offers three advantages for those working from their RV. First, you get better signal strength and coverage throughout the RV for all your devices. Second, the Wi-Fi hub allows you to have a wireless LAN so you can connect multiple computers, printers and other devices and share data between them privately. Finally, a lot of parks limit the number of connections to their Wi-Fi from any given site. In many cases, you will only be able to connect one device. These devices will connect using that one connection provided by the park and allow multiple devices in your network to share that connection.
There are many suppliers of these devices including Alpha Networking, Linksys and Netgear.
FLEXJOBS FOR MORE WORK
If you are a freelancer or contract worker, you can add to your client base with services like FlexJobs and other online platforms. FlexJobs is unique in that it is a website-based job listing board which charges the job seeker a small fee. That fee is used to cover screening of the jobs listed on the service to ensure they are legit and available to remote workers. This is a great service that drastically reduces fraud and helps to ensure you are not applying for jobs where the job provider would never hire you because of your remote location status. Jobs listed can also be broken down into permanent hire, temporary hire, freelance and contract so you can match jobs specific to your needs. Working from the road is easier when you have a hub to search for jobs that fit the lifestyle.
USE YOUR TELEVISION AS A MONITOR
Most RVs have built in large screen TVs that work great as large screen computer monitors. This allows you to setup a larger workspace without having to dedicate extra space. Connecting your laptop or PC to a flatscreen TV is pretty easy assuming it is a newer TV with HDMI ports, or a USB port for a ChromeCast dongle. Add a wireless keyboard and mouse and you can set your Laptop off to the side (or even in another room) and work from the couch. This is one example of the mentality of everything having multiple uses, which is crucial for working on the road.
Keeping your devices powered while on the road can be an issue. This is the case while driving and when staying in locations that lack shore power. One solution is to buy a generator, but that can be excessive and expensive just to charge a laptop or briefly run a printer. You also can not use a generator while you are driving and pulling trailer. In these situations, look at a small 12 V compatible inverter. Inverters of up to 1000 watts can be often be run from 12V auto accessory ports and will give you enough power to charge a laptop or run a small printer. These can also be tied into your RVs electrical system so you can use those devices from the house batteries. You will want to get a pure sine wave model, these are more expensive but produce the clean power many electronic devices need.
Shelley Trupert works for Outdoorsy, an RV marketplace for consumers and pros. She has been camping for almost 20 years and is always looking to find the next hike, off the beaten path. While she used to enjoy tenting in the wilderness, she prefers to camp in an RV now—whether it is a Class C or a teardrop trailer—to enjoy a little comfort after a long day outdoors and the ease of travel it provides. Her goal is to hike in all of the national parks in North America.
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