When people ask me what I’m doing in Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, or Scotland, my answer tends to be the same:
I’m working. Sort of.
You see, I travel full-time, working remotely from wherever I happen to be in the world. I run a small strategy and writing business — and pretty much everything I do can be done electronically. So it only made sense two years into the business when I decided that if I had to work, I wanted to do it in beautiful, exotic, culturally different places.
And just in case you are thinking of doing the same thing — either running a business from the road, starting a business on the road, or perhaps convincing your boss to let you work remotely — here are the things I carry with me. Things I’ve found indispensable or simply useful in keeping costs low, productivity high, and business trips still professional.
Without further hemming and hawing, then…
The ultimate female packing guide to working from the road:
Laptop computer set up with…
- Skype phone number (even if you’re carrying a cell phone, a Skype phone number, at about $5 per month, can serve as your business line with a professional voicemail message and unlimited free incoming calls)
- Account(s) with WIFI providers like Boingo (which will enable quick internet access at airports, train stations, etc. in a pinch)
- Asana or another project tracking system (when working from the road, it’s important to be uber organized)
- Google Voice (check the prices – sometimes making outgoing calls is cheaper with Google Voice, especially while you’re in the US and it’s free!)
Adaptors for each country or region you plan to visit
A portable, removable hard drive (back up everything and keep it in a different bag than your computer, just in case!)
Post-its or a small notebook (I prefer post-its, as I can stick them to windows or mirrors and visualize some of my work/ideas)
Small USB drive (to take with you to the printer should you need to print something)
Small screen cleaning cloth
One black pencil skirt in a non-wrinkling fabric (perfect for business meetings)
One nice, work-appropriate top also in a non-wrinkling fabric
Portable, nice flats (like Tieks) that can be worn for both travel and business
A nice, simple pair of earrings and matching necklace (again, for business meetings)
>> See our packing list post on looking professional while traveling for additional tips.
A simple makeup kit that includes:
- Tinted moisturizer or light foundation
- Chap stick
>> Have a read through our low-key traveler’s beauty kit for extra advice.
Portable monitor (If you’re used to having two monitors at the office, never fear, you can also have two monitors on the road)
A light camera that takes high quality photos (not only can your camera take photos of your travels, it can also double as a scanner, allowing you to take photos of signed contracts, sketches, etc. and send to your colleagues or clients)
Black, non-wrinkling pants (if you do a lot of business trips, having a second business-appropriate outfit is a good idea)
One additional work-appropriate top (try to pick something you can also feel good in day-to-day)
A few final tips
If you do happen to go on a business trip or two while you’re working remotely, it’s always nice to bring your clients something wonderful. If you’re in Paris, this might be a bottle of wine or some Madelines. If you’re in Belgium or Switzerland, think chocolate. Etc. This always adds a little extra something to a big presentation or meeting.
Obviously, in addition to your work gear, you’ll need the standard toiletries, clothing, paperwork, and a good novel, but that’ll all vary a little by season, length of travel, etc., so you should check out the super extensive list of packing lists here to fill in the rest of your luggage space.
Happy, productive travels to you all!
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About the Author: Gigi Griffis is a writer and humorist with a penchant for new places, scruffy men, and Italian cooking. In May 2012, she sold her stuff and took to the road with a growing business and her small dog, Luna. She’s been traveling full time ever since. You can read more about her adventures here.
*All photos except for title photo by Gigi Griffis.