We’ve mastered the experience of creating a home on the road–and with that comes keeping up with our work while living the van life. Our team at Voyager is often between coffee shops, coworking spaces, and out on the open road with our laptops. It’s an amazing thing to have that type of freedom, but the lifestyle is definitely an art. Nothing will mess with your outdoor adventure like worrying about getting strong enough WiFi for your morning call when you should be hiking through a forest.
Here are 7 tips we’ve learned from working on the road:
1. Travel during the week
If you’ve got the freedom to work from anywhere at any time, try to take advantage of weekday travel and see some sights while the rest of the world is chipping away at their 9-5s. Campsites are cheaper, traffic is less, and you’ll have your first choice when it comes to getting the best spot on the grounds.
- Your State Park’s website will have tons of great places to stay, with rates.
- Otherwise, check out our blog on sites for getting the best campgrounds.
2. Lockdown that WiFi
It’s easy to assume there’s WIFI everywhere. It’s 2019, right? Any nomad will tell you that it’s not always quite as easy as it sounds. It’s assumed to have the options of a coffee shop or campsite with WiFi along your route, but we’d recommend paying the extra dime to get a hotspot on your phone. While in the wilderness, this may not be an option–although it could up your odds if your team needs you to hop on a call while you’re between stops.
- Use speedtest.net to make sure your coffee shop won’t make for a garbly call
- For simple video calling, 300 kbps (kilobits per second) is good. For HD video, you need at least 1 Mbps (Megabits per second) and are sure to have good quality with 1.5 Mbps.
- Find campsites with WiFi.
- Consider a hotspot option for your cell plan
- Try this booster for even better signal.
- Psst: download any necessary docs beforehand if you can – to avoid bogging down your speeds if you’re on a hotspot.
3. You’ve got the power.
We know, this one seems obvious. But there can be just the right amount of things to go wrong on a trip to not have access to a power source while you’re off the grid! Nothing turns down the productivity like a dead laptop, even if it’s just for a few hours while you’re between spots.
- In Voyager campervans, we’ve got USB outlets and three pronged outlets for your laptop too.
- When the van is off, the power is coming from a secondary battery that charges while you’re driving.
- If you aren’t traveling in a Voyager campervan, we strongly recommend bringing a backup. Bring a wireless pack that you’re able to charge before you take off–these are good for laptops, too!
4. Have a strategy for your day.
Living the kind of life where you can hop in a van for an adventure ironically requires some planning in order to really soak up that freedom. In our experience, not having an idea of the things to experience within each day can make for a scattered time of trying to get work done, setting up camp, missing the epic sunset, or not having time for one last trail.
If you know you need to grab some supplies and work for a few hours before you hit the wilderness, make sure you’ve got the adventure parts of your day intentionally protected! Without doing a little planning, your work and adventure can suffer.
- Use a weather app to determine when you may have less than ideal weather. It may make sense to knock out some work while the sun isn’t shining.
- Alltrails app is a great tool to plan a hike in your free time, complete with hiking routes, mileage, and estimated trip times.
5. Pop into a new nomad community.
Touring around new areas of the US can be a perfect opportunity to make some nomad friends, and see some awesome work spaces. Rolling into town for a morning of working, or need a few hours of extra speedy WiFi? Finding a community coworking space can be a great way to get a glimpse of a different business ecosystem.
- List of coworking spaces
- Use tools like LiquidSpace, Coworker, and Croissant to find spaces across the nation.
- Ask for a tour- they’ll normally give you a few hours free of coworking!
- Hit up a local library if you want a free, quiet space with good reliable WiFi!
6. Burn less money (and time!) on food.
If you’re working and trying to get the most of life on the road, it’s really easy to burn lots of money on grabbing food as you go. Or, take up precious time prepping food in between shutting your laptop and stepping into the wilderness.
Stock up on dry snack foods before your trip, or from a grocery store along the way. When you do decide to cook, cook a batch that you can heat up – or, buy meals that are easy to whip up on the fly.
- If you really want to make things easy on yourself, bring MREs (Meals-Ready-to Eat) on your trip for quick and easy meals with little to no cleanup. Some MREs don’t require any cooking, simply open and eat, while others require boiling water.
- Link: MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) Genuine U.S. Military Surplus Assorted Flavor (4-Pack)
- If you’re the meal-prepping type, this blog might be for you: 36 Make-Ahead Camping Recipes for Easy Meal Planning
7. (Smell) like a professional.
Perhaps you’ve got a video call with your team, needing you to not look like a sasquatch. A quick dip in the lake might not give you the look or feel you need, so choose campsites along the way that have proper showers–but maybe just for a night or two. I mean, this is life on the road after all. You can’t smell someone through a web-call, right?
- Use this tool to find out best sites near you to grab a shower. Have some dollars and coins on you, as that is how many of them are operated.
- Dry shampoo is your friend, this is a cost effective favorite.
- Things like these biodegradable wipes can keep you feeling fresh in the void of showers or running water.