My morning commute is pretty simple as a work at home mom. After I feed the kids breakfast and brew myself a cup of coffee, I walk through the kitchen right to my office. Now that it’s warmer and my kids are out of school, a change of scenery keeps us from driving each other batty. That’s when I pack up my mobile office and head to the park or the local indoor play place.
Besides the usual things like my smartphone, laptop/tablet, etc, here are the essentials I can’t leave home without when I work on the go.
My New Trent iMirror backup battery/charger is always in my bag, not just when I’m traveling. It weighs only 9 ounces so you’ll barely notice, which probably weighs less than my wallet. The iMirror is one big battery that will, via USB cable, charge my Samsung Galaxy SII up to three times before it runs out of juice! Or your iPad up to 50% battery. The battery will charge your iPhone, HTC, whatever device you have a USB cable for. The iMirror because it has two USB ports so you can charge two items at once, which will make you pretty popular at blogger events!
I never thought I needed a wireless hotspot until I owned one. My NetZero 4G Hotspot has come in handy at Ikea, where I worked while my kids played. I’ve pulled it out during meetings because you can connect up to 8 devices to it! I use it in the car when my son is super cranky and only the iPad will soothe him. I’ve even used it to get some work done in the car, while my husband drives of course. NetZero charges a monthly fee for its service but they also offer a very low data plan free. You just have to purchase the device. If you’re a power user like me, you will probably want a higher plan. My NetZero hotspot has also saved me from paying the high wireless fees that hotels charge. (Want more info, read my full review on the NetZero 4G Hotspot.)
A retractable USB cable might not sound like a big deal, but it keeps my bag/purse less cluttered. The iMirror comes with one, but it’s always good to have a second one. Because it’s retractable I won’t have to worry about tangled cords or losing the tie that keeps your cord bundled up. I found mine at the Five Below store, but this one on Amazon contains different tips (micro USB, iOS, etc) that will work for almost any device.
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse: I don’t use a mouse very often with my laptop, but when I want one, I pull out my wireless Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. The travel friendly mouse stores flat and curls up when you’re ready to use it. You won’t lose the wireless USB adapter either because a magnet stores it underneath the mouse. I feel very Star Trekkie high tech when I pull it out of my laptop case. Maybe a little hip too. The Arc Touch is a full size mouse so you won’t get any hand cramps while using it. Bonus, the mouse is also available in different colors and designs. The Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse retails for $59.95, but I wish mine was this Sangria Red one, which is currently $34.99 on Amazon.
A good laptop sleeve is a must have for anyone who works on the go. After searching for a stylish sleeve for my new laptop (which is larger than my old, broken one), I discovered this super cute fuchsia Golla laptop sleeve that also converts to a bag with the included strap. It’s lightly padded and has a zippered pocket on the outside. If you don’t want to use it as a sling, there’s a handle that pops up from the top of the bag. I prefer sleeves because I can just stick it in my big purse and it won’t count as a carry-on item. I just bought mine and will put it to the test on my travels soon. I’ll keep you updated! I couldn’t find the link to the bag I purchased on Amazon, but Golla has a huge, color selection of laptop bags and sleeves in many sizes.
Bonus Item: Last but not least, the most important thing for this working mom: coffee. If you’re traveling it can be hard to get your hands on a good cup of coffee. I always carry a stash of Starbucks VIA with me. It’s pretty easy to find hot water and sweetener at the airport. You won’t be subjected to bad coffee in your hotel room either. Sometimes I’ll bring the Starbucks VIA Iced Coffee with me too. I’ve seen similar packets at Trader Joe’s but haven’t tried them out. If you want a Vietnamese style iced coffee, my husband drinks this VinCafe brand. Warning: it’s on the sweet side.
Thien-Kim Lam loves her mobile gadgets but also loves to curl up with a book on the weekend with a good book. She also writes about multicultural parenting, technology, and food on her blog I’m Not the Nanny.