Gear We Like
How to Make Your Own Nomad Office
Let’s be honest, working on a laptop sucks. The ergonomics are horrible, the screen is tiny, and the keyboard leaves much to be desired. If you are an avid traveler who sets up a base every once in awhile, why not build your own office setup?
In late 2011 to early 2012 I rented an apartment in Chiang Mai, Thailand for a few months. Though it was good to have a place to call my own while I ventured around the area, it wasn’t all that great for work. Even if you have a little home, it still sucks to edit photos on an 11.4” screen.
Here’s what you should do:
Buy a Monitor
The first thing I did was go out and buy a monitor. These days, an LCD monitor can be had for less than $100 and you can triple your workspace. BAM! If you do a lot of research, work with video or photography, or want to watch a movie, the experience will be so much better.
In my case, I splurged for a monitor with an IPS panel. Essentially, it displays much better colors and makes working on my photography a joy. I spent about $190 on a 24” IPS LCD monitor, and $8 for an HDMI cable.
Cost: $80 (and up) .
Note: Be sure to check what kind of video connection your notebook computer can take, and if you require an extra cable. With some Apple Macbooks and Ultrabooks, you may require an adapter as well.
Buy a Mouse (and Keyboard)
Now this doesn’t apply for everyone, but I travel with a wireless mouse all the time as it is. I even keep a little mouse pad slid into my laptop sleeve for easy access. The fact is, the touchpad on my notebook is horrible (Apple users are so spoiled)
If you don’t normally carry a mouse, but it helps you work, definitely think about picking one up. A decent wired mouse will often cost less than $10, while a decent wireless one for travel could be $30-$100. I travel with a Logitech M705 (check prices) that has a three-year battery life.
You can often pick up a kit with a wired keyboard and a mouse for $25 and up..
Cost: $10 – $100
Note: If you’re going to buy a mouse, get one decent enough that it won’t give you grief. Brands like Logitech and Microsoft are safe bets so that even if you go with a low cost model, it will still be quality.
Buy a Set of Speakers
So you have a cozy little setup, why not finish it off with some sound you can actually enjoy. There are no laptops that have decent sound, and if you have your own place, you shouldn’t have to worry about throwing on your headphones.
A respectable upgrade from your laptop speakers can cost as little as $10, and provide a world of difference from that tinny sound coming from the bottom of your laptop. I picked up a pair of Logitech Z120 speakers (check prices) that were powered by USB and had a built-in volume control
Note: Check to see how the speakers are powered. USB powered can be handy if you have an extra port to spare on your notebook.
What Do I Do With It All?
So it’s time to move on, and you’re telling me that your luggage won’t fit a 24” LCD Monitor?
Think of it as a low cost rental. If you are going to be in the same place for a couple of months or more, dropping $150 on some gear that helps you work can be tremendous value. If you do your research, you’ll be able to find a local classifieds section such as Kijiji to post your things on, or find another digital nomad who can make use of it.
In my case, I spent about $250, and received about $180 for it when I sold it. For the nearly three months I used it, it cost me less than $1 a day. I made that money back in productivity in a couple of days.
What is your time worth? Would you invest in some gear to help you work more efficiently?