This month’s guest post of “5 things I always pack” is from Corbett Barr, editor and founder of Free Pursuits, a blog about living and working from anywhere in the world. Corbett has spent 11 out of the past 16 months traveling throughout Mexico, the U.S. and Canada. Here’s what he packs to keep the income flowing.
1. A Wireless Router Running DD-WRT
Since I work on the road, Internet connectivity is an absolute priority. When you’re traveling to remote parts of the world, connections to the Internet are sometimes weak and hard to come by. Having a wireless router with DD-WRT repeater capability lets me extend the range of networks I can connect to and has turned otherwise dead spots into instant productivity zones.
2. A Compact Surge Protector
Having a few essential electronics with you definitely makes life easier, but it’s a real bummer when a power surge destroys your setup. I lost a set of speakers to a power surge just two weeks into a recent three-month stint abroad. Power in developing nations is just too unpredictable, so I’m planning to carry a compact surge protector along with me every time from now on.
3. A Backup Laptop
Yes, I know carrying two laptops might seem a bit extreme, but if you’ve ever had one die on the road, you know what a disaster it can be. Instead of living in fear of being stuck without, I simply carry a second lightweight pre-configured laptop (I have my eye on the MacBook Air for the future) as a backup.
4. One No-fee Debit Card and a Backup from a Different Bank
OK, you might be sensing a theme here. I like to have backup arrangements with me, so I’m never stuck in an awkward situation in a foreign country. Having a backup debit card from a completely different bank helps make sure I always have access to cash. Just make sure not to carry both of them in the same place at the same time. If you’re on the road for an extended period of time, paying foreign exchange and ATM fees can really add up. Save yourself hundreds of dollars by doing a little research and opening an account at a bank with a completely fee-free debit card. The card I use from E*Trade Bank doesn’t charge me any fees to use foreign ATMs, and actually reimburses me for any fees the ATM operator charges, worldwide. [Editor's note: the current E-trade terms and conditions say U.S. only, so call first to check on your destination(s) coverage. Or open an account with Schwab, which says in writing it does reimburse foreign fees.]
5. A Pair of Compact Speakers
Living in another country for an extended period of time without music just kills me. That’s why I pack a pair of compact speakers that can plug into an iPod or laptop with me. They’re also good for watching movies when you’re with someone else (laptop speakers just don’t cut it for me).
See other 5 Things I Always Pack guest posts