Whether you’re looking to create content while you travel, stay on the road for more than a few weeks at a time or live fully off-grid, having a source of income for most people is critical. While you can travel on savings alone, having a source of income often means you can stay on the road for longer and are less likely to get caught out by any unforeseen expenses that tend to arise. We’ve put together some advice and things to know for anyone looking to work while on the road.
The importance of a reliable 12v power system
Power is possibly the number one most important thing for anyone looking to work while on the road. Whether you’re working on a laptop or using your trade to carry out odd jobs, devices and power tools need to be charged. Because of this your power system needs to be 100% reliable. These days there are many different off-grid power options on the market meaning you can make the choice as to whether you want portable power or a more traditional dual battery system.
No matter what type of power system you choose, more often than not if you’re looking to charge a laptop or power tools, you’ll need a Pure Sine Wave Inverter. Pure sine wave inverters covert DC power to AC mains power and allow you to plug in, run and charge devices as you would in a power point at home. Choosing the right sized inverter is critical as a too small inverter won’t run your devices, and an inverter that is too big means you’ll need a big enough dual battery charging system to run it.
Photographer, Bel Jones, knows the importance of having a reliable 12V system when working on the road, “Being a photographer, the most essential thing for me is being able to adequately charge my camera, drone and laptop. Without these it's impossible for me to do my job. I love to plan my trips around the weather, for example, if a client requires moody shots then I will ensure I head out in stormy weather to capture the feel for the project. As my work takes me to remote places it's also important for me to have my Garmin InReach charged at all times if in the case I ever needed to use it in an emergency.
Having a REDARC 12v system in my vehicle has completely changed the game for me in terms of what I can achieve off-road and the amount of time I can spend being off-grid. The ability to have all my camera gear continuously charged and ready to go is so vital to me in order to be able to operate, not to mention keeping perishable foods stored safely for longer periods of time in a 12v fridge.”
WiFi is possibly the next most important thing for most people looking to work remotely. No matter what job you’re doing, having access to the Internet is critical. These days, there are many different options when it comes to getting WiFi on the road.
The first, and the cheapest, is to find free public WiFi hotspots. Whether this is in a public library, café, or caravan park, there are many ways to get access to public WiFi. The downside of public WiFi is that the connection can be slow and intermittent, and you do have to be within range. This means that you can’t get truly remote as you’re always relying on being within range.
Another relatively inexpensive option is using your phone as a mobile internet hotspot. Many phone plans these days come with large internet allowances and you can easily wirelessly connect with your laptop. This mobile data does have a limit though, so you’ll need to make sure you’re not exceeding this and that you have phone reception.
If you’re going to be travelling remotely long term, you might want to consider a satellite WiFi setup. Satellite WiFi connections can access internet anywhere in the world with quite fast connection speeds. They are quite expensive to setup and run and will require a satellite dish to be mounted to the roof.
Stick to a routine
While working on the road might seem like fun, it can be hard to get into the work headspace when you’re on camped on a white sandy beach or eager to get your rig dirty on the tracks. Because of this, sticking to a routine can be a great way to stay motivated and make sure all your work gets done while still enjoying your time on the road.
Blocking out specific work hours is a good way to start. While it doesn’t have to be 9-5, as that’s one of the benefits of working remotely, having specific work hours means it’s easy to keep track of how much you’re working and stay motivated. It also means you know exactly when you’re free to log off and go for an afternoon swim or get stuck into that 4WDing.
As well as having a specific work time, having a specific workspace can be another way to stay motivated. Getting up in the morning, getting dressed and sitting down to work rather than just logging on from bed can help make you feel motivated and have a productive workday.
For more information on designing and setting up the perfect 12v system for whatever work you need to do on the road, check out our Powering Vanlife blog. And don’t just take our word for it, see how full timers like Max do with a converted van running off our Manager30 Battery Management System.