Digital nomadism is becoming increasingly popular in this day and age, where working has become more detached from a central office. If you work from a laptop then chances are you can do it while on the road, provided you have a source of power and some internet connection. Here are our tips for working from your campervan or motorhome.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that digital nomadism is just one big vacation with a bit of work thrown haphazardly in. This couldn’t be further from the case. The reality is that you will still have to spend a significant portion of your day, and your week, sitting in-front of your computer.
Life in a campervan or motorhome is also very different to a normal house. Limited space can make it challenging, especially if you are travelling with a partner or pets. It can be a good idea to rent a campervan to see if you enjoy the experience of travelling in a van.
While there may be some challenges to becoming a digital nomad there are a lot of advantages. Every morning you can wake up to see a different view. In your lunch breaks you could go on a walk in a new city or sit on the beach. When the weekend rolls around you are already at your holiday destination so you don’t have to waste any time travelling. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for working in your campervan or motorhome.
1. Establish a good power supply.
To successfully become location independent, you need to be able to rely on your campervan or motorhome for a few things. Mostly importantly you need to be able to charge any work devices. This means having a substantial leisure battery or a large portable battery that can sustain your electrical needs for at least a few days.
If you chose to have a dedicated leisure battery system, it will have to be up to scratch to power a laptop. Most laptops run on 240v power, and a leisure system will give you 12v. This means you need an inverter to step the power up. Inverters are electricity hungry so you will need a big battery bank and probably solar power as-well to keep your system running. Don’t let this scare you though, it’s not too hard to create a killer leisure battery set up.
The other alternative is to spend a few nights a week in a campsite. This may be something that you are thinking about. Campsites will offer electric hook up pitches which give you all the power you can use. If you have deadlines coming up and need to get lots of work done, a few nights in a campsite can help facilitate this.
2. A good internet connection.
It’s almost guaranteed that your digital work will require an internet connection, and probably a strong one. Communication with colleagues and customers is always at the centre of any job, to be effective at your role you will need a good connection so that you can stay connected.
There are a few ways to get WIFI on the road. Probably the easiest and most convenient is to use your phones data to hotspot work devices. You will need an unlimited data plan if this is the option you decide to choose, otherwise you will quickly use up your allocated amount. You can also use a signal booster to help improve your signal in areas where it is weak.
Other alternatives include using public WIFI, WIFI in cafés or going to a library. These all come with limitations, with the principal issue being that you need to be near one of these locations to access WIFI. Because of this it’s not advised to rely too heavily on getting internet this way. If you do need to use a public, or untrusted, internet source it’s a good idea to use a VPN to protect sensitive data that you keep online or on your computer.
3. A comfortable workstation.
Having somewhere comfortable to sit and work is easy to overlook but very important. You need a seat that supports your posture and allows you to work effectively for long periods of time. Some interior van layouts might not have a space that’s conducive to this, as they may not have a central table.
It’s also important to have a plug socket near your table so that you can stay charged up during the day. A swivelling captains chair can be a good option for a workstation, as they are design for extended use and are typically very comfortable. A small table that swivels into position can be installed near the captain’s chair. The advantage of this is that you are minimising the space you are using while working so if you have a partner with you, they still have space to live in.
4. Look for work for stay campsites.
Sometimes campsites offer work for stay, which entails carrying out an hour of two of labour for a free stay. If the campsite has showers and free WIFI then this arrangement can be very beneficial. It will help you minimise costs and give you a convenient way to get work done during the day. This can be a nice way to get to know an area more intimately, as you can work during the week and then go exploring on the weekends.
5. Create a budget and have some savings.
It’s a good idea to create a budget for the start of your adventure. This can help you work out exactly how much you need to be earning. It’s also a good idea to have some savings, especially if you are freelance, as your workflow may be interrupted as you make the transition to a full-time nomadic living.
You may also experience some unpredictable speed bumps, like vehicle breakdowns or mechanical issues. This is when it’s vital to have some savings so that you can get your home on wheels fixed as quickly as possible.
We hope this helps you prepare for your transition to a nomadic working lifestyle. If you have been considering making a change in your life, there is never a better time than now. See you on the road.