The following is a guest post from regular contributor, Sharon at Mom of 6.
During the summer months my family and I love to take lots of road trips- venturing off to explore new areas of the country, or heading out to stay with friends and family that we don’t get to see throughout the year. But just because we are taking some time off to travel doesn’t mean that the hubby and I don’t need to get some work done in the car along the way. We often take turns driving so that one of us can work while the other navigates the way. Over the years I’ve assembled a “car productivity tool bag” that allows me to keep up with my workload, stay organized, and most importantly- be able to enjoy this time away with my family because I’ve completed my assignments before our arrival!
Online Connectivity and Apps
One of the most important tools that we use to work while on the road is our wireless hotspot internet connection through our mobile phones. If we know that we are going to be traveling a lot in the summer, we usually increase the size of our family’s data plan so that we are prepared (and AT&T does a great job of letting us know if we are coming close to our limit, so we can always increase it while traveling if needed). Just be sure to check in advance that your carrier’s data plan covers the areas where you will be driving- otherwise you’ll need to plan to be able to work offline while out of your data zone!
My favorite tool for taking notes and creating documents while working without internet connection is Evernote. I can just continue to work on my laptop and then copy and paste from Evernote directly into any other online word processing program once we’re back online. And for times when it’s just the kids and I road tripping and am the full-time driver but still need to get some writing done- I’ll use the Dragon Dictation app to dictate a piece into my phone. This amazing app translates my spoken words into a written document that can be sent to me via email, text, or copied into Evernote.
Before we leave I will gather all of my “tools”- from my laptop to my camera equipment and lay it all out on the dining room table to organize it. Here’s what I take along:
#1- Laptop and Mobile
My laptop and it’s neoprene case (for protection while inside of my bag), regular laptop charger plus a car adapter for my laptop that plugs right into the car outlet. I’ll also pack my phone and charger, tablet and charger, my backup battery for my phone (my old 4S doesn’t hold a full day’s charger any more, so I purchased a PowerGen Mobile Juice Pack a while back that I can plug in while on the go and it recharges my phone. (Note: Amazon affiliate link). I also love to take along a portable speaker (Jawbone Jambox) and its charger. All of the chargers get loaded into one zip-top bag so that I can find them easily when I need to re-charge my devices upon our arrival.
#2- Camera Equipment
While I do use my phone for outdoor pictures while traveling, I am rarely satisfied with the shots I take using indoor lighting- so I always carry my Nikon D5000 with its charger, zoom lens and upload cord, as well as my Canon Vixia video camera with its corresponding charger and upload cord. All camera accessories are loaded into a separate ziptop bag to make them easier to find.
#3- On the Road Desk
I take a sandwich-sized bag and put inside a few mechanical pencils, pens, paperclips, post it notes, a 3-prong to 2-prong power converter (I have actually stayed in hotels that didn’t have 3 prong outlets for my computer!) as well as a few Band-Aids (you know in case I get blisters from the cute new shoes that I bought for the trip!). I’ll also tuck in a full-sized legal pad for note-taking and list making along the way (because a girl can’t function without the ability to make a list now and then!)
#4- Productivity Bag
When my family and I traveled overseas a few years back- I wanted a great bag that could serve as a diaper bag, laptop bag, and even a purse if needed- but instead of buying a diaper bag or a business bag, I chose to buy a Sherpani workout bag because it had a great shoulder strap to provide plenty of support when I over-loaded it, and it had lots of separate pockets that run the full width of the bag- making it easy to fit in my laptop plus so much more! I have used my bag for more than 5 years and I still love it!
What tips for being productive do you have for getting a little work done while on a road trip? I always one to pick up some new ideas- so please share yours!
If you get a chance, I hope you’ll stop by to see me at Momof6 – a place where I write about organizing your home, using a family calendar, creating household routines, hosting at-home birthday parties, and holding a DIY summer camp! You can also find me over on GreatFamilyRoadTrips– where I share ideas and itineraries to inspire you to hit the road!