Road Warriors



Consider taking a few extra accessories when
working offsite.

Working while on the road, whether at nearby job sites
or when travelling to distant locations, usually means
taking a smartphone, laptop or tablet.

The ability to work almost anywhere in the world is marvellous;
however, when we are working at a hotel, jobsite,
vendor or client location, or even at the cottage, we often
wish we had the same conveniences we have at home.

Before taking your next trip, you may wish to consider
adding a few of these travel essentials to ensure that,
if your makeshift workstation is more like your home
office, you will be less fraught with concern about your
ability to complete the project.


  • For many, typing on the touch screens or keyboards
    provided on smartphones or laptops is inefficient
    and tiresome. Why not invest in a rechargeable
    portable keyboard that can be folded and placed
    into your briefcase? (Cost: approximately $20)
  • If you find your laptop’s built-in touchpad or pointing
    stick frustrating to use, try a miniature (travel-
    sized) wireless or USB mouse to make dragging
    and dropping a lot easier. (Cost: approximately $10)
  • Check your devices and determine what kind of
    battery they use. If any of your devices use separate
    disposable batteries, always ensure you have
    some spare AA or AAA batteries in the event your
    wireless keyboard or mouse dies at an inopportune
    moment. (Cost: approximately $2-5)
  • If you frequently need to enter numbers on the go,
    punching one number at a time into the top row
    on a laptop can be frustrating. An external USB
    numeric keypad will make this task go faster, be
    more efficient and less frustrating than one-finger
    typing. (Cost: approximately $10)

Always carry extra USB sticks
to create backups or share data.

Communication and Storage

  • When you are on the road, Internet connectivity
    may not always be available, and even when it is
    available, there can be restrictions such as speed or
    port limitations. Before heading out on your trip,
    make sure you have copies of all the necessary files
    with you. Do not rely on the Internet to back up to
    the cloud or to transfer data to your office computer.
    Always carry one or two extra USB sticks to create
    backups or share data. Always check the USB stick
    for viruses after it has been plugged into any other
    computer. (Cost: approximately $10)
  • If you are using Skype or another video or audio
    conferencing app, have a high-quality set of headphones
    with a microphone to provide some
    confidentiality when addressing private issues.
    If possible, find a model that is compatible with
    all your devices, including your computer, mobile
    phone and tablet. (Cost: approximately $30)

Ready for Business

  • If you travel out of the office with any frequency,
    keep a dedicated power adaptor in your bag or
    briefcase. Grabbing your briefcase and heading
    out to a job site only to find that your battery is
    low and you have left the power cable at the office
    is not a good way to start a meeting or presentation.
    (Cost: approximately $50-100)
  • Changes in technology have created situations
    where devices are not always compatible with each
    other. It is best to have dongles to make sure you
    are covered for the most common ports that may
    not be built into your computer or device, such as
    VGA, HDMI and Ethernet. (Cost: approximately
  • Older buildings were never designed to accommodate
    the proliferation of modern electronic needs
    and thus may not have electrical outlets close enough
    to be reached by your plug-in adapter. Consider a
    two-metre (six-foot) extension cord as part of your
    emergency kit. (Cost: approximately $5)
  • You would never think of plugging your laptop
    into a wall socket at the office without using a
    surge protector; yet, every time you plug in at
    another location, you are undoubtedly not using
    one. Perhaps it is time to carry a small and affordable
    wall-mount surge protector that will not only
    protect your computer or other device, but can
    also be used as a USB charging station. Quality
    surge protectors have swivel mounts to allow more
    adaptability, LEDs that verify the unit is working
    and provide surge suppression, low clamping
    voltage, shutdown technology, and EMI/RFI noise
    reduction. (Cost: approximately $15)
  • Many new vehicles have built in USB ports that
    allow you to plug in adapters to charge or run your
    devices. For vehicles that do not come with built-in
    USB charging ports, you can still take advantage
    of this “free” power source with a converter that
    steps down the 12 Volt output to the input voltage
    required by your device. Newer adapters will allow
    up to 4 USB plug-ins to allow additional units to be
    used or charged. (Cost: approximately $30)
  • If your vehicle does not already have a power
    outlet, you can plug a power inverter into the cigarette-
    lighter port to convert the 12 volt DC power
    into a 120 watt AC outlet like the standard electrical
    outlets you have at home and at the office. You can
    operate and charge your computer, or any other
    electronics using the standard plug without having
    to buy vehicle adaptors for each device. Read the
    specs or go online to ensure output amperage is
    compatible with the more sensitive devices being
    charged through the USB port. The downside of
    these units is that your vehicle battery will run
    down quickly unless the vehicle is running all the
    time. (Cost: approximately $60)

Start Filling Your Shopping Cart

The list of available technology to make life more
bearable when you are working out of the office is
almost endless. Putting together a travel kit of practical,
inexpensive electronics can turn a potentially non-productive
day filled with frustration and anxiety into a
productive and successful venture — all for the low, low
price of about $420.



The information provided on this page is intended to provide general information. The information does not take into account your personal situation and is not intended to be used without consultation from accounting and financial professionals. Allan Madan and Madan Chartered Accountant will not be held liable for any problems that arise from the usage of the information provided on this page.


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