Staying Connected—Even on Vacation

* This post originally appeard at iPhone Life where Adam is a featured blogger.

You guys know me pretty well by now, so you know that I’m a business owner. With that comes the complete inability to ever take a total vacation from work. So, when I do go on vacation, I have to take my office with me. Today I’m going to share with you a few tips on how to set up your mobile office so you can keep things moving and grooving while you’re catching some rays on vacation.

This is multitasking to the max: working whilst relaxing.

Personally, I cannot live without Dropbox and Skype, but your essentials are going to depend on what you do for work. No matter what, we all have certain needs in common. For most people, the critical question that must be asked is going to revolve around Internet access. If you want to do real time work or communicate with folks at the office, you’re going to need to be connected to a network.

The first thing I think about is of course my cellular data plan for my iPhone and iPad and whether or not my destination has cell coverage. If I’m going on a ski trip, I’m probably going to have a shaky cell connection in the mountains. If I’m hiking in the woods in Nova Scotia, I can pretty much forget it all together!

Obviously reliability and portability are really important to this whole shebang. If you have those things covered, you know that no matter what, you’ll be able to use your iphone/ipad to get some kind of connectivity back home. You’ll be crunching into your total bandwidth quotas, and you may end up paying some overage fees, but you know that it’ll work because all it requires is a cell tower. You can also be sure that if you spend a day down on the beach away from any wifi, you’ll still be online.

I’ve found that a better solution is to use broadband to do my connecting. By leaving the cell service unused I sidestep the transfer caps, roaming and overage fees, etc. Don’t be afraid to call ahead to your destination and find out if there are any points of presence so you can be prepared. And if there are, ask about reliability.

Some destinations may have a single public kiosk computer for people to connect to the web only. In other locations, each room has a copper Ethernet port. Many destinations have wifi as a method of access, but some do not.

This issue doesn’t seem important until you realize that having only copper drops is a serious problem with something like an iPhone or iPad. Neither device has physical Ethernet built in, and no USB Ethernet adapters will work. That means if copper Ethernet drops are all that’s available, you’ll want to bring your own access point to provide wifi. If not, expect to use the cellular data network and avoid broadband entirely. Another option is to just carry a laptop, which provides copper cat5 Ethernet ports.

Once I’ve gotten myself all sorted out in the connectivity department, I can pack all my toys, I mean, Very Important Equipment. Of course I always bring along my iPhone and iPad. But I can’t leave home without my Phonesuit charger case, my Joy Factory ZipMini Charger, my Jawbone Jambox, my Aquabox, and my Zagg Bluetooth keyboard.

By the time I’m done packing all my vacation office essentials, there’s no room for clothes in my suitcase. True. Story.

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