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Top 7 MUST-HAVES for International Remote Work!

Updated: Jul 10, 2023

Ryan and I have been traveling internationally for about 4 months now and we thought it might be helpful to share his favorite tech gear! These items have made it possible for him to work remotely with US-based companies while physically in places like Croatia and Switzerland.

One important thing to note before gearing up for international remote work: Less is more when traveling and setting up/breaking down your workspace often.

1. Laptop/Tablet & Accessories

Laptop Tablet
  • Surface Pro X with LTE. You can get this new, or factory refurbished for a pretty good deal. It's super light, has good computing power, and can act as a tablet or laptop. The LTE SIM card is key and is included for free with the Google Fi unlimited cellular plan. This, combined with Google FI and the free data-only SIM card, you can get online almost anywhere in the world with no roaming charges and no advanced setup required.

    • Google Fi is a great option if you're based in the US but travel frequently. However, if you'll be abroad for over 90 days, then this plan won't work for the long term.

    • The Surface Go 3 also has LTE available and it is less expensive than the X.

  • Ryan often uses the keyboard and pen that go with the Surface Pro X, and both work seamlessly. This screen protector is great as well.

2. Amazon Workspaces

  • Amazon Workspaces - This is a virtual computer provided by Amazon. It's super simple to set up! It work's with a webcam and microphone if you use the WorkSpaces Streaming Protocol (WSP). This works well for projects where the client has compliance requirements or sensitive data they won't want to be accessed outside the US (ex: PHI, PII, etc.) This can also be very helpful if you need a lot of computing power, but don't want to haul around a heavy computer.

    • Workspaces has an iPad app that you can use to access the workspace, but it does NOT work with WSP. Therefore, you cannot use an iPad if you need to do video calls.

3. Portable Monitor

Portable Monitor
  • Portable monitor - This portable monitor doesn't require plugin power. It's powered through the USB connection to the computer. This allows for dual screens and it weighs less than most laptops. It comes with a protective case that also serves as a stand.

4. Wireless Mouse and Keyboard

  • Wireless mouse and keyboard - The keyboard has a full keypad including a number pad. The mouse can be used when you need more precision than the touchpad/screen offers. Both are connected wirelessly and the charge on each lasts for months, even with daily use. The only downside we've noticed is that they get beat up in a laptop bag, so they need to be replaced every 6 months or so. Luckily, they are pretty inexpensive.

    • If you want to pack light, these can be left behind on short trips.

5. Power Bank

Laptop Battery
  • Power Bank - This power bank recharges a laptop without needing an outlet. The charge is enough to double battery life for a total of about 8-10 hours of constant use. This is especially helpful on planes and in the airport! You can even use this in the house when you don't want to move closer to an outlet.

6. Phone Case with Battery

  • Phone Case with battery- This provides about 48 hours of phone use. You can use this instead of carrying a separate battery pack for your phone. The only downside is that it does make your phone a bit heavier than normal.

7. AMEX Platinum Business Card

Credit card
  • AMEX Platinum Business Card: This card offers $200 to the Dell store twice per year. This can be used to pay for some of the items listed above, not to mention the other card benefits. The high yearly fee ($695) may be a deterrent, but the benefits provided each year more than offset this fee.

All 7 of these items fit easily in a small laptop bag with plenty of room for other carry-on items. Thanks to the travel-friendly sizes, you can work a full workday from anywhere in the world (with cell reception) with all the conveniences of a home computer monitor setup, without depending on wifi, power outlets, having to buy a local SIM card, paying roaming fees, etc.

TopTal - One of the best options for freelancers seeking international remote work!


Additionally, none of this would be possible without the flexible work benefits Ryan receives working on TopTal. TopTal is a great resource for freelancers (Think technical program managers, software developers, graphic designers, etc.) You can apply for full-time and part-time projects. It's also for clients (those looking to create a mobile app, website, or another tech idea). We can write another blog post about this company - it's almost too good to be true! But, in the meantime, let us know if you want any more information about it, and here is Ryan's referral link: Click here

  • If you apply with this link, after your first engagement (project) starts, both you and Ryan will get a $500 bonus. That number increases if you have a handful of high-demand skills. Also, please use this link if you are a potential client looking to hire a team of TopTal freelancers.


PS - we don't get any monetary kickback from the amazon links provided in this post. We listed these simply to help anyone looking for remote-friendly workspaces!


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