How to Find Quiet Spaces to Work Remotely [2022]

Woman sitting in a quiet place to work on a laptop

When you can work anywhere and know where to find the best places to work remotely, you can have almost anything at your fingertips–sun and surf, inspirational views, a mid-afternoon glass of wine or beer (I’m not here to judge).

But when you don’t have a dedicated office—or when you’re traveling away from your home office—there’s one thing you can’t count on “anywhere” to provide: a quiet space with wifi to get some real work done.

The term “quiet” is relative. You may need absolute silence, a bit of open space, or some white noise. Everyone is different, and you’ll determine what’s best and the types of quiet spaces for you based on your own remote working style.

Free Kids making noise and disturbing mom working at home Stock Photo

You’re less productive in your remote work when you’re stuck in a cubicle working for a boss and chatting with most people passing by and co-workers. As digital nomads and remote workers, you need to figure out how to be productive when working for yourselves. You need to find the best places to work remotely and focus – no matter where you are in the world. A daunting yet doable task.

How to Set Up a Quiet Space for Remote Work 

Before we get down to the good stuff on the quiet spaces to work with reliable wi-fi, let’s talk first about getting set up when working remotely. Let’s face it – finding quiet spaces to work in any location (particularly with good wi-fi) is not an easy task in general (which is the reason you’re reading this article).

So, let’s get set up:

1. Use Noise Cancelling HeadphonesBest places to work remotely

Imagine sitting in an airport (I bet you can) and there are people constantly walking by you. Or you’re in coworking spaces and everyone wants to come up and chat with you.

The only time that noise-canceling headphones didn’t work for me was when I was working in Buenos Aires. I was in my own apartment, on a conference call, when suddenly, the power company started to jackhammer into the side of the building, unannounced. The video calls were dropped when the power cut out… but that’s another issue and a story for another time.

Noise-canceling headphones won’t block out a jackhammer below you, but they will allow you to block out most background noise. An added bonus is that these will allow you to focus intently on your remote work.

Best places to work remotely

Pro tip: When people, especially fellow digital nomads and remote workers, see you with those giant earmuffs hugging your ears and your laser-like focus, they tend to give you space and leave you alone.

I’ve tested dozens of in-ear headphones and regular headsets and my favorite – based on feedback from people I talk to that can actually hear me and based on the amount of background noise that’s reduced, are the Logitech USB headset.

Another pro tip: The $30 USB headphones are actually better for noise reduction to keep you on track in your remote work than the more expensive wireless version.

2. Set Up a Mobile Hotspot

Best places to work remotely

Don’t you love sitting down to work in your favorite coffee shop in New York, San Diego, or San Francisco, ordering your latte and biscotti? Imagine what a long day it would seem if find out that you can’t get online to work remotely after making all these plans to sit and work in a great place. Try to picture your disappointment when you approach the barista, who would then inform you that the wi-fi is down and the technician won’t be in until the following day. Bad luck for you.

As a backup for digital nomads and remote workers, a mobile wi-fi hotspot, also called mi-fi, needs to be top of your packing list. When you don’t want to spend your entire day or weekend trip remote working in a coffee shop, coworking space, or any space with wi-fi access, as we’re about to get to below, you’ll need backup.

I use a T-Mobile hotspot that’s pre-paid monthly and I also have a T-Mobile iPhone in which I can very quickly upgrade my plan for extra gigabytes and downgrade when I no longer need the wi-fi boost.

Best places to work remotely

Whether you’ll only use them on weekend trips when doing some outdoor activities like exploring a national park, watching sporting events, or staying and living for one month or more in a different city or country with warm weather to avoid the harsh winter months, having mobile wifi access means you can easily spend time in the best places to work remotely.

Phones as hotspots are nearly catching up to the power of the non-phone hotspot. However, it makes more sense for digital nomads working remotely to have both. The phone as a hotspot is a great backup but also uses more battery power. You never want to be without wi-fi, so I recommend both.

3. Get Comfortable, Get Power, Block Time

Best places to work remotely

Quiet usually means you’ll be sitting and working remotely for a little while. So plan things like:

  • comfortable seating with back support
  • close proximity to power outlets or power supply
  • check the hours for closing times

4. Consider Using White Noise

Best places to work remotely

Get your playlist for your favorite time-to-focus music ready to go if background noise and headphones aren’t enough to keep your attention on your remote work tasks.

5. Plan for Interruptions 

Best places to work remotely

Some people love to talk – no matter where you are or what you’re doing. Headphones and that laser-like focus staring at your screen while you worked remotely will detract a lot of the would-be interrupters. But, it’s sometimes unavoidable even when you’re in quiet spaces like an office or coworking space.

One of the best lines I’ve found in recent years when someone interrupts your quality quiet time for remote work time is to simply say you’re preparing for a meeting or that you have too many things to do and a deadline due. Politely setting boundaries is great when you’re interrupted unwillingly, especially in quiet spaces dedicated to digital nomads to work remotely.

Best places to work remotely

Most importantly, get back to work immediately. Don’t allow an interruption to the flow of your ideas and turn it into a break to check out more “fun” activities like the best places to visit on the East Coast, Fort Lauderdale, Grand Canyon, Pacific Coast, San Francisco, New York, or San Diego.

Okay… Now that you’re comfy, have your wi-fi hotspot or any other internet access, and noise-canceling headphones, you are prepared for anti-breaking concentration, and you have a dedicated time and space where your power won’t go out or the shop won’t close – you’re ready to get into the zone.

Where Are the Best Quiet Spaces to Work with Wi-fi?

If you’re a working traveler (or a traveling worker), here are a few of the best places to work remotely when you really need to buckle down to come up with great ideas and deliver quality work.

Best places to work remotely

Airports 

I love airports. Really. They have everything you need: wi-fi (if not free, then through partners like Boingo), coffee, food, restrooms, seating, power outlets.

I don’t mind getting stuck on a long layover or even spending the night (as long as I’m prepared) because airports offer great places to work and rest.

Need quiet spaces

With a little preparation, like the noise canceling headphones and a wi-fi hotspot, you can create quiet spaces for yourself to work remotely and brainstorm your next batch of big ideas. There are all strangers around you so it’s easy to be ignored. Find a great place near a plug and get to work!

Co-Working Spaces

There are probably no better places to work than the blend of traditional office setup and the new world of flexible entrepreneurship than the concept of coworking spaces. Virtually every major city—and many smaller ones—has coworking spaces available, and they can give you the best places to work remotely when you’re out seeing the world.

Need quiet spaces

Just in case you aren’t aware, coworking spaces are shared office spaces where you can basically rent a desk alongside other startups, entrepreneurs, and small companies.

They tend to be open-plan, modern-style offices, and let solopreneurs, as well as bootstrapped startups and growing companies, find affordable, dedicated spaces where they can work remotely on their budget.

Much of the coworking space industry is geared towards companies that don’t need much dedicated spaces and want to spend less and split other office expenses. They also cater to local solopreneurs who don’t like working out of a home office.

Need quiet spaces

And most of them, often in big cities, have the odd desk available for short-term rentals…like if you happen to be passing through or visiting for a few days and just need a quiet, professional office place to set up shop.

There’s obviously a cost component to consider when it comes to co-working, but you’re virtually guaranteed a place where you can focus on work without being completely isolated.

Plus you’ll have a solid WiFi connection (I can’t imagine a co-working space that doesn’t provide one), which you know is a must when you’re working on the go.

Many co-working spaces are divided into separate levels. Traditional co-working space may also be called “hot desk” – an open floor plan surrounded by several other busy bees like yourself.

Need quiet spaces

The only potential downside to this type of setup, of course, is a distraction. Community sharing is great, and valuable, but not conducive to getting real work done without interruption. Coworking spaces will often also have the option of a private office or the ability to rent a conference room.

If you need a quiet space to work, without distraction, then opt for the private space or the conference room.

Pro tip: If the conference room or office has windows, shut the door and face your back to the windows for the least amount of visibility (disallowing interruptions). If all sides are windows, make sure to wear those headphones and make little eye contact.

Coffee Shops

Wi-fi is all but ubiquitous in coffee shops these days, too. Most of them are fine with you camping out by a power outlet for hours at a time, but only if you order every couple of hours and leave a nice tip!

Need quiet spaces

This might not be the best solution if you need absolute peace and quiet to get work done, but many people find the background buzz aka white noise, and people-watching opportunities provide just enough distraction to keep their minds from totally wandering.

Some coffee shops have conference rooms or private rooms that you can rent or arrive early to get a good seat.

Need quiet spaces

Switch it up and find a quiet coffee shop on the outskirts of town or in a new neighborhood – this is a great way to find a seat or a table, unfamiliar faces for less chitchat, and some on-hand caffeine to fool those productive hours.

Find some great crowdsourced coffee shops here.

Rent an AirBnB Studio

Renting a private room, or better yet, a studio, on AirBnb can really help you get some quiet time to yourself. A studio allows for no roommates or distractions.

Need quiet spaces

Tip: Before you book you’ll want to make sure that this is one of the best places to work remotely. That means they should have good wi-fi. To test wi-fi, you can ask your potential host to go to speedtest.net.

The minimum connection I recommend is 8 gb down, but that depends on what you’re doing.

If you’re just checking emails or a simple Skype call, 4 mb is fine.

If you’re having video conferencing calls and sending files, then I recommend 20 mb. Learn more about wi-fi speeds needed for remote work here.

The right accommodations can mean the difference between productivity and lack thereof.

The difference in cost for private versus shared will likely be the difference between less stress and business progression versus delays and less productivity.

Your Car / Boat / Van / RV 

Dead serious. This is one of the best places to work remotely. However, it only works, obviously, if your travels include a personal vehicle, whether it’s your own car, a rental, or borrowed from a friend—it’s probably not worth the Uber rates 🙂

Need quiet spaces

Some may object to the cramped quarters and lack of amenities provided by the typical automobile or boat, but there are actually a lot of advantages to using a four-wheeled or floating office.

First, you have total privacy. You don’t have to worry about anyone else setting up rules or causing a distraction. Your space is entirely your own, just like you had your own (small, bathroom-less) office.

Second, you can get a corner office view if you want one. A scenic overlook, the top of a midtown parking garage, on a cliff overlooking the ocean—whatever vista you want to visit, your car can get you there and give you a quiet workspace when you arrive.

Need quiet spaces

Last but not least, your car (or boat, or van / RV) gives you an easy way to get connected almost anywhere. Plenty of businesses, including many big box stores, food chains, and of course coffee shops, now offer free wi-fi to anyone in range. Find a parking spot in close range and you’re good to go.

I’ve spent months working from my houseboat in Seattle, and this morning I was working from my Mitsubishi Delica overlooking the Pacific Ocean.. until the beautiful sunset. A T-Mobile hotspot and a 12-hour (okay…8-hour) battery on my Macbook Air, with a laptop table, a good 4G signal, and a latte and it’s the ultimate quiet spot – with the ultimate view.

Libraries

Once upon a time, libraries were the ultimate place to get work done. Quiet, technologically connected at a time when many businesses weren’t (albeit dialup!), and the best repositories of research material you were likely to find in any given locale.

Need quiet spaces

Things have changed a bit—OK, a lot—for libraries in the Internet Age, with virtually all the world’s information now at your fingertips and digital communication with all points on the globe available in your pocket.

But…

Libraries are still great places to get some work done when you need some peace and quiet in and don’t have an office to head to. Librarians are great at enforcing the “quiet” rule, and most offer free wi-fi.

Some even offer private or even soundproof study rooms to really shut out the distractions, and if you happen to want or need a book for some reason – in the age of Google, there are plenty on hand.

Public Parks and Campgrounds 

Though not always reliable wi-fi (hence the mobile hotspot backup), you can still find free networks in many city centers and even parks. Several campgrounds have wi-fi and once again you can work from your moving vehicle or your picnic table!

Free Student doing home assignments on laptop while sitting in park Stock Photo

If you don’t have a hotspot or your phone doesn’t have hotspot capabilities that would allow you to find the best places to work remotely….change that. For the traveling entrepreneur/freelancer it’ll pay for itself many times over!

Get Down to Business Without Being Tied Down to an Office

Freedom. It’s what our lifestyle is all about, and it’s what we build our working life around. It doesn’t mean we work less hard or are less productive, it just means we get more creative in the way we do things.

Free Full body of African American female owner having conversation on mobile phone while resting on couch with Labrador Retriever Stock Photo

Finding best places to work remotely in every city on earth—and all the non-cities in between—is just one of the perks of the job.

These are a few solutions to the workplace solitude situation. Is your favorite on the list? Have any other tips to share? Let me know in the comments, and tell everyone in the world where you’re posting from!

Best Mobile Hotspot Devices [2022]

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WiFi is the lifeblood of any digital nomad, but it’s often the most challenging to access. After all, how will you stay connected with your clients and deadlines if you don’t have a reliable internet connection? That said, though, finding good signal can be challenging even in more developed areas like cafes or hotels. Meanwhile, that becomes downright virtually impossible when you travel to remote villages. This is where mobile hotspot devices come in.

Best Portable Wifi Hotspot Devices for Traveling and Working Remote [2022]

For digital nomads and remote workers, stable internet access is a must. Whether you’re working on a laptop at a cozy coffee shop or trying to get some tasks done on your mobile phone during your commute, being able to connect to the world wide web is a gamechanger when it comes to productivity.

Mobile hotspot devices provide a great option to ensure a reliable internet connection. These devices create a small wireless network that you can connect to with your devices.

As a digital nomad, you may benefit from mifi device features such as a battery-saving mode and the ability to connect to multiple devices simultaneously. You can gain a more in-depth understanding of global wifi and mobile hotspots in our Ultimate Internet Guide for Digital Nomads.

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Mobile hotspot devices can connect more than your laptops to the internet. These can also work just fine with your tablet, camera, and pretty much any gadget that’s wi-fi enabled. These can support multiple connections better compared to your phone’s mobile wifi hotspot mode as well as ensure that you don’t drain your phone battery.

In certain countries where cellular coverage might pose a problem and you might be worried about getting a secure connection, you can hook up these portable wifi hotspot devices to antennas to achieve better internet connection.

When looking for a mobile hotspot for digital nomads, keep the following factors in mind:

Battery life

A vital consideration when it comes to choosing a mobile hotspot device for international travel is battery life, which can range from lasting a full day on a single charge to a measly few hours. Some devices provide extra portable batteries, while others allow you to even use the mobile hotspot as a powerbank.

Determine your expectations about your wifi connection. If you plan to use the internet all day long and need to be constantly connected to search for restaurants or museums, you might need a mobile hotspot device with a longer battery life. Meanwhile, if you don’t really need wifi connection for the entire day or only need WiFi for a handful of hours, then splurging for an extra battery might not be worth it.

Budget and data allowance

The price of the device isn’t the only consideration when it comes to portable WiFi for travel. Depending on your provider and chosen mobile hotspot plan — whether you’re opting for international roaming plans or buying a local sim card when you visit other countries — you will probably have a limited use rate monthly or even daily. On top of your general mobile plan, this will also determine how much data you can use. This would also most likely affect your data speed.

If you’re under a tight budget, you should figure out how to compromise with regard your plan’s speed or data cap. Generally, though, the longer you avail of the hotspot plan, the lower the costs.

Size and weight

Mobile hotspot devices need to be exactly that: mobile. Your device needs to be portable and easy to pack. While opting for the more compact devices is the norm these days, the decision is dependent on your needs and how you envision your days.

If you’re mostly on the move, particularly on foot or use public transport, then choosing a smaller mobile hotspot device for international travel would be better for your needs. On the other hand, if you’re one of the remote professionals who plan to use the wifi device for business or corporate trips and have remote jobs requiring you to spend most hours in a single location, then a bigger hotspot device that offers longer battery life or a portable battery would benefit you more.

Check out our list and find the best mobile hotspot that suits your needs.

Best overall mobile hotspot: Skyroam Solis X

Skyroam Solis X is a new addition to the Skyroam family of mobile hotspot devices. This Skyroam device is different from its predecessors. This sleek little gadget, which basically looks like an orange puck, offers lightning-fast wifi speeds, allowing you to stay connected anytime, anywhere. Plus, the Skyroam Solis X comes equipped with a built-in power bank to keep your devices charged while you’re on the go. Simply plug your gadget in the allotted USB port, and you’re good to go.

The Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot sold out within the first day of its release. In fact, there were overwhelming positive Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot reviews from those who were able to get their hands on one. Now that the Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot is back in stock, I decided to take a closer look at this Skyroam device and see if it lives up to the hype.

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The power button can be found at the top part of the device. A white stripe serves as the indicator for your remaining battery life, while three blinking indicator lights will tell you whether you have a good data connection.

One side of the Solis X is equipped with an 8MP camera, while the other side holds the USB-C port that you use to charge the mobile hotspot and connect your gadgets when you need a powerbank. While this is a great feature, one concern is that the powerbank can be very slow in charging your gadgets.

At the bottom, you can find a QR code. Scanning this will lead you to the Solis app, which you can connect to your smartphone. If that’s not enough, the Skyroam Solis X’s LED display can also be used as a flashlight or an emergency beacon.

Skyroam offers multiple plans depending on your needs, ranging from a single day pass to month-long contracts with unlimited data. Check out the pricing plans here.

The expected battery life for the Skyroam Solis X is 18 hours, but it only lasted roughly 10 hours when I used it. Considering that I tested it by connecting my two smartphones and laptop while also using it as a powerbank, this is pretty impressive.

With that in mind, one thing I found challenging with the Skyroam Solis X is the design of its charging port. The USB-C charging port for this device has a tiny ridge that makes it incompatible with many types of USB-C cables. Skyroam solves this issue, though, by including a USB-A adapter in the package.

After testing the Skyroam Solis X wifi Smartspot, I can say that it is an impressive device that offers excellent value for its price. Although it doesn’t come with a rental option, this device works in more than 130 countries covered. So, the Skyroam Solis X can be considered a worthy investment for digital nomads.

Best no-frills mobile hotspot: Skyroam Solis Lite

For those who don’t need the bells and whistles offered by Skyroam Solis X, there’s Solis Lite. Like the Solis X, this portable wifi device can also support up to 10 devices. It’s also small enough to easily fit in your pocket and weighs roughly the same as a regular smartphone. Considering that this gadget offers a rental option starting at $9 per day, this is a great alternative for those who want a no-frills Skyroam device.

It has the same look as the Skyroam Solis X, including the convenient QR code at the bottom for the mobile app and the problematic USB-C charging port that makes it challenging to use third-party cables. It also works as a powerbank, but likes the Solis X, it charges devices quite slowly at 5V/1A.

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What differentiates the Solis X from the Solis Lite is the absence of the remote-enabled camera, speaker, and microphone, which are used for the built-in smart assistant. That means the Solis Lite is simply your basic international hotspot device with no special features and focuses solely on providing internet access. Truth be told, I didn’t really miss the smart features of the Solis X and actually prefer this option for my digital nomad needs.

Best 5G mobile hotspot: NETGEAR Nighthawk M5

NETGEAR’s Nighthawk M5 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro is one of the latest mobile hotspot devices to hit the market. NETGEAR is known for its high-quality router products, so I was curious to see how its portable wifi device would perform. The Nighthawk M5 5G Mobile Hotspot Pro did not disappoint. The device is easy to set up and use, and it offers fast reliable connectivity. I was also impressed by the Nighthawk’s battery life; I was able to use it for several hours before needing to recharge.

Theoretically, 5G can go as fast as 10 to 50 Gbps, but that’s a long way off. 5G mobile broadband should be 11 times faster than 4G if the signal is strong enough. However, there’s a catch: the Nighthawk M5 will only run at 5G speeds if you have a strong 5G signal. If you are in an outlying area, you may only get 3G or 4G speeds.

In real-world testing, I was able to consistently get speeds in excess of 100Mbps on both bands. The Nighthawk M5 also supports up to 32 concurrent connections, so you shouldn’t have any trouble connecting all your devices. It’s ideal for teams or small groups.

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Source: Netgear

One of the best features of the Nighthawk M5 is its battery life. NETGEAR claims that the Nighthawk M5 can last up to 13 hours on a single charge. In practice, I discovered that this varies greatly; Wifi-6 and 5G / LTE are simply power hogs. Nonetheless, a realistic time frame of 6 to 9 hours is still good value.

However, what makes the Nighthawk M5 stand out is the fact that it’s the first C-Band hotspot in the US. Let me offer a bit of context to explain why this is a great feature. While the services of the 5G networks aren’t exactly noticeably faster than 4G networks these days, this situation will change in the coming years. When this happens, you will need a C-Band gadget to be able to take advantage of the additional capacity.

Actually, the iPhone 12 and up phones, the Samsung Galaxy series starting from the S21, and Google Pixel 5 and above are already using C-Band. Before the Nighthawk M5, no mobile hotspot has ever supported this technology.

All these features come at a steep price of $699.99. This is generally more expensive than most mobile hotspot devices and plans.

Before you get one, make sure to check the model you’re buying. The US version doesn’t seem to support 5G outside North America, which means it’ll only work as a 4G hotspot abroad. According to Netgear, this hotspot device is most compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile. If you get the international version, you’ll be able to take advantage of a different group of 5G bands in most countries.

Best plug-and-play mobile hotspot: GlocalMe Mini Turbo Wi-Fi Hotspot

You can say goodbye to expensive international roaming charges and spotty public Wi-Fi with the GlocalMe Mini Turbo Wi-Fi Hotspot. This handy little device offers fast connection and dependable LTE coverage in over 140 countries, making it an indispensable travel companion for the modern digital nomad.

I had never used a touchscreen portable wifi before the GlocalMe G4 Pro Smart 4G Mobile Global Wi-Fi Hotspot. The previous mobile hotspots I used made the apps linked to the devices indispensable, which means I needed them whenever I had to check my remaining data or battery life. This made this particular mobile hotspot different. All those information are readily displayed on the 5-inch touchscreen of the GlocalMe G4 PRO as well as in its user friendly app.

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Source: GlocalMe

The touchscreen makes it easy and convenient to add data. Plus, it already has Google Maps, voice recognition translator, and TripAdvisor installed. Its straightforward interface and limited but essential options almost feel like a user-friendly apps on my smartphone, so there is an innate comfort in using it to set things up.

The GlocalMe Mini Turbo is also extremely simple to use; just insert a SIM card and connect up to 10 devices to the hotspot. With a battery life of up to 10 hours, you can be confident that you’ll always have a reliable connection, even on long trips.

Best unlocked mobile hotspot: Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G

The Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is one of the low-cost options for mobile hotspot devices on the market. I was curious to see how this device would perform and how it would compare to the more expensive options, so I decided to put it to the test. I have to say, I was impressed with the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G.

With 150Mbps download speeds and 50Mbps uploads, this is a great mobile hotspot option that’s tiny, lightweight, and easy to transport. You can also connect up to 10 devices to this 4G mobile router, which has a standby time of 350 hours and a working time of 6 hours, thanks to its 1500mAh battery.

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The Huawei E5576 was easy to set up and use, and it provided a reliable connection even in areas with poor cell coverage. Unfortunately, this device only works in Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. For countries outside this list like the US, Canada, and Mexico, you’ll need to get a separate Huawei hotspot device.

Overall, the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is relatively affordable, making it a great option for budget-conscious digital nomads. Like the Skyroam Solis Lite, the Huawei E5576-320 Portable 4G is simply a no-frills low-cost mobile router. Basically, this mobile hotspot device focuses solely on connecting your gadgets to the internet, no matter where you are.

Best mobile hotspot for remote areas: Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L Wi-Fi Hotspot

Verizon’s Jetpack MiFi 8800L is one of the best mobile hotspot devices on the market. Like the previous models, this one also comes in matte black and gray and is a plastic oval that’s about the size of a deck of cards with a touchscreen front. It has two external antenna ports plus a USB-C port.

It can connect up to 15 devices at once and has a built-in battery that lasts up to 15 hours. On top of these, the Jetpack MiFi 8800L also works great for digital nomads who want to explore extremely rural areas. This is because unlike other units that can only see 3G in these remote places, Verizon’s wifi hotspot can actually still offer 4G LTE.

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Source: Verizon

If you’re worried about data overage charges, don’t be – Verizon offers unlimited data plans for Jetpack MiFi 8800L devices. So whether you’re working on the go or just want to stay connected while traveling, Verizon Jetpack MiFi 8800L is the perfect solution.

Best low-cost prepaid mobile hotspot: ZTE ZMax Connect MF928

As long as you have a compatible AT&T or T-Mobile prepaid service plan, you can use the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 hotspot. Like most low-cost mobile hotspots, this device also comes in the form of a tiny black box that’s roughly the size of a playing card. Unlike the more expensive options like the Skyroam Solis X, it has no dedicated indicator for battery life or signal strength.

However, the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 offers a special feature. It has a pair of TS9 antenna ports, which could be used to attach an external antenna to boost the signal. Its LTE covers AT&T and T-Mobile but doesn’t include Verizon and other foreign providers. Moreover, the hotspot’s internet speed tends to flounder when it reaches LTE performance. It becomes more problematic when additional you try to add more than two devices at a time, with the issue being more obvious when you’re having Zoom calls.

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I appreciate the wifi management options, though. I like the accompanying mobile app, which sends me updates on data usage and allows me to tweak the hotspot’s settings.

The ZMax Connect MF928 supports up to 10 devices at a time and can last up to 10 hours, making it ideal for international travelers and digital nomads who need to work remotely while on the road. Overall, the ZTE ZMax Connect MF928 is a great option for those who need a reliable and affordable mobile hotspot device.

How to maximize your mobile hotspot plan

Mobile hotspot plans evolve all the time. If you add a hotspot data plan to an existing “unlimited” phone plan, Verizon gives you up to 50GB of high-speed data, 40GB from AT&T, and 40GB from T-Mobile. Once you consume that, the carriers tend to “deprioritize” your data or start to throttle it randomly.

So if you’re an AT&T or Verizon subscriber, the best way to make the most of your mobile hotspot data plan is to add your hotspot line as a separate line to your pre-existing phone plan. That offers you the most data for your budget.

Reality check

Admittedly, some of the devices listed here are pretty old. That’s because mobile hotspots have not exactly progressed as quickly as other technologies. While I’m not thrilled over this lack of innovation, I’m still grateful that these mobile internet devices are available to make our lives easier. However, I’m hoping to see more wifi hotspots with the most advanced 5G technologies out in the market soon and making our digital nomad life easier and more convenient!

Conclusion

Talking about portable hotspot devices brings back memories, particularly one that started out cold and daunting. I was driving around the Ring Road in Iceland when the roads got narrower and icier. Everything was foggy, and I had no idea where I was since I couldn’t see anything. I couldn’t tell where I was going. Eventually, I realized that I had been driving in circles for hours on end, and it felt like there was no way out.

Thank goodness I had my mobile hotspot device with me, which turned out to be a lifesaver. I used it to help me navigate the Ring Road. The fact that I had something with me that allowed me to still be able to communicate with my family and friends as well as help me navigate the unknown place offered me an invaluable sense of comfort and relief.

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Truth be told, I would have felt a lot less safe traversing that road in Iceland without my mobile hotspot device. It just felt better because I knew I could rely on something in case of emergencies–or in this case, led me to a spectacular town with hot springs that soothe my frayed nerves and sore muscles.

These days, it’s hard to imagine life without the internet. Whether I’m working from a cafe in Barcelona or a hotel in Bali, I need to be able to stay connected. Plus, mobile hotspot devices have been a lifesaver. On more than one occasion, I’ve been out and about without any wifi, only to find that my mobile hotspot device has come to the rescue.

I’ve also used mobile hotspot devices to stay connected when travelling through remote areas where there is no cell service. So if you’re looking for a way to stay connected while on the go–whether you’re trying to check directions, find a nearby restaurant, or just stay connected with friends and family–I highly recommend investing in a mobile hotspot device. You’ll never know when you’ll need it!

Location: Anywhere

Location Anywhere Liveworkanywhere.com

Location Anywhere  Liveworkanywhere.com

I have always wanted to go to Chile.

Location independence and seamless entrepreneurship were calling. I needed to be out of the country again to feed my soul. Sure, I’d been traveling, but primarily in the US. I’ve always wanted to go to Chile.

Years ago I looked on a map, I wondered: “Hmmm, what city has weather like San Francisco but is outside of the US?” That’s when I first came across Santiago. A map also took me to Seattle, also. But that’s another journey.

The flight to get there was expensive. So I saved up my miles for years with Chile in mind. I’d researched Patagonia and penguins and fantasized about the time when I’d be able to actually make the trek.

As the miles sat, the value in them was starting to go down. I was getting nervous, but I tried to keep the faith.

As my new contract with Elance went into negotiation, I decided to take the leap. But then my uncle died on Christmas Eve. Fortunately, I was with family and was able to attend his funeral.

It make me think: What if something else tragic happened soon? My miles would still be sitting there, decreasing in value. My time to visit Chile was running out.

So I finally did it. I arrived in Santiago. Days after I landed, the contract was negotiated and finalized. My dreams were coming true and I was feeling whole again. I’m so glad I took the leap. As I am every time I do!

Guts Not Grades

Guts Not Grades | Live Work Anywhere

Having a startup is about conviction. The most appropriate synonym that comes to mind when I think of entrepreneurs and startups is resilience. I compete with Ivy League grads for business who, disturbingly, many people look at in awe. Book knowledge and street knowledge are very different things. But, beyond knowledge are instincts and guts. Two things that can’t be taught.

I believe there is such a thing as “Startup DNA.” A startup is like a newborn baby. It needs nurturing.

People tend to get hung up on titles and labels. They mean very little, especially in the beginning when building a product. The product matters, your early customers matter. Not quitting matters.

It’s difficult to see the view from the top of the mountain when you’re climbing uphill and the top is hidden in the clouds. But, entrepreneurs know deep down inside that if they keep at it, keep climbing, eventually they’ll see the clouds clear (and return, and clear, and return, etc etc until they reach the top).

People have said entrepreneurs are special in the sense that they are illogical, unreasonable, or downright insane! It’s true that an entrepreneur is unique. Most people aren’t interested in extreme sacrifice. They would prefer to be comfortably led like sheep. The job of the entrepreneur is to convince the sheep that he/she isn’t crazy for thinking differently. There’s a process that takes place to get to that point that involves many sacrifices, overcoming doubts and challenges, and infinite bouts of courage.

As with dealing with a sick baby or trudging uphill when you’re exhausted, it’s not about running when things get tough.

Some people are cut out for startups; many are not. There is an excitement, even a cool factor, that people get caught up in. But when the hard work kicks in, 50% drop out. When there are tough days or funding is running low, the strong are separated from the weak, and the last one standing are the ones with conviction.

The true test comes when things are difficult.

Giving yourself a pseudo0title to get attention or to get into certain events or companies doesn’t actually change your DNA into that of a startup person. Skipping a night out with friends or a family function, even with all the pressure and guilt, to hit a deadline, is true dedication.

This is what I mean by necessary sacrifice:

“The workload of a start-up is ridiculous. It’s really not healthy. For eight years of my life, there were very few waking moments that Tripod did not completely consume. I rarely returned the phone calls of good friends. I routinely missed important family gatherings. I couldn’t keep a steady girlfriend. To put it plainly, I didn’t have enough time to maintain the sort of normal relationships typically associated with the human race.”

Bo Peabody, Greycroft Partners, in his book Lucky or Smart

I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you ever wonder if the daily grueling grind, the ups and downs, the mental anguish, the ramen noodles, the amazing days followed by crushing defeats, if all of it is worth it… take a look at Bo’s story. Are most people willing to stick around for EIGHT years, with few friend or family interactions? It’s up to you. I won’t lie, it wears on you. You question things—a lot. Sounds borderline insane, but it takes guts.

There has to be a balance, don’t get me wrong. I’m a huge believer in “sharpening your saw” as Stephen Covey says. Too much for too long causes productivity to diminish relative to time output. But what I am saying is that you have to have the chops to handle it.

A final great quote from Chris Dixon, CEO of Hunch, and active angel investor:

“It’s a cliche, but early-stage startups are really all about the people. Had you taken any company I’ve been involved with and drawn a straight line extrapolating forward, I don’t think you would’ve seen why it was an interesting company… what ends up happening is that the environment changes, you discover flaws in your original concept, and good entrepreneurs adapt and change. The only way you would’ve seen it is if you’d understood the passion and the guts of the people involved”.

– Chris Dixon, quoted on Founder Collective

Passion and guts.

I’ve had business partners, developers, salespeople, interns, clients, deals, and so on, come and go. Recognizing that this ebbs and flows, that startups are in a constant state of flux, is the key to overcoming the bad days and learning resiliency. Behind every cloud is a silver lining, after every crushing defeat is a rewarding accomplishment. You have to have the guts to keep going.

What do you think it takes to run a successful startup?

Everyone Has A Story

Everyone Has A Story Live Work Anywhere

Everyone Has a Story … It’s your story, you write it. These words echo often in my thoughts.

Similar words were once said by internet entrepreneur Chris Michel when talking to a Harvard Business School class about entrepreneurship. It’s a story that continues to inspire me.

As it was told to me, there was a student, from Brazil who said he planned to copy a business idea from the US and bring it to Brazil. Chris’s response was this: “Well, you can make a lot of money doing that, but at the end of the day when it’s no longer about money. And you have enough, you will have to have a story to tell. Everyone has a story”. This is paraphrased but the lesson was strong.

There are three famous brothers, Germans who created Rocket Internet, an incubator company built to clone popular startup ideas. These included Groupon, EBay, Facebook, VeriSign.

The Samwer brothers weren’t embraced for their strategy. They have been called unethical parasites. A startup exists to make money, yes. Bbut that’s not the basis upon which it was created.

Startups are temporary companies that solve a larger problem.” -Steven Blank

Startups are created by innovative problem solvers who see something they don’t like, something they wish to change, or something they could improve. They then come up with a solution. Entrepreneurs work nearly 24/7 (even in their sleep!) and take great risks and sacrifices to solve these problems effectively. They are artists, scientists, creators, persistent optimists, and childishly naive. They are dreamers and world changers.

Copying someone’s idea has nothing to do with innovation. It’s just a cheap way to get rich.

Look at your life from the end to present. What do you want people to say about you, alive or dead? Is your life filled with happiness or emptiness? Write a book about your life that you would want to read. About YOUR life, not someone else’s life. It’s not that hard to think about it, because you really do know what you can live with. I would think it’d be hard to live with yourself for blatantly stealing from someone else and calling it your very own. Harder than it would be to try something and fail.

Giving credit where credit is due and true innovation is what inspires more innovation, more entrepreneurship, and progression. Better to write a book that ends in originality. Even if it doesn’t get you rich per se, it will be a much better story to tell.

What chapter are you on in your book and how does it end?

Scrubbing Toilets in Malaga

Scrubbing Toilets in Malaga Live Work Anywhere

I once said I would do whatever it took to go overseas and earn income, even if I had to scrub toilets with a toothbrush in Malaga, Spain.

Thankfully for the Internet, I can go to Malaga to brush my teeth and not the toilet. It’s not that easy to uproot, to find a job, to pay for travel expenses, home expenses and loans, to learn a new language, adjust to cultural differences, or to scrub toilets. But it is doable.

I used to spend hours (at work, sorry Inger Reilly! And it was “hours” because the Internet was dial-up!) researching ways to live and work abroad. I read about getting visas, personal stories, and dozens of tips and how-to’s.  Not much existed when the Internet first started. Today, so much has changed and transformed. The Internet and technology evolve rapidly but humans are much slower to make shifts.

After getting a first taste of life in Spain, I was hooked and needed to find a way to get back to exploring new cultures, languages, and places. But after finding a serious boyfriend, moving to Seattle, and getting a job at Adobe, “Life” eventually hit me. I got caught in the rat race and started caring about what was around me, not within me.

There are a few ways to travel as a professional, and by that I don’t mean busking on the street and eating out of trash cans (though I’ve seen former corporate slaves do this).  You can be a writer or journalist, or even a photographer. You can become a roadie with a band, be sent overseas by your job, or work for a while as acontractor.  For me, I tried many of these things (except for the roadie bit).  My options now are contract work, self employment, and earning revenues either residually from business or from the sales of my company.

I’ve tried, or am trying, everything I’ve heard abour.  I have taught English in Spain, sold artisan crafts with gypsies on dirt streets, built websites in Hungary and Nicaragua, helped translate and sell tours in Oaxaca, sold tickets for a disco in Costa Rica, helped a musician friend panhandle in Argentina, and even once sold an octopus to a restaurant in Mexico. But for the record, I ‘m still willing to scrub the toilet.  I have some great stories, and thankfully there are better ways to earn a living. But it’s all about keeping that willingness!

What job would you be willing to take to live the lifestyle you want?

What Not To Do on Your Death Bed

….  realize that you let your dreams go unfulfilled.  

Most people have had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made.

It is very important to try and honour at least some of your dreams along the way. From the moment that you lose your health it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

That’s from Bonnie Ware’s blog Inspiration and Chai. I was very inspired after reading that original article.

My passion is to travel and live in other countries. For me, I can’t work in an office for 30 years and be free only to spend a week or two on vacation.  I prefer to focus on vocation, not my occupation.

Working every day means that you miss seeing your family and friends due to your work schedule. You also can’t see much of the world…until you retire, that is.  But by then, you’ll be wanting to spend all of your hard-earned savings on health care and an RV because that’s a “safer” way to travel.

travel

Retire now!  When you’re in the grave will it matter how much you worked or how much you accumulated?  Stuff is stuff.  We are so lucky to be able to experience life. We are willingly imprisoned by our ‘shoulds’: We “should” have one uniform job forever, we “should” travel only when we’re just out of college, or after we retire.

The phrase I often hear along with the “shoulds” is: “It’s not that easy to just take off.” And to that I say, yes, it is.  It’s scary to take off, but it’s much more rewarding to be laying on your death bed, muttering “I can’t believe I did it” versus, “I wanted to, but…”

We have two choices when it comes to our dreams: Do or Don’t.

The reason there is so much pressure not to follow our wants is because most people aren’t, and we are living in the proverbial crab pot. Slowly letting the stress and unfulfillment build up around us, never resolving.

I heard a great quote once that basically said that people shrink their dreams to match their income, compared to pursuing their dreams and reaching for the income needed to attain them.

Your dreams don’t have to be income-related, but the point is that you shouldn’t shrink your dreams just because you think there are limitations. The only limitations are the ones you put in place.

Sure, there are challenges. You do have to make extreme sacrifices. But are you willing to make those sacrifices so you’re not lying there, on your death bed, tubes up your nose and a pocket full of regrets?

I made a decision  a long time ago to change my life. At that time I was unable to afford constant traveling as a lifestyle, so I decided that I would work as I traveled.  While still in good health and being able to experience things like learning new languages and try new foods, I decided that I would travel and work simultaneously. I would follow my dreams while working toward my dreams of traveling.

Instead of going to dinner in Seattle every night, I could be working from a cafe in Buenos Aires, enjoying a tango show. I would be speaking Spanish, and having steak and wine for dinner—all while getting my work done that day. I could visit my family—not for a weekend but 2 weeks—and not skip a beat.

My goal is to travel the world and learn about other cultures/ places/ foods/ histories/ people/ languages, etc.  I’ve been told by others that that means a lot of vacation time and a lot of money.

But I’m doing it. And I’m blogging about my journey and how it can be done because I want to show how you too can live out your dreams. It’s not always doable in the way you expect. But with enough desire and guts, anything is possible. And your dreams are just too important.

How are you working to follow your dreams? Do you think you’ll have any regrets on your deathbed?