Being self-employed gives me the freedom to work from wherever I want, and that means I can take a ‘workation’ (work + vacation) whenever I want. Right now, that means I’m out in Lisbon, Portugal, visiting the new apartment my wife and I just bought! (Woohoo!)

Packing the right tech for these trips is always important for me. You can buy clothes and toiletries at any local supermarket, but buying tech you’ve forgotten can be impractical and expensive – so I like getting it right first time.

Here’s what I threw into my tech travel backpack for my workation to Lisbon.

A portable work machine

I can’t deny that for the last few years I’ve been a big advocate of Apple products, and my MacBook Pro has been my primary work machine. For this trip though, I was adamant about testing out the experience of a Microsoft Surface Pro 3. I just wanted something compact, portable and powerful enough to get some work done – and so far it has been fantastic.

MiFi device & SIM card

To get any work done I need an internet connection, and public WiFi hotspots get a bad rep for being unsafe and slow. So as soon as I arrived in Lisbon, I headed to a local network’s store and picked up a SIM card for 15 Euros with unlimited internet data use for 15 days. Cheap and cheerful, and the speeds have been pretty reasonable too. Best of all, this means I can take my Surface Pro and MiFi device to work anywhere I want!

The life savers: Battery packs

If there’s one gadget I can’t live without, it’s a battery pack. OK, in my case it’s a plural: I always carry multiple! For under £20 you can grab a very large 20,000mAh battery from Amazon (see a link to my roundup below) which is enough to charge most phones about 8 times, so when you’re out and about taking photos you won’t need to worry about power sockets or a dead (and useless) phone. If size is an issue, you can even grab an ultra slim 2200mAh power bank from gifts.co.uk for £35.

Read more: Battery pack roundup 2016

Entertainment: Bluetooth speakers

My favourite Bluetooth speaker for travel is the UE Roll 2, a compact disk-like & waterproof speaker that fits into any backpack (or even your back pocket) easily. Whether you’re looking for a late night movie, a blackjack or poker session with some friends, or a private karaoke session in the shower, having a Bluetooth speaker at hand is always useful.

Photography equipment

I love taking photos, so whenever I go away I like to either take a DSLR or on most occasions, I’ll grab my olloclip lenses for iPhone. It’s a fantastic way to grab a variation of shots and amazing memories.

A way to connect remotely: TeamViewer

OK so this isn’t specifically a physical gadget, but it’s still important for a workation!

While I’m using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as my work computer during this workation, it’s good to have access to my main MacBook Pro & Mac Mini back home. TeamViewer is an app that gives you remote access to your other computers using any other device, meaning I can use my iPhone or Surface to use my home computer. Good if you’ve left a file sitting on your desktop or you need to use a specific app!


That’s it for my workation packing list! I’d love to know if you have any essentials I’ve left out. Drop me a comment below and recommend yours.