Anyone can have a mobile office – The Province (blog)

Not everyone takes summer vacations. Maybe you’re one of the many Canadians whose vacation days don’t amount to enough to pack up and leave your yard — a fact backed up through recent research by Mercer on Employee Holiday Entitlements Around the World. They found Canada and the United States have the least amount of statutory holidays, and you’ll have to toil at your job for a minimum of 20 years before you’ll ever reach the nirvana that is the six-week block of vacation (if your employer even offers it).

Or maybe you’re self-employed, where every email hitting your inbox is important. So taking a vacation, from your smartphone or laptop at least, isn’t even an option.

But with new technological advances comes new ways to stay in touch, no matter if you’re traveling locally or internationally. And these little methods work so well, your employer or contracts will never suffer from vacation neglect because you’ll be so well set up they’ll never know you aren’t at your desk.

I know this, because I recently experienced the roaming office for two weeks on a road trip to California, and to say it was seamless and really, really enjoyable is an understatement.

Want to create your own personal roaming workspace? Here’s what you’ll need:

A Laptop Computer – Ultrabook, MacBook, or just a small, compact Notebook – It doesn’t matter what you choose to bring along for the ride, as long as it’s mobile. And even better, if your kids are along and you don’t have a DVD player in your car, your laptop will double for on-the-road movies when you don’t need it.

A Power Source – If part of your day requires you to sit in a car as you go from place to place, you’ll need a way to charge your devices while in the vehicle. I used the Schumacher 410W Power Converter in my car. You might not need that much juice, but I had a lot of devices to charge and it had surge protection.

A Way to Roam – I recently wrote about unlocking your phone and using a new SIM card to roam in the U.S. without incurring huge fees, and this trip I had the chance to put the Roam Mobility SIM card to the test.

Roam Mobility is a company based in Vancouver, and they offer something a lot of roaming providers in the U.S. don’t – unlimited talk and text to and from Canada. They also have great fees on data access (say goodbye to $5 MB while roaming) and give you a dedicated U.S. number, so friends and family in the U.S. don’t incur huge fees just to contact you.

Once I crossed over the border, I popped out my Telus SIM (that I’ve never laid eyes on before, because unlike my husband’s Fido phone, I’ve never had to remove my Telus card to keep contacts when I switched phones) and put in the Roam Mobility SIM. I was instantly connected and ready to roll. I had already loaded up my SIM with a plan, so I was free and clear to chat and text. After travelling so many times with a phone I couldn’t answer, texts I wouldn’t reply to, and hanging out in Starbucks parking lots just to get WiFi, it was a revelation.

I’d estimate I saved at least $500 on phone calls, texts and roaming fees. I also like avoiding the sticker shock that comes when you get your local phone bill after thinking, “I didn’t roam that much, did I?” I’ve heard of people who could pay for another vacation with what they had to pay for roaming.

Wi-Fi on the Go – For all the joys of the Roam Mobility SIM, there were times when I had to pull out the laptop and fire off a bunch of documents. That’s where the Roam Mobility Liberty Hotspot came into play. All I had to do is turn on the Hotspot, enter the WEP code, and I could connect up to five of my devices.

If you think you won’t use a Hotspot unless you’re on a working vacation, think again. Even though WiFi zones are popping up all over the U.S., they aren’t everywhere, so it was really handy to pull out the Hotspot and use it to share photos on Instagram, send documents via email, or book hotel rooms on the fly. The Hotspot is also great for hotel rooms where the free WiFi is less than stellar or you’re worried about securely accessing your online banking.

The only other thing you’ll need during a working vacation? The ability to change gears instantly from vacation mode to work mode if you need to get to work, not to mention the lack of sleep from trying to fit everything in.

Check out Roam Mobility on the web at or hit them up on Twitter @RoamMobility