5 Digital Nomad Tips for Working and Traveling With a MacBook

In an era of remote work, a portable, professional office is now more important than ever. Macs, featuring powerful computing and long battery life thanks to the latest Apple silicon models, are perfect for the modern mobile office.

Here are the accessories, tools, and tips you need to make the most of your MacBook while traveling. You can use them to maximize your Mac’s productivity, professionalism, portability, and security.

1. Try a Case That Doubles as a Stand

In today’s digital world, many people are able to travel while working, which can require looking down at a laptop for hours on end. In many cases, this isn’t great for ergonomics and can cause pain, especially in your neck and back.

The clear solution is to use a laptop stand, but those are often bulky and difficult to travel with. So what if your laptop case doubled as a stand?

MOFT offers a wide variety of accessories for laptops, phones, and tablets, including cases, stands, sleeves, and more. All of these have the goal of improving ergonomics, primarily by elevating the screen you’re looking at. While many of MOFT’s products can be used alongside a wide variety of devices, their laptop sleeves are specifically designed for slim, lightweight laptops like MacBooks. This sleeve is what we recommend for the traveling worker.

MOFT’s laptop carry sleeve doubles as a stand via a few innovative folds, raising your screen by an additional 15 or 25 degrees, depending on how you fold the sleeve. Instead of looking down at your MacBook while working on the go and feeling neck pain after a few hours, look straight at it and work painlessly.

2. Use an iPad as a Second Monitor

Many productivity desk setups built around MacBooks boast multiple displays in addition to the laptop’s screen. Once you start working with multiple screens, it’s difficult to give them up when you need to work while traveling.

Thankfully, Apple has already made a solution for this scenario! Using Sidecar, you can turn any recent iPad into a wireless monitor with your Mac. Sidecar offers additional features beyond simply using your iPad as a display, such as using its touchscreen for inputs in applications like Photoshop.

To set this up, you’ll first need to make sure your iPad and Mac are connected using the same Apple ID. Next, navigate to your display settings.

  1. At the top-right of your Mac’s screen, click on the Control Center icon, then and click on Display.
  2. In the next menu, click Display Preferences.
  3. Last, click Add Display from the window that appears and select your iPad. You may need to plug your iPad into your Mac the first time you do this.

Once your iPad is connected, move it to match where you’ve placed the second screen in your Display Preferences, and then you’re good to go. An iPad Pro or iPad Air would provide the largest displays, while an iPad mini would be the most portable.

Not only are you getting a second screen by bringing an iPad with you, but you also get all the benefits of having an iPad as well, such as using it for reading, watching videos, and gaming in your downtime.

3. Turn Your Camera Into a Webcam With a Capture Card

If you’re traveling, there’s a good chance you’ve brought a digital camera to capture memories as you explore. As with the iPad, your camera can find unexpected utility if you need to work while you’re away.

Most cameras have some form of HDMI port on them, whether that be mini or full-sized. With this functionality, you can convert your camera into a webcam for video conferences using a capture card such as the Elgato Cam Link 4K or AVerMedia Live Streamer CAP 4K.

You may need a small USB dongle or hub to support the USB-A ports on these devices or their cables, and you might also consider a compact tripod like the JOBY GorillaPod to mount it for meetings. Coincidentally, if you use the MOFT case with a 13-inch or 14-inch MacBook Pro, a GorillaPod will place your camera perfectly above the screen.

For the digital nomad, looking professional in meetings can be one of your greatest assets. Using a capture card and camera combo as a webcam is one of the best ways to achieve that professional look, regardless of where you work.

4. Get a Smaller Charger to Save Space

While smaller than many laptop chargers, MacBook chargers are still a bit bulky. But you can find even smaller options with enough wattage to power your MacBook and more ports to charge other devices.

The Anker 735 Charger features two USB-C ports and one USB-A, so you can charge multiple devices like your phone, iPad, or camera as well as your Mac. Supplement your mobile professional conferencing setup with this charger so you can work away for hours without worrying about battery life or sacrificing valuable bag space.

5. Prepare Your MacBook for Travel

Before you set out on your next trip, you ought to take some time to prepare your MacBook and its data to protect yourself against theft, loss, or damage.

  • Back up your important documents to iCloud or an external drive before leaving, in case of loss or theft.
  • If you’re still deciding on which MacBook is right for you, consider adding AppleCare to your purchase. Note, coverage may not apply in all countries.
  • If applicable, disable the option to unlock your Mac with your Apple Watch so there are fewer opportunities to unintentionally unlock your device. Go to System Preferences > Privacy & Security to do this.
  • Turn on “Find My” in case you misplace your MacBook, iPad, or Phone. You can do this from the Apple ID settings on each device.

These are the most immediate tips for security, but you might consider taking more Mac travel security measures, such as using a VPN or setting a custom lock screen in case a stranger finds your lost device.

Are You Ready to Be a Traveling MacBook Professional?

The traveling worker deserves a professional workspace. Whether you deck yourself out with a complete remote-conferencing setup or keep it simple with a foldable laptop stand, you should be ready to take on the world from anywhere. With just a little bit of preparation, you can be just as comfortable working remotely as you ever were in the office.

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