Since the 2020 pandemic, working from home has become a commonality for most people around the world. For my husband and me, it has been our lifestyle for the past several years. My name is Laura and I’m a full-time travel blogger and online ESL teacher.
In 2015, it was my goal to work remotely and travel the world whenever I wanted. I tried several different avenues before finally finding my calling as an online ESL teacher. Having the freedom to travel was a dream come true.
Thanks to our remote jobs, we’ve been able to live in places like Thailand, Montenegro, Bali, Croatia, Svalbard, Iceland, and Cambodia. We’ve traveled to over 30 countries and have no plans of stopping.
And this is all because we’ve been able to pay our bills with remote jobs.
With that said, working as an online ESL teacher isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. Securing a stable connection to WiFi and keeping computers charged can be a difficult task, especially in remote locations around the world.
We often live in places where electricity isn’t guaranteed. As an online ESL teacher, it is my job to make sure that I arrive to class on-time and finish the class without IT issues. Failure to do so could easily lead to my termination from the company. Therefore, it’s my top priority.
When we first started traveling, we didn’t realize that power outages were common around the world. We were used to having electricity all day every day. But in places like Cambodia, Montenegro, and Bali, power outages happen regularly without notice.
For example, every day at around 3 PM in Kotor, Montenegro, our electricity would go out. About an hour later, it would come back on. The locals didn’t blink an eye, but as digital nomads, we were very concerned.
In Bali, the power would go out for 5 hours straight. Again, this wasn’t unusual for locals, but it got my heart racing, especially when I had classes booked that day. How was I supposed to connect to the internet and keep my computer running?
After much trial and error, I’ve figured out exactly how to power my classroom and keep it running during electricity outages.
My secret weapon?
How Power Banks Power My Online Classroom Abroad
Having a reliable power bank can be the difference between finishing my classes as scheduled or missing them completely.
Not only do they keep my computer charged, but they also power my classroom lights.
The companies I currently work for require every classroom to be bright, so I purchased a rechargeable desk light. Unfortunately, my desk light stays bright for a mere 10 minutes before dimming.
I’ve figured out that my best option is to use multiple power banks to keep my classroom bright and to keep my computer from dying. Thankfully, it hasn’t failed me yet.
How Power Banks Power My Online Classroom In The USA
Although we don’t typically have electricity shortages, power banks have helped me stay connected in the USA as well.
During the summer months, my husband and I spend our time in Northern Minnesota at my parent’s cabin. Our cabin is in a pretty remote location and WiFi is hard to come by (yes, even in 2021!).
To combat this problem, I’ve taken to teaching my online classes from the back of our car. Since WiFi and cell service are abysmal at our cabin, I drive to a location where the internet connection on my phone is strong enough to conduct classes.
Once at this location, I set up my classroom in the back seat and power my computer, classroom lights, and phone using a power bank.
This has helped me teach nearly 5,000 classes with three different online ESL companies.
Finding The Perfect Power Bank
When I first realized that power banks were the answer to my problems, I didn’t know enough about them to find the perfect one for me.
I needed a power bank that could charge my Macbook Pro. A standard 10,000mAh wouldn’t cut it because my computer required an AC outlet.
I purchased a 35,000mAh power bank similar to the Panergy Portable Battery. Not only was it able to keep my computer running, but my desk light was perfectly bright as well.
The only issue? This particular power bank is not allowed on airplanes unless you have special permission.
While we were living and traveling in Thailand, we were stopped by airport security during a leg of our flight. They confiscated my power bank because it was too large to take on the plane.
According to TSA, power banks up to approximately 27,000mAh can be carried onto a flight. They cannot be placed in your checked luggage.
I quickly learned my lesson and figured out that a smaller power bank would get the job done and I could take it with us on airplanes. We purchased a power bank similar to the Halo Bolt 15,900mAh.
Thanks to its AC outlet, this power bank has been able to charge my laptop, tablet, phone, and desk light; the perfect solution to my classroom.
In addition, we also keep a few 10,000mAh power banks on hand in case of emergencies. We currently use the Away power banks. These came with our Away Suitcases and we’ve gotten plenty of use out of them.
They are excellent for charging iPads, phones, and even new Macbook Airs. Unlike other models, new Macbook Airs don’t require an AC outlet. Instead, you can charge them using a USB cable.
The Best Power Banks For Digital Nomads
In the future, we plan to continue using power banks to charge all of our devices. Whether we are hiking to the summit of a volcano or trying to find our destination in a foreign country, we need our phones, computers, and tablets charged at all times.
On many occasions, power banks have been lifesavers for us, especially in my online ESL classroom.
As we continue to grow our travel blog and as I continue to teach classes online, we hope to purchase a few more 10,000mAh power banks. We think these sleek and small power banks are perfect for digital nomads.
We also want to purchase another larger power bank similar to the MAXOAK 50,000mAh Power Bank. Although we cannot take it on airplanes with us, it will come in handy while teaching from my vehicle. As my computer gets older, it requires more and more charge. The MAXOAK will keep me up and running for hours at a time.
And finally, as avid multi-day hikers, we think that having a solar-powered power bank would be really helpful. As we trek our way through foreign lands, a solar-powered power bank would keep our cameras and phones charged.
What To Consider Before Purchasing A Power Bank For Your Online Classroom
If you’re a fellow online ESL teacher or you’ve thought about teaching online, I recommend having a power bank as a backup source of electricity. Even in places where electricity is relatively stable, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Leniency for teachers that miss online ESL classes is typically non-existent. They fully expect you to show up and do your job, just like any other company. Unexpected power outages usually result in punishment, even if it isn’t your fault.
Because of this, I often get emails from fellow online English teachers asking what they should do if their power goes out unexpectedly. My answer is always to have a power bank ready and an alternative WiFi option available.
As you go to purchase your power bank, make sure that it includes all of the features you need.
If your computer requires an AC outlet, be sure to look for this in the description of the power bank before purchasing. In addition, if you can teach from a tablet or a new Macbook Air, a simple 10,000mAh power bank will work perfectly. These typically aren’t as expensive as large power banks with AC outlets, so you’ll stay powered and save money.
A Final Note: Power Banks For Online Teachers
As an online ESL teacher, it is vital to stay connected wherever you are in the world. Although you’re rewarded with the freedom to choose your own schedule, it is your responsibility to finish the classes you have booked.
If you’re just starting out as an online English teacher, your first purchase should be a reliable power bank that can charge your computer, tablet, and cell phone (or another WiFi alternative).
Our power banks have relieved a lot of stress associated with power outages. They will help you teach confidently knowing that you won’t experience any down time during class.
If you want more details regarding teaching English online, be sure to visit our blog: Mike & Laura Travel. With over 60 blog posts about teaching ESL online, we’ve got you covered with all of the information you could possibly need to get started or excel with your online ESL teaching journey.