Most aspiring traders I talk to want to learn to trade successfully so they can travel the world. That is fantastic and it is one of the reasons I am learning to trade and want to help you to do the same, with this blog and my products.
But you don't have to be successful trader to do Forex trading and travel. You just have to commit to going places and taking your trading practice with you. Travel can be cheaper than you think.
As I write this, I am in Tallinn, Estonia.
On my way here, we made a stop in Oslo, Norway. Since we had an eight hour layover, we decided to leave the airport and do some exploring. I'm glad we did. Here I am in front of the Norwegian National Opera and Ballet.
During this trip, I have also been able to bang out a few good trades. Here is one example.
So wherever you go, make it a point to bring your trading with you. Don't make the excuse that you can't trade because you will be on the road.
It is good training for trading for a living.
The only exception would be if it is an “unplug” vacation and you don't want to deal with technology and work at all.
I have also traded from several different places around the US and Europe, including Poland and Estonia. If you aspire to be a globe trotting trader, then here are my recommendations on essential tools that you will need for your travels.
Computer Hardware I Use For Forex Trading and Travel
Your computer and related hardware is going to be the backbone of your trading. Choose wisely.
I recommend a MacBook Air as a primary computer. In my opinion, it is the best laptop for Forex trading (2016).
I currently have the 11 inch model.
The MacBook Air is light, powerful and very reliable trading laptop. It is amazing how much of a difference a light computer can help when you are traveling.
Since the OS X operating system is usually very trouble free, you won't have to worry about fixing stuff while you are on the road. Many people think that Macs are too expensive, but they really aren't.
They are initially more expensive, but over the lifetime of the computer, they are actually cheaper to operate because you aren't wasting time fixing things that should work and buying programs that should come with the computer.
I wish I could say that getting a Windows laptop is “good enough” but I can't say that with a straight face. I have spent many years in IT fixing computers and Windows is shit. There is no other way to put it.
So do yourself a favor and get a real computer. You will thank me later.
There are also some situations where I still want to do some work, but I don't need my laptop. This is where the iPad is ideal.
While I couldn't recommend a Windows tablet, an Android tablet is a very viable alternative. They can also be considerably cheaper than an iPad, so you might not even be too mad if it gets lost, stolen or damaged during travel.
This isn't a computer that you take with you. But while you are traveling, you definitely want to be able to get trading signals from your EAs or signal enabled indicators…if you have any.
Therefore, you can set up a computer at your home, or you can rent a Virtual Private Server (VPS) to run Metatrader. I personally leave a little Asus netbook with Ubuntu Linux (free) running at home and it shoots push notifications to my Metatrader 4 app running on my iPhone.
It's frickin' fantastic. I got if off eBay for $85 and it is great to have a screen and keyboard in one little compact unit. It uses very little electricity and takes up very little space. I just leave it running all day.
The other option is to pay a monthly fee to rent VPS hosting. This is similar to how you would purchase website hosting. Amazon provides this service along with a ton of other companies.
Check them out and see what works best for you. They usually run Windows, so you would just do a standard install of Metatrader.
If you are running EAs that actually execute trades, then you should definitely opt for a hosted solution. If you are just running MT to give you signals, then you can go either way.
I have an unlocked iPhone 4S that I use in the US and while I'm traveling. It is how I usually close my trades.
In some countries, you can get really cheap data plans. For example, in Estonia, I can get 7GB of data for 30 days, for 10 Euros. This is great because I can do almost anything with a data plan, including making phone calls with Skype and text messages via Viber and Google Voice.
There are also cheap Android options out there and even an old school Blackberry off eBay might be good enough for your purposes.
If you think that you can rely on coffee shop WiFi, think again. When money is on the line, you better be damn sure that you can get a solid internet connection on demand.
In Estonia, they have a fantastic deal where you can buy a little 3G USB stick for about 30 Euros. Then you pay another 12 Euros for a month of internet access.
Boom! Internet almost anywhere in the country. I am using it to write this blog post and it has been solid so far.
So wherever you are going, research the local deals first. It may be hard to read the websites in a foreign language, but it usually pays off. Getting an “international” plan that covers several different countries will usually cost you a lot more than it should.
While you are at it, be sure to use a VPN while you are on the road. Those WiFi connections in coffee shops can be super sketchy.
Now let's get into some of the software you will need on your computer(s). This is what I recommend.
Forex Tester 2
This is the premier Forex backtesting software on the market today. It's not the cheapest solution, but it is the best. It is great for staying sharp on the road and testing the next strategy that I want to take live. I use VMWare Fusion and Windows XP (more on that below) to run Forex Tester 2.
I have worked out a discount with the good folks at Forex Tester, so click here to get $20 off the regular price.
TI has always had an excellent mobile charting app. But now, they also have a pretty darn good desktop program for Mac. It may soon be a very viable replacement for Metatrader on the desktop.
The first version of the software was pretty bad, but they have certainly made up for it with this new version. My only regret with this recent version is that they removed the backtesting function.
Hopefully they add it back in a later version. I will be making a video demonstrating this software soon. I really like where it is going.
Of course, MT4 is a must have on your laptop. If you have a Windows computer, then it is no problem, you probably have it installed already. If you have a Mac, you can run it by using Wine or Crossover for Mac.
Remember to install your custom indicators or EAs before you leave on your trip. There isn't much else to it.
VMWare Fusion/Windows XP
As much as I despise Windows, it is still necessary to run Forex Tester 2.
So I have come to trust VMWare Fusion and Windows XP. Even though using XP is a bit of a security risk because it is no longer supported by Microsoft, it is the most lightweight version of Windows.
Windows 7 is actually a pretty decent operating system, probably the best Microsoft will ever make.
But it is so bloated that I don't think it is worth the trouble just for one program. But XP can be hard to find, so 7 is a good alternative.
Since I'm running Windows anyway, I also use it to run Metatrader 4.
You should also have mobile apps installed on your phone and tablet to help you with your trading. I personally use the Oanda brokerage app, Trade Interceptor, Metatrader 4, FXChartist and these other apps. I have them both on my iPhone and iPad and they are my go-to apps for Forex trading.
Forex Market Hours
When you are switching timezones and overcoming jetlag, the last thing that you might want to remember is which trading market is currently open. So when you are on your trip, remember to bookmark the Forex Market Hours page, so you don't get confused.
Placing a trade during Asian session, if you think that it's New York session could be a costly mistake.
A free Dropbox account is an easy way to store things that you might need when you travel. Copies of your passport, credit cards and your EAs and indicators are things that you can store in your Dropbox account. Just be sure to use a very secure password (see next section).
You can also install Metatrader 4 into your Dropbox folder and keep your settings wherever you go. I created a separate free Dropbox account for this and it makes it super easy to launch Metatrader, regardless of which version of Windows I'm using. It even works with Ubuntu, once you install Wine or Crossover.
I have found that this is the best password software out there for the Mac. They even have an iOS app that can sync with your laptop, so you have all of your passwords securely stored with you, wherever you go. It also works with Windows and Android.
Just be sure to choose a very secure password to unlock the software, otherwise your all of your passwords are at risk. To find out more about how long your password should be and how to properly protect your trading passwords, read this blog post.
I can't say enough good things about GoRuck backpacks. They are pretty pricey, but worth every penny. It has been the only backpack that I have ever been completely satisfied with.
In the past, I usually owned 2-3 backpacks at the same time because each one was always missing something. I have since given away all of my other packs.
What I like about this pack is that everything is built for function and easy access. It opens completely so I can easily pack and unpack my stuff.
The seams are built to support 400 pounds of weight and although I have never had to test that limit, it has been very solid. It works just as well for travel as it does for hiking and working at coffee shops.
Inside, there is a zippered mesh pouch for keeping bigger items and a smaller zippered pocket to store my passport and other things. For me, the best part is that the laptop storage area is a separate zippered compartment that is next to my back.
This distributes the weight well, making it easy to carry. This configuration also makes it easy to take out my laptop at airport security checks and makes it harder to steal when I'm walking around.
If you are looking for a pack that you won't have to replace for a long time, I highly recommend GoRuck.
Unfortunately, they don't make this one anymore. It is made by Mountainsmith and I highly recommend their gear. However, hopefully you can find something similar.
This roll-on has been with me for years and it is a beast. No problems whatsoever. It is small enough to fit into even the tinniest overhead compartments (even fully packed) and is easily recognizable. I haven't checked in a bag in years because of this roll-on.
I suggest looking on Amazon or eBags for a good deal on roll-on bags. Make sure that it fits within the limits of most overhead compartment dimensions. Read the reviews to get an idea of how good a bag is to travel with.
Ikea Compact Bags
These bags are really cheap at Ikea (for my fellow Americans: pronounced ee-kay-ah) and are fantastic for carrying in your back pocket, just in case you decide to buy a little more than you can handle.
They tuck nicely into their little pouch and are great for carrying food, muddy shoes or your sweatshirt, if it gets too hot. Buy two or three of these guys before your next trip and you will be covered.
Ziploc bags actually come in very handy. They are great for keeping things like your GSM phone chips and public transportation cards in one place.
They can also be used to protect your passport, phone and other small electronics in wet conditions. Be sure to bring a few with you. They don't take up much space and can save your ass.
Here are some other things that should remember to bring. They may seem like small things, but forgetting them can really put a damper on your trip.
This has been one of the most useful purchases I have ever made. I just keep it in my backpack and I never have to worry about my phone running out of juice.
It can also be used to power my iPad, so I can literally go anywhere and not worry about running out of power. I haven't tested the limits of the battery pack plus the iPad battery, but my guess would be that I could get close to 20 hours of continuous use.
There are other options out there, but this one has served me well.
I don't see the point in traveling with huge-ass Beats headphones, but to each his own. I prefer earbuds because they take up a lot less space and they are easily replaceable.
I've tried a lot of different brands, but I keep coming back to JLab earbuds. They are a fantastic value for the money.
While they may not be the most mind-blowing earbuds you have ever used, the truth is that earbuds really can never beat over-the-ear monitor earphones. But they are pretty damn good.
I recommend the J5 earbuds, they are at good price-to-performance point.
Don't forget to bring all of your essential cables. You might even consider purchasing a second set of cables to leave in your travel bag, so you don't forget anything.
Also consider having backup cables. Although I believe in traveling light, not having the right cable can really suck. Especially if you are in a place where you don't have easy access to an electronics store. Also remember to get a compact bag or case to keep your cables organized.
Another thing that I have found very useful is Velcro cable ties. They keep everything nice an tidy.
Electrical Outlet Adapter
This is one that is easy to forget. Luckily, most airport shops and tourist traps carry adapters.
Be sure to find one that fits all international outlets, but is also slim and easy to pack. They usually aren't very expensive, so find one that works for you. This is the one that I use in Europe.
It doesn't matter if this is your camera phone or a DSLR. Have a halfway decent camera with you at all times.
This is one of my first rules of travel.
One thing that I have learned from traveling is not to take any experience for granted. You will never experience the exact same thing twice, so make the most of it.
The most frustrating thing is to have an amazing experience, but not be able to capture it because your camera sucks. I had this experience in Poland when I went to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was one of the most amazing places that I have been to, but the camera I had was terrible in low light.
I was able to get a few decent photos, but most of them turned out like this. Pretty grainy and blurry. Blah.
But don't carry a camera that is too big and bulky. It can really get in the way of the experience.
Find the right balance of a good quality, lightweight camera. Besides my iPhone 4S, I also carry a Panasonic Lumix GX1. It takes great pictures and is a lot slimmer than a full-on DSLR. Here is a picture that I took of the camera with my iPhone.
I would recommend having a prepacked toiletry kit on hand so you can just grab it and go. This is useful for traveling locally and abroad.
It may seem like a small thing, but I always seem forget to pack something in my toiletry bag on every trip. The good news is that travel sized toothbrushes, toothpaste and other items are pretty cheap, so you won't have to worry about losing them.
One tip for men…although I do believe that Gillette is the best a man can get, Schick makes some pretty damn good razors too. They aren't quite as good, but not so much that you will notice a big difference. But they are considerably cheaper, especially if you get them off Amazon.
Here is what my kit currently looks like:
This is the ultimate non-purse. If you don't want to carry a small bag around everywhere, then this is the solution. It has more pockets than I know what to do with most of the time.
What makes this vest better than other multi-pocket jackets is that it is built to carry stuff and does a good job of distributing the load. Another really cool feature is that you can run your earbuds inside the jacket, so it is like they are part of the jacket. This keeps you from losing them and gives you easy access to your music or podcasts.
To learn more, check out this video.
The North Face Convertible Pants
There are other brands out there, but this just happened to be the first pair that I bought. I really like them.
They make it easy to be prepared for any type of weather. Since they are made of polyester, they are easy to clean and they dry quickly.
My only complaint is that the shorts are a little well…short. But it isn't that bad.
Otherwise, they are very cool and comfortable. I could get away with only packing two of these on a trip and be totally fine.
Just like all North Face stuff, they are a little pricey. But you generally get what you pay for and this is no exception.
I am really happy that I bought this belt and I use it almost everyday (as you can probably see from the picture). The added bonus to this belt is that it has a little zippered pocket on the inside, where you can store a little extra money, or anything else that you don't want people to find.
They don't make this model anymore, but there are plenty of other options out there. Find something that suits you best.
If you are a hardcore traveler, then you probably know about Exofficio clothing. They are the Rolls Royce of travel clothing. As such, their underwear also costs about $30 a pair.
I will get them eventually, but until then, I opt for the cheaper Adidas version. They are a fraction of the cost and are as good as any underwear that I have ever had.
The key is to get something that is light, folds up really small and dries quickly.
If you are traveling to a place where you may need to wash your clothes in a sink (or a river) for a majority of the trip, you will certainly appreciate material that is easy to clean and dries fast. I personally prefer the polyester version.
Old Navy T-Shirts
These shirts are about $7 on sale and look great. Again, you could get some expensive Exofficio shirts for $50 a pop…and I am sure that they are excellent.
Or you can get some from Old Navy and not worry about losing your shirts.
The only downside is that these shirts are cotton. So they don't dry as fast and are more likely to pick up stains and odors. You can also find good deals on shirts that are a polyester blend that are easier to wash and dry faster. Check Amazon or your favorite department store.
These are the absolute best travel shoes out there. Since they have holes in them, they are better suited to traveling to warmer climates.
They are super light and you can cram them into almost any bag. Natives look a little funky, but they really shine on the airplane, especially on long trips. They are slightly loose, so they don't cramp your swelling feet.
Another great feature is that they slide on and off easily, so you don't have to worry about untying your laces at security checkpoints. They are also waterproof, washable, odor free and super comfortable.
If you need some extra security when you are traveling, then consider using PacSafe products. I have never had a use for them, but they can give you a lot of peace of mind if you are traveling to sketchy areas in the world.
What makes them unique is the fact that they use really strong metal cables to protect your bags from being opened or slashed with a knife. For me, the most appealing product is their Travelsafe, since you can insert it into any bag or lock it to a fixture in your room.
Of course, nothing can prevent the best thieves from stealing your stuff, but this does give you an extra layer of protection. They have a collection of different bags and accessories to suit every purpose.
So that is my list of essential travel gear list for worldly Forex traders. I can't stress this enough, but traveling light really is the key to making the most of your experience.
Be sure to capture all of your experiences with photos and remember to find out as much about a new place as possible. But remember, don't lose focus when it comes to your trading. One wrong move can make your trip a lot more expensive that you ever imagined.
What would you add to this list?
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