Digital Nomad Tips | Portable Applications

Portable Applications

Carry your important files and applications so you can access them at airports, Internet cafes, and anywhere else you might not have your laptop with you. Portable applications are useful when you need to insulate your work and data on computers you don’t trust, like Internet cafes.

Since you won’t know the security situation on many computers at Internet cafes, homes you are couch surfing in, and terminals at airports it’s best to work from a trusted USB drive. Below are the programs that will get you surfing the Internet, communicating online, and keep your online accounts safe.

What To Load On Your Trusted USB Drive

Web Browsing

  • new firefox logoPortable Firefox – Mozilla offers the popular and expandable Web browser Firefox in a fully portable and fully functional version that takes up around 50MB on a USB drive. The application also notifies you when updates are available. Portable Firefox gives you access to the Internet without using the browser that is installed on the guest computer, which is where most viruses and data theft is installed.


  • Portable Thunderbird – This email client, also created by Mozilla, can do almost anything that non-portable Microsoft Outlook can. You can configure Portable Thunderbird to check all of your multiple email accounts, encrypt your emails, and handle digital signatures.

Instant Message

  • Miniaim – A lightweight instant messaging client designed to completely run off a USB drive Miniaim boots quickly and doesn’t slow down your other portable applications.
  • Trillian – This popular Web instant messaging application has a portable version as well. Trillian also lets you encrypt all of your instant messages. You should encrypt all of your messages in countries where censorship and certain political topics may get you in trouble.

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  • SafeKeys – Creates a little graphical keyboard you can use to click (with your mouse) that protects you from keyloggers. Programs like keyloggers record anything that is typed into the keyboard, like passwords, credit card numbers, and emails. These programs are easy to install and can be a threat to your personal information on computers at Internet cafes and the like.

To find out more detailed information on each of these topics, click the links below for specifics:

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